While I have spent the last half hour sitting infront of my computer screen trying to find a suitably more profound, intellectual and evocative word to introduce my Wine of the Week selection, the word that just keeps coming back to mind is delicious.

And with good reason, since Daniel Vollenweider has pretty much taken the world by storm since he began making wine over 10 years ago.

While Daniel’s label is exciting and new, his vineyards, situated in the heart of Germany’s Mosel Valley, are not. The high percentage of vines on his farm over 100 years of age is an important factor contributing to the outstanding quality and international acclaim for wines emerging from this estate.

Riesling is one of the most purely refreshing and satisfying wines made anywhere on earth, and there is no place on earth making Riesling that can touch the heights acheived with this grape in the Mosel valley. These wines are like liquid sunshine – bright, aromatic, explosive, clean, expressive and just altogether too delicious to miss.

So, it’s with a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm that I introduce you to a new release from the much sought after portfolio of wines from Daniel Vollenweider – the 2008 Riesling Kabinett.

Tune into the video edition of our Wine of the Week:

If you buy one Riesling this year, this should be the one you buy. Similarly, if you have never purchased a bottle of German wine before, this is the place to start.

Click Here to find this wine at an LCBO Vintaes shop near you.

Three things to know about how the grapes for this wine were grown: 

#1:  It’s all about the slope – they say a picture’s worth a thousand words, so check this out. The steep slope in this river valley allows each vine to receive maximum sunlight to ripen grapes in one of the world’s most northerly wine regions.

#2:  A high percentage of the vines in Vollenweider’s vineyards are ungrafted and more than 100 years old. This allows them to get their roots deep into the stony Mosel hillsides and extract amazing flavours and aromas.

#3:  This is a tiny estate where everything is done by hand so the attention to detail is amazing. It would be just about impossible to find machines that could access these steep slopes anyways, but working the vineyards by hand allows Daniel to produce tiny volumes of some of the most sought after nectar on earth!

Three things to know about how this wine was made:

#1:  Daniel only makes Riesling. He produces different wines from different vineyard sites, but has dedicated his life to mastering just one variety. This expertise contributes to his reputation as one of the greatest Riesling makers anywhere in the world.

#2:  Given the amazing and unique vineyard sites in this region, it is Daniel’s approach to use a light hand in the cellar and to allow the wines to speak for themselves. Minerality and explosive aromatics are the measure of these Rieslings, with sweetness and acidity walking the tight-rope in perfect balance.

#3:  Daniel sees his role each year as winemaker as coaxing each plot’s character from the fruit he harvests. Rather than “imposing” a particular style on the wine, you will see some degree of variation between different vintages of the same bottlings. Some years a bit sweeter, other years drier – the idea is to allow each vineyard site to tell a story about the growing season that yielded each wine.

Tasting Notes:

“At only 7% alcohol, Vollenweider’s 2008 Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Kabinett is predictably high in residual sugar. But the ultra-bright character of the vintage at this address renders the sweetness only moderate and highly supportive of the lime, kiwi, and green plum flavors, while the low alcohol helps render the wine almost weightless. Suggestions of mint and lavender combine with lime peel for a pungent, invigorating, and tactile finish perfectly balanced by sweetness. Wire this properly and it seems as though it should turn on a light bulb. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next decade when (or is that -if-?) this settles down …”

90/100 Points – 

“Textbook classic Mosel riesling nose, all fresh peach/apricot and wet slate. The palate is just off-dry but balanced by riveting acids. Pure, precise, flavourful and fantastically elegant all around. I could drink this all year. Tasted January 2012.”

90/100 Points – John Szabo –

Food Pairings:

Riesling is one of the fastest growing wine varietals on the current wine market. Among wine enthusiasts, chefs and sommeliers this grape receives attention for its out-going, food-friendly character. Riesling has gained international recognition, in large part due to its amicable, food-pairing versatility. This 2008 Riesling Kabinett works well with seafood, Asian cuisine, Thai dishes, sushi, veggies, garlic and lighter poultry or pork dishes.

Andrew Hanna is a third generation wine importer and Director of Sales & Marketing at John Hanna & Sons Ltd., one of Canada’s oldest independent wine merchants. He spends his days scouring the earth for handcrafted wines that tell a story about the people and places in each bottle, while sharing these delicious discoveries with wine lovers across Canada.


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