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Pleasure / September 2018

The Oenophile: Last of the Summer Wines

In the first of a new monthly series, Christie’s International Director of Wine, Tim Triptree opines on the delectable ways to extend your summer.

The Mosel Valley, home of some of Germany's finest Riesling wines.

Following distant memories of the British summer heatwave, thoughts should turn to what summer wines to drink when the weather gets cooler and the nights draw in. However, predicting the weather in the UK is notoriously difficult and should the good weather remain at the end of the summer, then I would suggest continuing the theme of drinking crisp whites and refreshing reds and would like to share some recommendations. Hopefully, my optimism for the weather will be rewarded!   

Riesling really does fit the bill as a refreshing white wine and typically has youthful floral and delicate perfumed aromas, such as peach and rose petals with lime and apple flavours, always with mouth-watering acidity. The wines can even have a mineral touch with nuances of gun flint and slate (especially those from the Mosel Valley in Germany) and can develop petrol and kerosene aromas with bottle age.

Germany produces many great value “fine wines”, particularly from Riesling, planted in the Mosel, Rheingau, Pfalz and Nahe. German vintners have been blessed with a run of good vintages, particularly the 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016 and soon to be released 2017s, which was a low-yielding vintage due to spring frosts in April 2017 damaging vine buds, and especially badly hit was the Mosel (so stock up on these when you get the chance – some are now being released “en primeur”). The Mosel is a great place to visit, particularly in September when the harvest will be in full swing. The scenery is stunning with extraordinarily steep vineyards planted along the banks of the river Mosel; supposedly some vineyard workers have fallen to their deaths, so be careful!

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Tim Triptree