A First Course in Wine: From Grape to Glass. Copyright 2013; Race Point Publishers, NY. 224 pages. Forward by Mario Batali.

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Wines for a Jack$on (Under $20) – Geissler Pinot Blanc 2011 Kabinett Trocken, Pfalz, Germany

Of all the major winemaking countries, Germany has the most unique laws regarding wine production.  In addition to geographic boundaries,

The steeply-terraced vineyards of Germany

there are classifications for ripeness and sugar levels in the grapes at the time of harvest.  In theory this is a good idea, since the climate is cold and at the northern end of the spectrum for vine growth.  Logic suggests that the riper the grape, the higher quality the wine will be.  This is true in most cases, but the difficulty in interpreting the rule has made Germany a difficult country to understand for many wine beginners.

Despite the hardships of navigating German wine labels, there are some gems out there worth trying.  One such wine is Geissler’s Pinot Blanc.  The wine is classified as “kabinett”, which is a term used to describe a wine made from some of the earliest picked grapes, meaning the sugar levels are significantly lower than grapes picked later in the season.  The resulting wines are lower in alcohol and usually lighter in body and very dry and sharp.  Geissler’s Pinot Bianco jumps out of the glass with searing acidity and cutting aromas.  Notes of flint, freshly-peeled lemon skin, and cream are prominent on the nose.  On the palate, the wine is light and fresh with flavors of citrus and almonds.  There is no oak influence, the wine maintains a fresh and zippy character.  Ideally this wine is for your starter course, whether its greens, vegetables, or grilled fish skewers.  It’s a great wine to serve as a stepping stone into the world of German whites.

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