Spring's first blush is all I need to crave Riesling, which is so much like the season itself. A chameleon in the glass, it blooms from a sunburst of sweet aromatics to the cutting breeze of crisp acidity that keeps it fresh and fun.
And while it's true good entry-level "Qba" Rieslings can be had at bargains (like the unbeatable Dr. Loosen, $10 a bottle in Jersey), the first burst of spring merits a splurge for something more refined. So permit me to introduce another good "wein doctor" from the Mosel, Dr. H. Thanisch, which makes some of my favorite bottles at every level of the Riesling continuum, from an ethereally sweet Bernkasteler Doctor Auslese (ultra-pricey at $53.99 for 375 ml, yes, but the '01 ranked among the greatest wines I've ever sipped) down to this off-dry kabinett from '08, discounted in Pennsylvania by $8 to $21.99.
It's in very limited supply (with most bottles clustered in Montgomery County), but it's worth seeking out for a blast of kabinett at its best a kiss of honeysuckle and juicy clementine followed by a snappier citrus smack of pith and acidity on the finish. You'll wonder how this splash of spring disappeared so fast.
- Craig LaBan
Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett 2008 (Code: 25442), $21.99, in select Pennyslania Premium Collection stores.