It belongs with the sounds of slowly creaking doors, the smell of old books and the feel of parchment on the fingers. It promises comfort and respite, and a reassurance that everything will happen in its own time. As the wick shortens and sputters, the world collapses to a bright point of light and then, darkness, where aromas of melted wax linger like ghosts in an old mansion. There was once a time when a candle was the only tool to keep this darkness at bay. These days a whiff of paraffin might as well be a glimpse of buried treasure for many wine lovers. Riesling aficionados certainly know a good thing when they smell it. Just as it suffuses old books with that ineffable aroma, time brings new dimensions to many white grapes, but especially Riesling. Fruit becomes wax, herb and stone — once bright metal now gleams from under an attractive patina. Smelled more often than tasted, notes of molten candle wax bring a surprising dimension to wine, lending a gravitas that plays foil to other flavors as it whispers mysteriously of times gone by.
Smith Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California, USA
Weingut St. Urbans-hof "Piesporter Goldtropfchen" Riesling Auslese, Mosel, Germany
Torbreck "Woodcutters" Semillon, Barossa Valley, South Australia
Pullus Pinot Grigio, Ptujska Klet, Slovenia
Pheasant's Tears Rkatsiteli, Kakheti, Republic of Georgia
Domaine Marcel Deiss "Burg" White Blend, Bergheim, Alsace, France
Graf Hardegg "Von Schloss" Riesling, Niederoesterreich, Austria
Henschke "Julius" Riesling, Eden Valley, Barossa, South Australia
Renaissance Vineyards "Vin de Terroir" Roussanne, Sierra Foothills, California, USA
Bibich "Lucica" Debit, North Dalmatia, Croatia
Benanti "Pietramarina" Bianco Superiore, Etna, Sicily
Vodopivec Vitovska, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
The Superb Grace of Old Vines: Drinking Janasse The Zinfandel Experience: January 31, San Francisco Vinography Unboxed: Week of January 4, 2015 Vinography Images: The Colors of a New Season Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 27th, 2014 Vinography Images: Rich Skies Losing a Legend in Serge Hochar Flirting with the Ecstatic: The Wines of Nikolaihof, Austria Vinography Unboxed: Week of December 20, 2014 A Grape By Any Other Name
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune