Alright, so just to get it out of the way: I know that in the past I’ve given riesling a bit of a tough time (though really it was more directed at Mr. West). In fact, I may have suggested that Riesling’s new marketing slogan should be Riesling: When You Just Need to Start Some Shit at a Bridal Shower. I may have done that (good thing the internet doesn’t remember things like that). But there’s a time and a place for everything, and according to my Southern compatriot Hardy at Dirty South Wine, Thanksgiving is exactly the time and place for Riesling. He even goes so far as to call it “home run, pull down yer pants juice!”. That sounds like fun! You can race your grandmother to see which of you reaches that goal first! Now that I’m done making you barf, let us take a look at Polka Dot Riesling.
The Lowdown: Riesling is traditionally grown and produced in Germany, and Polka Dot is no exception, hailing from the Pfalz region. Though there are dry versions out there, Riesling is typically a pretty sweet wine. I know this going into it, I’ve had Riesling before, and I’m not planning on giving it a bad rap just for being sweet, that’s dumb. “Oh dear, I had no idea this limoncello would taste of lemons! Nobody warned me! My delicate sense of taste has been irreparably damaged. F+.” I would be a jerk if I did that. The sky is blue, grass is green, Jeff Dunham isn’t funny, and riesling is sweet. FACTS OF LIFE. Moving on…
The Whiff: Lots of fruit scents coming out of this wine, which is to be expected. Pear, green apple, and maybe some apricot in there. If it tastes like it smells, I can see how this would pair well with Thanksgiving food. A fruity, cold, biting sweetness to cut through the hearty gravy-slathered turkey and stuffing and everything else. I get it.
The Taste: It’s sweet! No duh. It’s also very crisp and clean, downright refreshing even. The low alcohol content (10.5%) makes it very drinkable. Not particularly complex, pretty much apple flavor all the way. It’s basically like biting into a big green apple. I mean, I could probably pick some other fruit flavors out of there if I tried, but the one you’re going to taste and notice is apple, because it is FULL ON. Just to be clear, this tastes like actual apples, not that nasty syrupy retch they put in appletinis.
Huh, I was just poking around the Polka Dot website (wordplay!) and saw they have a whole section of Riesling cocktails. If I’d seen that sooner, I’d definitely give one of them a shot, but alas…the bottle, she is empty. If you’re interested in that kind of thing though, go check it out.
Would you drink it again? Indeed I would. I think it would be great for Thanksgiving or any big hearty meal like that. You know how when you’re eating a big plate of food, especially holiday food all covered in gravy and mixed and mashed together, and it’s great, but after a while it all kind of tastes the same and you need a taste break? This would be a great taste break, a light fruity contrast to the rest of the meal so you can dig in and get back to shoveling Thanksgiving WIN down your throat.
Would you recommend it? Yes. I’d probably even go as far as to try and convert some anti-Riesling folks with the Thanksgiving thing. Not that I would keep holding Thanksgiving dinners to prove the point, I’m not a MADMAN, but I would use the idea to win them over. As I said, there are dryer versions out there, so maybe I’d start with that if they were being buttholes about it.
Overall: A solid, if not particularly complex Riesling that demonstrates what it means to appropriately pair wine and food. A-