December 9, 2014

Castel Grisch Johannisberg Riesling

The Watkins Glen winery and restaurant Castel Grisch has a penchant for Swiss- and German-style foods and German-style wines, made in its facility overlooking Seneca Lake. Here is an anecdote about one of its older wines. 

A few days before Thanksgiving, I was rooting around in my wine collection for a white wine Herself could use to make her very special cranberry sauce.

I came across a long-forgotten bottle of Castel Grisch Finger Lakes Johannisberg Riesling. Normally, I'd have picked it up without a second thought. This time, however, I had second, third and even fourth thoughts.

Why? It was a 1996 vintage. Since Castel Grisch is not known for wines of longevity, I assumed this one probably had turned to vinegar by now. So, I dusted off the bottle and uncorked it with some degree of trepidation.

Surprise. Not only was it not vinegar, it still was a pretty decent Riesling -- golden color, full bouquet, slightly tangy-sweet on the tongue, and pretty darned good as a cranberry sauce component, as it turned out.

I don't recall what I paid for this wine all those years ago, but current vintages go for an average retail price of $12.99.

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