Why fight the cold outside? Let us acclimate to the season with a left field, Winter white. We head south, to a country synonymous with big reds and steak: Argentina. Yes, Argentina, a country that has sold its soul to Malbec. Let us pick the exact opposite of Malbec, the coolest climate grape common to cold, wet, Germany: Riesling.
Luigi Bosca is Argentina’s oldest family-run winery. The Arizus grow gorgeous, biodynamic Malbec, Merlot, and Cabernet grapes. Thank their region, Lujan de Cuyo, which abuts the Andes at 3,500 feet above sea level, creating Mendoza’s coldest microclimates.
Their reds show restrained oak, foody acidity, moderated tannins, and controlled alcohols. Can they pull off Riesling? The Arizus make about 6,000 bottles of Riesling annually. They come from a vineyard of 60 year old vines called Las Compuertas on sandy loam soil.
The APPEARANCE looks a clear, pale straw color, with thin waxy legs…good start. Medium, filigreed AROMAS smell of orange blossom, petrol, fresh sage, cut greens, lime juice, and underripe apricot. The PALATE feels snappy, dry, medium in acidity, but with a plump, full, body. FLAVORS pound and pack a fresh lime, sage, dried orange rind, spinach. The finish is long stoney, with hard rock salt akin to margarita salt.
Luigi Bosca’s 2014 Riesling is dry, rich, green-glowing, food-ready stuff. Some herbed chicken or hard cheese would be happy with it. It hardly tastes of Germany. But it should not. It tastes of Argentina. The hot, sunny days give it rip-roaring intensity but the cold nights keep it at 13% abv, with enough acid lift, citric, and saline tautness. It is very good (4 of 5). However, do drink it now. It has another five years ahead of it, but all that packed intensity will fade into vegetal leanness and wax.
Welcome winter in your warm home with a warm climate white. Luigi Bosca’s 2014 Riesling is solid stuff.