London, so the MetOffice tells us, is about to descend into a snow chaos this night. While this may mean that tomorrow evening it will be time for hearty food with a robust red wine, tonight I felt more like spicy food and so I prepared a stir-fry. I use this simple recipe fairly often, it basically involves frying small bits of chicken breast in butter and then adding chopped peppers, green curry paste and lemon juice - the latter nicely balances the flavours and gives it that nice, fresh kick of acidity. So opening a Riesling seemed like the logical choice, and as the food was not overly spicy I thought I could get away with a dry Riesling. A particular bottle from the Wittmann winery had looked at me in this peculiar way for a couple of weeks now, so the choice was easy.
Wittmann is a name that many German wine lovers will know, although I have not really come across them in the UK yet. This may change though, as the Wine Spectator recently included a Wittmann wine (a 2007 dry Riesling) in the top 100 wines of 2009. Wittmann is a noticeable winery for many reasons. Apart from going from strength to strength in recent years and winning many awards, the winery recently changed to biodynamic winemaking, after having produced organic wine since the early 1990s. They are also quite versatile, producing Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Blanc and Gris and also Pinot Noir - getting my hands on one of their reds is high on my list.
The wine in my glass is from the basic range of Riesling, not associated with any particular vineyard. The colour is a light yellow with an ever so subtle hint of brown. The nose offers an intriguing mix of mineral and yeast, embedded in which are subtle notes of tropical fruit (mango-pineapple) with juicy peach and apple-y acidity. On the tongue the wine feels quite light, adding apricot and the ever so slight hint of vegetable notes to the mix. The acidity is well balanced, the finish more on the medium side though. Overall, the bouquet is stronger than the actual taste.
The wine was beautiful with the food, more than capable of taking on the curry paste; it felt much more dry against the food - maybe not such a surprise as spicy food calls for sweetness in a wine. Without the food, I was hoping for a little more substance. This is perhaps somewhat unfair as the name Wittmann raises very high expectations and this is the entry level Riesling. I really adored Wittmann's basic 2008 Silvaner, which to me clearly is the better wine.
The 2008 dry (trocken) Wittmann Riesling is what it is meant to be. A well made Riesling of a more basic type; it will mop the floor with many wines you will get in a UK supermarket for the same price, but if you look for true greatness go for Wittmann's premium section. Or have it with my spicy chicken and noodles!