The Mosel Valley of western Germany is the single most prestigious region in the world for the production of Riesling grapes, and the fractured slate slopes of the township of Lieser are home to a number of Germany's most prestigious wineries, including Weingut Pauly. Light enough to drink as an aperitif, this fragrant Riesling's tiny kiss of sweetness makes it a versatile match for food, too. Mandarin orange and passion fruit aromas lead you to juicy green apple and pear flavors with a hint of sweetness.
Apricot, passionfruit, papaya, pineapple, pistachio and lime leaves.
Being given a winery as a wedding present seems like a plotline straight out of daytime TV--a fairytale gesture that hardly happens in real life. But if you're the son of a Mosel winemaking family, as Axel Pauly is, such gifts do happen. The dynamic 31-year-old newlywed took the helm of his family's small estate in the Middle Mosel town of Lieser last year, but only after apprenticing with Rudolph and Peter Pauly, his father and grandfather, for most of his life, and then working harvests from New Zealand to California. Whether it's Axel's international experience, his family training or just the prime estate vineyards of Mosel slate that are responsible for the deliciousness of Pauly wines, it's hard to tell. What isn't difficult is enjoying them. Fresh fruit flavors and clear minerality make this introductory bottling very drinkable yet surprisingly complex.
Dry, full-flavored Rieslings like this one are probably the most versatile white wines with food. They can't comfortably handle red meat, but savory pork schnitzel or späzle are comfortable matches for this wine. It's also perfect for salads with fruit, nuts, cheese and vinegar, poached river fish, or Asian seafood dishes. The fresh and dried fruits in my Sicilian Harvest Salad will mimic the fresh fruit flavors in the wine.
The vineyards of the serpentine Mosel Valley are planted on steep riverbanks, sometimes at slopes angled up to 70 percent. In the steepest sections, vineyards are tended by workers suspended on ropes for safety, and bins of grapes are hauled up by a winch as they are picked.