For me, a good German Riesling at the kabinett or spätlese level of ripeness makes an ideal aperitif. These wines are vibrant, getting the taste buds salivating, and light enough, at 7.5 to 8.5 percent alcohol, to open an additional bottle of white or red with dinner.
They’re even better if the weather is warm and you are relaxing outside, as I was over the Christmas holidays in Florida. So one day my Mom and I enjoyed a few glasses of Bastgen’s Riesling Spätlese Mosel Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr 2007 before dinner.
Bastgen was new to me a few years ago, but I have rated this producer’s wines almost consistently outstanding for the 2006, 2007 and 2008 vintages. And anyone who has tasted Fritz Haag’s Rieslings from the Juffer-Sonnenuhr knows this is a great vineyard.
The Bastgen started out with aromas of slate and citrus. It was sleek and piquant on the palate, with a vibrant structure driving its lime, apple, spice and mineral notes. Overall, it was juicy, balanced and long. 91 points, non-blind. I bought it on sale for $19.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Bastgen Riesling Spätlese Mosel Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr 2007 (92, $29).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among German Rieslings, for $25 or less.