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Staff Selections • David Mahoney


SEASONAL PICKS 2022:

Donnhoff Estate Riesling 2020

(Germany)

When it comes to Riesling, it sometime seems as if there’s a sort of standoff between wine professionals and wine consumers, with the former group proclaiming the varietal’s greatness and the latter largely ignoring them. Which strikes me as a little crazy—it’s like having to convince people they should eat more top-quality chocolate. Although some folks are understandably wary of sweet wines, having been turned off by cloying and insipid stuff from the past (Liebfraumilch, anyone?), it would be tragic to write off fine German Rieslings that successfully balance whatever residual sugar they might possess with a strong streak of acidity. That’s certainly true of Donnhoff’s estate Riesling, which is year in and year out one of the wine world’s great values. Made in an off-dry style from handpicked grapes grown on the steep, stony slopes above the Nahe River by the region’s premier producer, it opens with a bracing minerality on the nose, followed by a stunningly pure flavor that’s the equivalent of biting into the best green apple you could imagine. And at less than 11% alcohol, you won’t need to be resurrected after having a glass or two.

SURDYK'S PRICE

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2019 Tenuta Terre Nere Enta Rosso  

(Sicily)

SURDYK'S PRICE

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I’ve been exploring different wines from around the world for longer than I care to admit. So it’s a pleasant surprise when I discover a wine from a hitherto unfamiliar region. I’ve had plenty of wines from Sicily—I’ve even visited wineries on the Italian island—and I’ve enjoyed many a bottle of full-bodied Nero d’Avola. That’s why the red wines from the slopes of Mount Etna come as such a revelation. Relatively light-bodied, these wines rely more on finesse than force for their appeal. Over the last 20 years, Tenuta delle Terre Nere has been at the forefront of Sicilian wineries that are bringing much-deserved attention to the extraordinary potential of Etna wines. Their Etna Rosso, made mostly from Nerello Mascalese grapes grown in volcanic soil at more than 2,000 feet above sea level on Etna’s north flank, is an elegantly seductive wine with beautiful berry flavors that keep luring you back in for another sip. Anyone who’s a fan of the subtle charms of Burgundian Pinot Noir would be well-advised to give this Etna Rosso a try. It’s a superb accompaniment to grilled meat and fish, but for a sensational Sicilian-style pairing, pour it with pasta alla Norma.