Food & Wine Photo Credit: St. Urbans Hof Ockfen Bockstein

Cellar-Worthy and Pocket-Friendly Wine

St. Urbans riesling ages like white burgundy (maybe even better) at a fraction of the price.

St. Urbans Hof Ockfen Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2010 $32

The truism that most wine is built to be drunk young has never been more true. In decades past there were certain wines—I’m looking at you, Bordeaux—that frankly needed some significant time in the bottle to show their greatness, but increasingly even these stalwarts of the cellar are drinking pretty amazingly right out of the gate these days. On the white side of things the standard bearer for ageability has long been White Burgundy, but the last few years, that region’s serious issue with premature oxidation or premox have scared away a lot of oenophiles who have little interest of paying a princely sum for a bottle, lovingly caring for it only to be cruelly rewarded with some funky deep yellow juice after 10 years.

In the face of this, one option is to simply not the roll the dice and drink your white wine young, and while it’s entirely acceptable, it robs you of the indescribable pleasure you get when from a wine that has some age. A better option is to source out wines that are both relatively inexpensive and age-worthy. Italian Verdicchio works wonderfully here, as does Viura from Spain. But there’s no better bet than well-made German riesling, a point that was recently hammered home by going through a vertical of wines from a single vineyard (the Saar’s Ockfen Bockstein) made by St. Urbans Hof. The oldest bottle was a 1990 that was still as fresh and vibrant as if it had been bottled in the past few years and as we sipped (and then drank) through the vintages there was not a false note to be found. The amazing thing is that the current vintage of the Kabinett level is readily available for $32 and I think I can go as far as guaranteeing that this wine—while drinking well now—will cellar amazingly for the next decade. And if you don’t believe me there are still a few bottle of the 2007 and 2008 Spatlese version of this wine at the BC Liquor Store on 39th and Cambie (for the amazing price of $48) that will back me up as to the potential longevity of this wine.

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