Remember The NeverEnding Story?
Remember when Bastian first starts reading?
There’s this troll-looking dude that flies around on a bat, and he’s hanging out with a guy in a top hat who rides a racing snail. So they’re chillin’ in the woods, when they hear a rumbling in the distance. It gets louder and louder and LOUDER.
Eventually, out from the trees comes a giant dude made of rocks riding a tricycle.
They called him the Rock Biter, since his diet consisted of rocks. I guess you are what you eat.
The Rock Biter starts hanging out with the other dudes, and they get to talking about this thing called The Nothing (an entity that is threatening to destroy their world of Fantasia). The dude on the racing snail and the troll begin to tell of the things they had heard second-hand, but the Rock Biter had an actual run-in with The Nothing.
He told them about this beautiful lake that was in the center of his home town. It was loaded with plenty of delicious lime stone rocks (which would be important to a rock biter). But one day… One day The Nothing came, and then the lake was gone.
“What do you mean it was gone? Did it dry up?” the racing snail dude asked.
“No. It was just not there anymore.” the Rock Biter responded.
“What? Like there was a hole instead of a lake?” the troll dude asked.
“No. A hole would have been something. There was NOTHING there!” the Rock Biter explained.
I totally understand what the Rock Biter was saying. You can talk about The Nothing as much as you want, but there is no way you could ever understand it unless you experienced it. In the movie, the Rock Biter moves with just a little more urgency because he knows what The Nothing is all about. He wants everyone to understand what The Nothing is.
I started thinking about The NeverEnding Story last night while tasting some wine.
I started to think about The Nothing.
I’ve always been a fan of Riesling. I’ve especially been into the Rieslings of Washington state. I’ve never been afraid to bring a 6 dollar Riesling to a dinner party, because they are always crowd-pleasing. They always have a nice balance of acidity and a little residual sugar. Perfect with food.
Recently, I’ve been reading through Kevin Zraly’s wine book, and he spends quite a bit of time talking about the wines of Alsace (specifically Riesling). While reading it, I was all like, “I know about Riesling. I know that the stuff from France is gonna be a bit more dry. I know it’s gonna have nice mineral notes. I know it’s gonna have some good acid. I know it all.”
Apparently, I had no clue.
It turns out that Alsatian Riesling is my Nothing.
Here’s what went down…
I picked up two completely different Rieslings from two different stores for two different reasons, and decided to taste them side-by-side…
I picked up the Trimbach 2008 Riesling at BevMo for $21.99. Easily, the most I’ve ever paid for a Riesling, but this is the first wine that Zraly suggests you taste in his book. If I am to know about the Rieslings of Alsace, I’ve got to taste them.
I figured that if I really wanted to get to know this wine, I had to compare it with something I was familiar with. So yesterday I picked up this…
The Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling will set you back $5.99 at Trader Joe’s. This is my go to Riesling. This is the one that I bring to parties. This is the one that is just delicious.
Color: The Trimbach was a straw yellow. It was considerably darker than the Chateau Ste Michelle’s pale yellow hue.
Nose: The Trimbach was hella complex on the nose. Tons of small, not quite ripe, green apples. White raisins. There’s this crushed vitamin C characteristic that is really cool. There’s also a little lime, fig, and motor oil. The Rock Biter would also appreciate the lime stone minerality of it.
The Chateau Ste Michelle smells EXTREMELY sweet, in comparison. There’s lots of fruit on the nose. Pear. Apple pie. Peaches.
Taste: This is where it gets fun. The Trimbach is RAZOR SHARP in its acidity. I never understood the whole “Razor blades on the tongue” description that Gary Vaynerchuk talks about until I tasted this Riesling. This is intense! There’s a ton of lime and grapefruit on the palate. There are also hints of green apple skin and walnut. But really… the star of this wine is the dry, sharp, mouth-watering acidity.
The Chateau Ste Michelle, in comparison, is almost dessert-like in its approach. I never felt that way about it before. This thing is SWEET. It has light peach and mango fruit on the palate. There is a nice, clean acidity to this wine, but the fruit wins out.
Score: By all accounts, the Trimbach was everything I’ve read about Alsatian Rieslings, but nothing I could have ever expected. This wine is a game changer for me. I could write about this wine until my fingers fall off, and you still wouldn’t understand it. Much like The Nothing, I need you to know how great this is. Give it a 91. Buy it. Save it as an aperitif to a fancy seafood dinner at home.
The Chateau Ste Michelle is a good Riesling. It is a respectable 87, and a real value. I have no problem with popping this open with some Tuesday night Tai food.
But that Trimbach…
That Trimbach was something.
And since we had plenty of the bottle left after the tasting, Kara and I had the rest with dinner…
The Nothing teaching me about Riesling?
Ain’t that something!