November 4, 2021
Details were sparse and my grasp of ancient runic languages is fairly loose, but I determined Grӓvlingsommar is either a time to stock away goodies for winter, or when hordes of man-eating badgers are unleashed to feast on the blood of innocents. Again, Old Norse – not my native language, but I’ve watched enough horror films to know how this sort of thing plays out. Especially with blood thirsty badgers in the mix. Fortunately we have wines for EVERY purpose.
Need something to inebriate badgers and impair their attacks? They won’t be able to resist the juicy Osmote Dechaunac. Want to destroy a raging badger swarm in one go? Make a Molotov cocktail with the Habit Grenache! Need to perfect your stomping technique to crush badger skulls? Raul Perez’s Ultreia Godello will help your legs flail. Are you down to your last ounce of blood, locked in a 7/11 bathroom stall, waiting for the end? Let a bottle of the Ulli Stein Weihwasser take you to the light.
First Line of Defense: 2020 Osmote DeChaunac
Ben Riccardi is one of the most promising young winemakers to hit the Finger Lakes since Kelby Russell. Having previously worked at famed California winery, Williams Selyem, Ben specializes in cool climate Chardonnay. He’s also embraced some of the Finger Lake’s unheralded hybrid varietals, like DeChaunac. With sustainability in mind, the Osmote DeChaunac is fermented on dry Chardonnay skins with partial carbonic maceration. The result is delicious, crushable, adult juice. All the berries, mouth-watering acidity and enough crunchy minerality to provide structure. This is an all-day, every-day wine.
Second Wave: 2018 Ultreia Godello
Raul Perez is all the rage these days, and the Ultreia Godello demonstrates why. A full-bodied white grape from Northwest Spain, examples of Godello tend to be heavy-handed and unbalanced. Not this one. Crisp, fresh with a rich mouthfeel and full flavor concentration, the layers of orchard and citrus fruit are carried on the palate by a delicious salty finish. Sort of like Chablis made on a beach.
Last Stand: 2018 Habit Grenache.
There is a ton of delicious Grenache coming out of California. As far as “actor wines” go, Jeff Fischer’s (American Dad) Habit is among the best. Not just a figurehead, Fischer has devoted himself to producing sustainably produced wines for over a decade. All of his vineyards are run either organically or biodynamically and his wines are produced with spontaneous fermentations, neutral oak and reductive techniques to preserve fruit and freshness. Nothing overblown or overdone. The 2018 Grenache is everything I want – fresh wild strawberries, boysenberry, savory summer herbs, pink peppercorn and a smooth finish. Never disappoints.
This Is The End: 2020 UIli Stein Weihwasser
Weihwasser – or ‘Holy Water’ – is one of my all-time favorite everyday Rieslings. Ulli Stein, the crazy Doctor from the Mosel, is someone you can’t help but fall in love with. He works some of the steepest, most untenable vineyard sites in Germany. In fact, the way he came into these old, historic vineyards, is because no one else wanted to deal with the headache! Thankfully, he did, and his Rieslings are among the best in the world. His “entry-level” Weihwasser is off-dry enough to please those looking for a little sweetness, but dry enough to suck in those who aren’t. It’s a perfect come-to-the-table wine. Delicious apple, peach and quince with intense wet slate mineral notes, Ulli’s Holy Water is some of Germany’s most delicious juice.