[Image: Bunch of Grapes]
Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1997 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

One of the most frequent arguments we hear for the poor marketability of German wines in the United States is that the labels are too confusing: Too many long words, and more information than we need.

Apparently bowing to this conventional wisdom, the well-known Rheingau firm Knyphausen presents us with a simplified label -- which it bills as "A limited edition with easy to read German wine labels" -- and sells it simply as "Knyphausen Rheingau Riesling Kabinett."

The result? Instead of being impressed, I'm a little suspicious. Fine print lists its estate-bottled and QmP quality status, but why is there no village or vineyard name? Did they leave them off for simplicity, or because the wine's made from anonymous grapes? It's actually quite a good wine at a fair price, but the missing information leaves me vaguely dissatisfied.

Baron zu Knyphausen 1990 Rheingau Riesling Kabinett ($8.99/50 cl)
Bright gold color. Lovely candy-apple, honey and caramel aromas over a whiff of old-Riesling "diesel." Flavors consistent with the nose, full and rich; tart acidity nicely balances fresh-fruit sweetness. If the label didn't say "Kabinett," I'd swear this was an Auslese, and a good one at that. Importer: Valkenberg International Inc., Tulsa, Okla. (Nov. 26, 1997)

FOOD MATCH: Remembering the success of a Germanic pork roast with the previous day's Mosel, I converted the leftover pork into a Northern Italian treat, layering cabbage leaves with ground pork mixed with a light balsamella sauce and Parmigiano. It was an excellent match, further demonstrating that even a touch of sweetness doesn't rule out good Rieslings with dinner.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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