Knapp Dry Riesling 2014: $15 Fair+

This wine illustrates perfectly the Wine Enthusiast's misunderstanding of dry Riesling.  Awarded “90” points by the magazine, it lacks the attributes a fine dry Riesling must possess.

What are these attributes?  Simply put, a great dry Riesling should have the characteristics of a diamond.  Its flavors should be pure, sharp and crystalline, its acidity zippy, its mouthfeel multi-faceted, its finish sparkly and brilliantly long.  Having some fruit is important, of course, but "lusciously concentrated peach and melon flavors” (to quote the Wine Enthusiast) is neither a requirement nor an indicator of a fine wine, as WE seems to think.  In Riesling the purity of the fruit (not the quantity) is extremely important.  Flavors of mildew, oxidized fruit, rot, or muddy earth ruin Riesling.  In other types of wine these flaws are more easily hidden.  In Riesling they stand out.  The Wine Enthusiast might try drinking an entire bottle of the Knapp Dry Riesling, as I did, instead of a sip.  They might change their mind about its quality.

The Knapp Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes, NY) $15 [Fair+] is a medium-dry Riesling with some substance.  A dull nose, muddy flavors, and a lack of zip make it a marginally appealing wine.

Bright medium lemon yellow in color, the Knapp has light scents of peach, apricot and citrus, which are blurred by earthy tea-like notes and raw acidity.  Medium bodied, quite soft, round, and medium dry, balance is acceptable.  Modest flavors of sappy peach and citrus are blurry and further muddied by earth and tea-like notes.  The finish is off-kilter, with unpleasant earthy, tea-like and bitter notes eclipsing the fruit.  September 2015


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© Douglas Hillstrom 2014