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Riesling rocks. Life is not a blind tasting. Nor should it be. I was delightfully reminded of this slice of vino-veritas this week when running a wine bar at a cocktail party for a group of about 100 NY metro alumni of a prominent business school. It was a completely unscientific and yet utterly real-world setting to compare how wine lovers respoinded to an array of options. Let’s cut to the chase: the hands-down winner in this smackdown was a Finger Lakes Riesling; Dr. Konstantin Frank 2007 Semi-Dry Riesling, to be precise. Over the course of two hours, we went through 8 bottles of the luscious Dr. K (retail $15), vs. just over 2 bottles of Chalk Hill 2006 Sauvignon Blanc ($29 retail). This was an old-fashioned and well-deserved butt-kicking. The Dr. K checked in to the party with gobs of juicy fruit and a vivid underpinning of mouthwatering acidity that seemed to make apples turn into apricots and pear. What was wrong with the Chalk Hill, which I learned after the fact had been “highly rated”? It was a Chardo-wannabe, smothered with a viscous malo-lactic charater and barrel-induced distraction. Fruit and acid took a backseat to winemaking technique and the result, as judged by the discerning masses, was not pretty. In fact, I ran out of the Dr. K, even after starting to offer smaller pours; could have probably poured 12 bottles. Word got out very quickly: try the Riesling. People kept coming, and kept coming back. Read the rest of this entry »