GOOD luck to everyone who has decided to begin 2014 with a dry January – 31 days without touching alcohol.
I thought about it. It took less than 30 seconds to be convinced that as a person who writes a drinks column, I might find it difficult to give up alcohol for a month.
I’ve walked over hot coals, won comedy stand-up and jumped out of planes , all for charity, but when it comes to saying “no” to a tipple, I have the backbone of a jellyfish.
So instead, I’ll be reducing my alcohol levels. This week, white wines, all riesling.
Lower alcohol rieslings are on the sweeter side, as not all of the sugars have been turned into alcohol in the fermentation process.
Max Ferd Richter Veldenzer Elisenberg Riesling Kabinett 2011, (£13.99, www.laithwaites.co.uk, 9.5%abv) is a spikey refreshing treat after days of festive feasting. It has crisp red apples and stone fruits on the nose; then to sip – and the reward is a mouth-filling juiciness of apples, berries and apricot with a slatey contrast of dry flint.
Berry’s Mosel Riesling Kabinett 2011, J & H Selbach (£9.75, Berry Bros & Rudd, 10%, abv) is emboldened with citrus; has honey-edged flowers and a memory of marzipan on the nose plus a thrill of excited fruit-laden acidity with a seam of minerality.
Morrisons (www.morrisons cellar.com) give all their wines a profile rating from 0-12, with 0 being sweet and 12 being its most intense. Its M Mosel Riesling (£6.99, 8.5% abv) sits at number three on the scale; sweet but edging towards fresh. It has very light lemon sherbet and floral notes on the nose; wispy with nectarines on a distant breeze. To taste, there’s sharp-and-sweet apples and sherbert lemon, a tight acidity, but with little depth.
Over to the New World. The Paddler Marlborough Riesling 2012 (9.5% abv, £12.89, RannochScott.co.uk and other independents) is named after New Zealand winemaker Matt Thompson’s enthusiasm for kayaking. On the nose there’s some stone fruit but also flowers, honeysuckle and a wave of jasmine. Bright lemon flavours shoot sweet acidic, long-lasting bursts into the mouth, but there’s also a tongue-dabbing dryness too.