Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Peter Lehmann Riesling 2012, Australia

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COST: $16-$18

WHAT: The Peter Lehmann Riesling 2012 from Australia is a dry, crisp wine that reminds me why Riesling is considered one of the most versatile grapes in the world.

Rieslings run the gamut from dry to sweet, and because my tastes lean to dry, the Peter Lehmann is one of my favorites.

In the glass, beautiful floral and lime aromas drift up from the straw-gold wine. It has a clean, fresh taste full of pineapple, grapefruit and apple with a touch of minerality. Good acidity gives it a nice finish.

The grapes come from the high hills in Eden Valley, with fruit from each particular vineyard fermented separately. The wine is fermented in stainless steel vats. Blending the wines contributes to the complexity and layers of flavor that unfold when you drink it. I would serve this well chilled.

This wine is part of the Portrait line that founder Peter Lehmann started to show the world what the Barossa region is all about. Other wines in the series are Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Semillon.

WINERY: Peter Lehmann Wines was founded in 1979 in response to the explosion in popularity of Australian wines. Lehmann believed quality and not quantity would lead to greater success.

He found investment partners and formed a consortium to build his winery with slow and steady growth in mind. The first vintage was processed in 1980. Lehmann is considered one of the most creative and influential winemakers in the Barossa, one of the most famous wine regions in the world.

The company now produces an array of wines in many price ranges. They usually are excellent wines at a good price. I recently tasted the 2011 and 2012 Riesling together and the flavors were amazingly consistent and pleasant.

In addition to purchasing grapes from about 185 independent growers, Peter Lehmann Wines has its own vineyards, which produce about 2 percent of its requirements.

The Hess Family Collection bought controlling interest in Peter Lehmann Wines in 2003. The Hess Collection was founded by Swiss entrepreneur Donald Hess, and the company now owns wineries on four continents.

GOES WITH: This Riesling is perfect for fresh oysters, shellfish, pan-fried white fish or fish on the grill, but my wife, Teri, and I had it with homemade chicken noodle soup. It was lip-smacking good.

The acidity and minerality perfectly cut through the chicken fat in the soup and brought out the herb flavors. We kept drinking the wine after dinner and it was also good by itself. The wine probably also would be good with some pasta and pesto.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, APRIL 25

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26

Wine tasting seminar, 7-9 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; featuring the wines of the Rhone Valley, led by Jean-Pierre Chambas, founder of Aleph Wines; $20 advance, $25 at the door if space is available; reservations, (803) 279-9522

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; wines, cheese and crackers and live music most Fridays; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY, APRIL 27

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

FRIDAY, MAY 3

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites, three reds and several cheeses; $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522


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