The 2011 Clean Slate Riesling is sourced from vineyards on the steep slopes of the Mosel River Valley in northern Germany. Some of the vineyards are on a 65 degree incline, all work on the vineyards must be done by hand and over the years, the steep hillside has caused workers to fall to their deaths. Mosel is a very unique growing area, the hillside vineyards allow the grapes to receive excellent exposure to the sun and the soil is very thin, most of the ground is composed of slate rocks (this is where the name Clean Slate comes from) and the slate is so important to the character of the vineyard, that when pieces of slate are washed down the hillside, they go down to the river bank to collect the slate and put it back. The 2011 growing season was unusually long, due to uncharacteristic warm weather in the spring, giving the grapes ample time to fully develop and ripen. This Riesling is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged an addition 4 months in stainless before bottling. The alcohol content is a mild 10.5%.
The color is a pale olive oil yellow. The nose is subtle, apple and pear, a little citrus with a drop of orange blossom honey. This is a medium to light bodied Riesling, with well balanced acidity and good length. The flavors are slightly muted, but in a seductive way, they pull you in. It tastes of mix of peach and apple, lemon and not sweet, tart citrus candy. The mid palate adds a light brush of minerality, with a name like Clean Slate, I was expecting more pronounced minerality, along with tangerine and soft honey. The acidity will have you smacking your lips during the finish and allows the tart citrus and honey finish to last a long time.
The Clean Slate Riesling is a killer summer wine, tasty, interesting and refreshing, with the relatively low alcohol level and the screw cap, it would work great out on the lawn for that concert in the park. The flavors are slightly muted and delicate, but the acidity is solid, so pair it with foods that are spicy, but not too bold. The Clean Slate Riesling sells, on the internet for $8 to $12, and is a solid and easy way to get aquatinted with the Rieslings from Mosel, Germany.