“Balance” is a term that gets bandied about in the wine world. Collectively, “balance” has a meaning that most agree on — a wine is balanced when all the different components (fruit, residual sugar, acidity, tannin, etc.) come together in a harmonious way. A balanced wine doesn’t have protrusions or awkward components.
But even if we can agree conceptually on this definition, there is a lot of room for interpretation. A wine that you find perfectly balanced, I may find too oaky. Similarly, what I consider balanced might have too much acidity for you.
Context matters too — and that gets us to Kemmeter Wines 2014 Sonero ($14), a wine that Kemmeter Wines owner/winemaker Johannes Reinhardt reaches for when he wants a glass of wine, but isn’t eating food. And it’s all about acidity in that particular context. This isn’t a wine that I’d drink with a meal. Maybe Johannes wouldn’t either.
It’s aromas are peach-y with juicy pear and a bit of mandarin orange.
When you take a sip, it’s a very forward and giving wine. It starts with more peach and mandarin citrus notes with a subtle floral quality. The flavors are very precise and intricate — which is true of the entire Kemmeter lineup — but there is also a soft plushness to the wine. Though certainly off-dry, it doesn’t succumb to flabbiness, but it doesn’t have the verve of the other Kemmeter rieslings.
Reinhardt told me on a visit earlier this summer that too much acid is just that — too much — without food. Too often writers (myself included) will knock a riesling that we deem too-low acid. Often, lower-acid rieslings tend toward a muddied, general fruitness and not much else. Not always though. That’s the lesson I learned with this wine.
It’s rare to find a wine this easy drinking that has so much character.
Producer: Kemmeter Wines
AVA: New York
Price: $14 (purchased at the winery)
(3 out of 5, Very good/Recommended)