White Wine of the Week | White Wine Reviews

Whites and bubblies you can grab in the Twin Cities for under $15. Expect a new wine to be revealed each Thursday(ish).

Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett

Cost: Average price $16.99

Where buy now: Surdyk’s- $11.99

Grapes: Riesling

Region: Nahe region, Germany

Vintage: 2009

Jakob Schneider Riesling Kabinett

I love sausage! Keep giggling, Beavis & Butthead, but it’s true. We grill them up all year ’round at my house. Recently, I’ve been testing Rieslings that pair well with the garlicky, smokey, fatty, flavors that are packed inside that casing. I’ve found one and, get this: it’s a liter! A liter, man!

I introduce you to Jakob Schneider’s Riesling Kabinett. I was at Surdyk’s because a faithful follower went there looking for the Riesling Spatlese I reviewed a month ago to no avail. So, I had to go in and investigate. I talked to Roger, a wine dude who knows his stuff. I took a wine class from him once, and when possible, I seek his spirit guidance. He is a quirky fella, not unlike Paul Giamatti’s character in “Sideways”(minus the Merlot pretentiousness). Plus, he loves to cook! I often buy what he recommends because he has such passion and really evokes the senses when discussing wine and pairings.

Kabinett- what is this? I’m not going to lie, I may be a 1/4 German but this language confuses the hell out of me. “Kabinett” is a variety of Riesling, and refers to the ripeness of the grapes. These grapes are not as ripe as other Riesling grapes [for example, the next step up the ripeness ladder is Spatlese]. The riper the grapes, the sweeter the wine.

Two great things about this Riesling: 1.) It’s a liter [I’m sorry, am I repeating myself?]. 2.) Screw cap. I may love drinking wine but I’d rather not sip Riesling all day long, just two – three glasses with some succulent sausages or on a warm Spring day, thank you. With the screw cap, I can enjoy my glass or two, screw the cap back on, and return the bottle to the fridge. Perfetto! Waste not, want not.

Upon twisting the cap off, scents of floral, apple, pear, and light citrus immediately escape. The scents reappear on your pallet. This is a dryer Riesling, which I prefer. A decent finish with a touch of acidity to make your mouth water. Take a bite of a freshly grilled sausage, snap into the casing letting the oozing flavors envelop your mouth. A sip of this Riesling Kabinett, and I was suddenly singing, “Springtime for Hitler”.

I suggest picking up a liter then walking down the street to Kramarcyzks to buy a sampling of their sausages. I love the Hungarian and Andouille, myself. Dust the snow off your grill and set fire to those little piggies. A little sauerkraut, mustard and this Riesling- your evening is set. Oh, and watching the Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder version of “The Producers” would be most excellent.  Achtung: das German trifecta!

Cuvée Catherine

Cost: Average price $8

Where buy now: Haskell’s – $7.99

Grapes: Cuvee Catherine: Sauvignon Blanc

Region: Loire Valley, France

Vintage: Table white wine

Cuvee Catherine

Yep, just another boring-ass Tuesday night. Sadly, our cable was recently turned off [we did ride the rails for over a year, but they’re still jerks] I needed some evening entertainment. Why bait depression by watching “The Biggest Loser” or bore myself with “Glee” (which IMHO, jumped the shark early in Season 2)?

I also needed to explore another white wine for this week. The bottle I chose is Cuvee Catherine Sauvignon Blanc. Andy (our new BFF- remember?) explained that Cuvee Catherine is a private label wine produced solely for Haskell’s by the Sauvion winery, named for the owner’s wife, Catherine. This translates to decent wine at a decent price. But wait, how sweet is that? I’d LOVE a wine to be named after me! I instantly started to daydream about this. Could there be just one? Would it be sparkly? Italian?

This is a nice Sauvignon Blanc, just a pleasant little number. It hails from the Loire [Lwahr] Valley in Northwestern France. An expansive and diverse region, the cool climates help create a light-to-medium bodied, dry white wine. It has hints of citrus (and dare I say a tinge of grass) yet remains balanced in acidity. It being a French wine, I wanted something “Frenchy” to go with it. While searching for recipes that incorporated ingredients I had on hand, I came across this humdinger: Chicken stuffed with goat cheese and basil. I even used the Cuvee Catherine to make the mushroom-wine sauce.www.epicurious.com/Epicurious-green Lighter fare like grilled fish, quinoa with herbs or mixed greens should pair equally as well.

Cuvee Catherine

When I took the dish out of the oven, the basil & green onion spiked goat cheese came oozing right out of the chicken. Oozing cheese=bliss! Poured some of that buttery mushroom-wine sauce on top MAN! Melted French bliss. A sip of this wine and it was like a Parisian spring day in my mouth.

After much daydream toil, my only conclusion was that any vino named after me MUST be a red, on account of my crimson locks. But, it sure beat sitting in front of the boob tube, sobbing as some morbidly obese ‘loser’ slipped below the yellow line. Or, worse yet, cringing at the faux-angst choreographed to a Madonna medley.

Domaine l’Enclos

Cost: Average price $10

Where buy now: Haskell’s – $7.99

Grapes: Blend – Colombard & Ugni Blanc

Region: Gascogne [Gascony], France

Vintage: 2009


Domaine l'Enclos Colombard & Ugni Blanc
Domaine l’Enclos Colombard & Ugni Blanc

While doing some online homework, I noticed Haskell’s had a bitchin’ sale cooking, so I shimmied down to the Downtown MPLS location over lunch hour. New to the store, and staring down a serious list of wines, I felt overwhelmed. Thankfully, my, nay, OUR new BFF Andy approached me. He appeared calm, educated, and ready to lead me into battle.

Then, I shamefully dropped the “B” bomb. Yep, B-L-O-G. I came clean to Andy about The Savvy Lush.com – he was the first liquor store person I’d ever told. As it turns out, when you tell one of “them” you write a wine blog, the floodgates open. He explained how Haskell’s is especially known for French wine. I was there seeking a budget Cali Zin, but “This is good”, I thought- I could learn some about French wine.

He pointed me to a Bordeaux for under $10. I bought it. I inquired about Tempranillos, and he led me to his go-to. I bought it. The white wine I saw online for super awesome sale was out of stock, so I asked him to recommend one. Guess what?

This week’s white hails from Gascogne (or “Gascony” to us Americans), in Southwestern France near Northern Spain. They’re known for “Armagnac”, a brandy named for the region. It is distilled from a wine blend, using Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes. Andy didn’t have to say more- they make a mild cognac from this! Into the basket it went.

I begrudgingly returned to work, chomping at the bit to get outta there. At 4:58 PM, I raced home. Upon arrival, I tossed the dog out, flung off my shoes and methodically unsheathed each wine from the silky, green Haskell’s tote. I snatched some brie from the fridge (I know, brie should be eaten at room temperature- sue me) and unscrewed the cap, the first poured drops sending tingles where the sun don’t shine. After a quick swirl, it (the wine) started to open up, begging to be sniffed. It popped but in a light, crisp way with an aroma reminding me of lemon, faint lime and grassy scents. I took a measured sip- my nose had not led me astray. This is a dry white wine but is alive with hints of refreshing citrus. I took a bite of brie and then another sip. Wow.


My only regret is that I was home alone. No one to share these remarkable tastes with, nor to stop me from becoming pregnant full of wine and cheese. Words cannot express how much I recommend this wine, and it‘s right cheap right now at Haskell’s ($7.99?!?!?).