Smoke, Pear, and Apple Tart. $13.5

An endangered classic.  While French grape varietals can be confusing, German ones are easy – it’s nearly always Riesling. But the range of wines from this single grape is really remarkable. German Riesling can be as dry as a Muscadet or as sweet as a Muscato, depending on where, when, and how it’s made.

The classic style of German Riesling, though a bit of an endangered breed these days, is a touch off-dry and full of racy acidity and minerality. Sommeliers universally praise Riesling’s ability to communicate terroir, and we found a striking range of wines in our visit last year.

Many readers of these posts have enjoyed our dry Riesling from Franz Dahm, a producer of tiny quantities in the Mosel Valley. Today’s offer is for a more classic German style – not sugary, but with a soft hint of sweetness. And because it’s a simpler wine than the Bernkästeler trocken, it’s an even better bargain.

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A remarkable value. Dahm’s Mosel Riesling halbtrocken (half-dry) 2011 shows smoke, pear, and apple tart on a clean, expressive nose. The mouth is gently sweet through the mid palate but finishes tart and fresh. This wine is perfect for fish – last night we enjoyed it with poached cod in a lemon butter sauce.

These traditional off-dry German Rieslings are harder to find as the market demands ever more dryness. But we shortchange ourselves when we spurn off-dry, and this is too good a value (and too drinkable a wine) to pass up. Don’t let the skinny bottle scare you.

Ansonia Retail: $17
offer price: $13.5/bot

Click to place an order.