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Wine Tasting:
Fünf German Riesling

Winery: Schmitt Sohne
Brand/Type: Riesling
Vintage: N/A
Country: Germany
Region: N/A
Alcohol content: 9%
Closure: Screw cap
Appearance: Pale straw
Aroma/Bouquet: Green Apple, solvent

I love a good Riesling. In fact I would have to say that Riesling is my favorite type of wine. Good Rieslings can be had fairly cheap (really good ones cost a bit more). The 2005 harvest has recently hit the US market and my favorite wine store has cases of new wine stacked in the aisles and many of them are bargain priced. In the midst of these new offerings was something named Funf. “German Riesling” the label states. Isn’t that almost redundant? Like French Champagne? I bought it despite a little German accented voice in my head warning me otherwise.

From the Schmitt Sonne press release:

Fünf, a light and easy to drink German Riesling, will sell at price points from $5.99 to $6.99 (750 ml) at retailers nationwide. The name, which translated from German means “five”, is designed to promote Fünf as the perfect drink when the “fun begins at 5.” The frosted white bottle features cobalt blue accents, a large numeral 5 behind the logo, and a German umlaut over the U in the name, which is a subtle representation of a smiling face.

Well I had obtained my bottle before I read the press release. Had I read it first I would have listened to my gut instinct and left it on the shelf. I’m of Swiss-German descent. My grandfather Weinzapf was a Swiss immigrant who came from a 2000 year old tradition of wine making, selling and of course drinking.

My grandmother however was 100% German. She was a gentle and kind lady who sipped her share of wine. I do however think that after tasting Funf that she would spit it out and declare it to be “scheisse!” Grandpa would not be pleased with Funf either.

The bottle does look a bit like a cheap version of an Arbor Mist offering. Not that Arbor Mist is exactly a fine wine either but when you share the looks of a distinctly low-end wine you probably share more than looks alone.

The obvious “corporate speak” marketing pitch on the bottle doesn’t bode well either;

“After work, during dinner, on the town. With a special someone or lots of friends. Open a bottle and add a little FunF to your life.”

Don’t do this to friends or someone special. Not unless “someone special” is someone you hate and want to inflict pain upon.

So by now you must be asking, “How does it taste?” I’ll elaborate on the speculated opinion of my Grandmother: It has a green apple and honeydew flavor that only slightly teases you with those samples of flavor. It quickly turns to a sickly sweet and grapefruit-ish palate. It then descends to a bitter-sour finish. It has a syrupy consistency that I’ve heard some people complain about when they say they don’t like Rieslings. There is no mineral, no acidity, nothing to balance any of the sweet and syrupy taste. I did find the bitter element somewhat disturbing. Disturbing like an East German propaganda film. Even Leni Riefenstahl films had nicer endings than this did.

This is one wine to avoid. If you are new to wine and have never tried a Riesling, do not try this one. Funf is not something I would recommend to anyone.

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Fünf German Riesling

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