Day 9

Temp Note: This wine should be chilled to about 45ºF / 50ºF. (Pop it in the fridge overnight and take it out 10 minutes prior to serving.) The wine will be more crisp at a cooler temperature and more honeyed and floral when enjoying the wine at a slightly warmer temperature.


Yup! Riesling coming in hot on day 9! This wine has about 4.5 grams of residual sugar which puts it in the dry category for still wines. By comparison, off-dry still wines have an excess of 10 g/l of residual sugar. Willm’s Reserve Riesling has been matured on the lees for several months which helps to soften the acidity. You may find aromas of wildflower honey and white tea that likely developed during the bottle maturation period. Our staff found it to be wonderfully complex!


About the Producer

“If Willm isn’t in an American history book, it should be. The winery was the first producer in Alsace to export to the United States after prohibition, and it’s said that Al Capone favored the wines after his release from Alcatraz. Though the Willm family has been making wine in Alsace since 1896, their French heritage dates back to 1398. Willm’s portfolio includes four Grand Crus, sparkling Cremant d’Alsace and late-harvest sweet wines, in addition to their reserve range. The winery is known for its easy-drinking, well-priced Riesling that pairs well with shellfish, grilled seafood and white meats. Among Alsace’s rarer sparklers is Willm’s Crémant d’Alsace Blanc de Noirs, a white bubbly made from 100% Pinot Noir. The vineyards span the Haut-Rhin (upper Rhine) and the Bas-Rhin (lower Rhine) in three locations, encompassing a diversity of soils and allowing Willm to produce a range of styles. The winery received its organic certification in 2012.


Climate: The Willm vineyard is located in the Barr region of northern Alsace at an altitude of 200-400 meters, extending from the mountainous base of the Vosges to the plains of Alsace and the Rhine. Bordered by the Vosges Mountains to the west, the Barr hillsides benefit from a dry and sunny microclimate thanks to their south-southeast exposure, optimal for cultivating the vines. The fluctuation between warm days and cool nights in autumn is conducive to a slow, prolonged grape maturation.


Soils: Our diverse soils are a product of the region’s diverse landscape. The mountainous Vosges make way for smaller hills that stretch into various flatlands—just a few of about a dozen geological formations that comprise our region’s landscape. The vineyard itself consists primarily of granite and clay-limestone soils, while the coastal marine environment contributes to the terroir’s mineral-rich quality.”



Riesling can be ALL citrus and moderate+ to high acid.

What is the role of acid in wine?

Throughout the growing period, winemaking process, and post-bottling, acid is present to allow for chemical stability and to inhibit unwanted bacteria growth. Furthermore, as you drink, the acids in the wine activate your salivary glands creating saliva that wets your palate. (This is why food and wine are such great accompaniments!) The balance of acid and tannin is particularly important in tannic wines which tend to dry out your palate.


Can you measure acidity in wine?

Acid levels in wine can be measured in grams per liter and by measuring the wine’s pH.  Wines that are sweeter can mask the acidity of a wine. Think about tasting Coke vs a raw lemon – they both have a pH of 2.5 but the lemon will make you pucker. This is due to the sugar balancing the acidity in the Coke. Now compare this to sweet German Rieslings and dry Rieslings from France or the US. Vastly different profiles but similar in acidity. The pH of wine tends to be between 3 and 4 with most falling around 3.6 pH. Next time you enjoy a red wine that is lighter in color, observe how acidic it is – it likely has a lower pH than a wine that is very deep in color.


What impacts a wine’s acidity level?

Some grapes are naturally high in acidity. The sugar levels at which the grapes are picked can also have a massive impact on the pH, acidity, flavor compounds, and phenolics of a wine. In warmer wine regions, you may find that some growers will harvest earlier to have a wine that is more balanced – as the grapes ripen, sugar is created and acidity decreases. Whereas, in cooler regions, harvest may be weeks later allowing late ripening grapes, like Riesling, to thrive.


Soil type can also affect acid production in the grapevine. According to Tim Atkin, Master of Wine “High-pH (alkaline) soils, such as chalk, encourage the vine’s metabolism to produce sap and grape juice with a relatively high acid content. The continual use of fertilizers has lowered the pH level of some viticultural areas in France, and these are now producing wines of higher pH (less acidity).”  (Nature can be so fascinating!)


Finally, certain processes that occur in the winery can adjust the acidity and pH of the final wine. If a wine is flabby, a winemaker may choose to add a little acidity back in through a process called acidification by adding tartaric acid, citric acid, or an acid blend post-fermentation and filtration of the yeast. When acidification is done before the yeast is removed, the added acid may be converted to acetic acid, which would give the wine off aromas and flavors. This form of manipulation is not allowed in some appellations. Conversely, if the winemaker wants to raise the pH and soften the acidity, then the winemaker may put the wine through malolactic fermentation. 

Too much info? We hope not!