Blue Matron at the World Cup

By | June 9, 2006

With the World Cup kicking off in Germany, it would be rude not to try a German wine. Germany produces some fabulous wines and some just plain dreadful ones. Many people have only tried Blue Nun, and as the company to have produced a more sophisticated big sister to its signature wine, the 2004 Riesling varietal had to be worth a try.

The bottle is clear, looking surprisingly like an Australian wine, with green and yellow colouring, but it’s given away by the nice lady in a habit on the front. Blue Nun seem to want to encourage its core customers to trade up whilst remaining loyal. That key target market is women in their 20’s who don’t drink a lot, but like something nice with dinner or ‘when the girls come round’ (perhaps when ‘the boys’ are in the pub watching the World Cup and drinking lager).

It has a plastic cork, the worst of both worlds. A screwcap would give it enhanced picnicking and last minute off license dash appeal.

The 2004 wine itself is clear and bright, with a very pale lemon-green colour. There’s a hint of petillance – very small bubbles – with reasonable legs. It smells clean and fresh, though it’s not very pronounced. There’s fresh green apples and citrus fruit, with just a hint of yeastiness.

It’s off dry (12g/l of residual sugar if you’re interested in that kind of thing), with a crisp acidic edge, and quite a light body. The prickly petillance makes it feel fresh and lively on the tongue, it’s more noticeable in the mouth, not quite Vinho Verde, but edging that way. The apple is still there, joined by fresh limes, although the flavour fades quickly.

At 12% alcohol it is a big sister to the base Blue Nun that clocks in at about 9.5%. I always find that alcohol percentage work on more of a logarithmic than linear scale, so I suspect this would get you drunk more than 25% quicker, which may be your plan, but should be borne in mind if you’re driving, babysitting, or about to tell your in laws exactly what you think of them.

You can keep great Riesling for decades, but this one needs drinking within 6-12 months, that’s not a fault, just the way it’s made.

All in all it ticks the boxes that Blue Nun wants it to, it’s fancier, drier and higher in alcohol, but for me it lacks the charm of regular Blue Nun. It costs about a quid more, but for another pound you could get a much better new world Riesling (for another £20 you could get a good German one too). Call me sentimental, but I like the comfort food feel of traditional Blue Nun, even with its new improved formula.

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