John Wine Snob says:
I know a secret little store in Phoenix where one can buy exotic wines not usually found in other stores. Wines from Armenia, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Serbia, and Romania are the usual suspects. Wines form those parts of the world are notoriously not the greatest, although there are some very decent Georgian table wines that are immediately drinkable. Unfortunately in this store, the wine is improperly stored for long periods of time, or they were bottled or shipped badly in the first place. I keep buying them (I never learn) anyway, and about half the time I have to return them because they are corked. Recently I bought a Serbian Zlatni Rizling (Gold Riesling) for $12.99 not expecting much. My maternal grandparents were from neighboring Croatia, and I occasionally cook something fro my grandmother’s arsenal. Last night it was sarma, which is ground beef and rice rolled in cabbage leaves and covered with sauerkraut, tomatoes, and a little lemon juice. It is then simmered for about an hour and a half, and the smell offends all of the neighbors. I had that Serbian Rizling in the refrigerator and thought this might be a nice time to open it. still not anticipating greatness, and besides, the Croats and Serbs have never played nice together. It gets even worse, and then better. First of all the bottle was oddly shaped and an odd size. It was one liter, not the normal 750 mls., but no problem. When I removed the capsule it was almost laughable. No it was laughable. Mrs. Wine Snob and I really did laugh. There was neither cork nor twist off. It was an old time soda bottle top and I had to us a bottle opener on it. Back in the days when I lived in the Soviet Union and traveled to all of the Balkans and Caucuses, packaging and bottling was always a weird adventure in all of the Soviet Bloc. I thought those days were gone. In Russia it certainly is done in the normal way these days, but t looks as though Serbia still has not quite caught on. This is sort of funny because back in the day Serbia was considered advanced by Eastern European standards. Forgive my rambling digression. The wine was actually really nice, although it had no resemblance to any Riesling I have ever drunk. When I say nice, I mean really nice. I am not a huge white wine drinker and even less of a Riesling drinker, so when I smelled and then tasted I got a jolt of pleasantness, and Mr. Wine snob agreed. It was crisp with a taste of sourness that was like eating the grass my dog just peed on. I mean that in the best possible way. It also had some very good lemon flavors and overall was the perfect accompaniment to the big pot of sarma. Dobro! I Zhivali. I will have to give this Slav 3.5 stars.