They’re the white wines that don’t get much attention, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a bottle or two. The riesling and gewürztraminer grapes produce distinctive wines that go well with a surprising number of dishes — or as an aperitif before dinner.

“What almost people don’t know is that they run the gamut form bone dry to off dry to sweet,” says Peter Forbes, the wine director for Centennial Liquor Stores. “And they can be light and fruity or a little spicier.”

Outstanding riesling and gewürztraminer wines (which should be served well chilled) can just as easily come from the Pacific Northwest as Germany, where the wines have been popular for centuries. Consider these suggestions:

• Hogue Johannesburg Riesling 1998 ($6). Another outstanding value from the respected Washington state producer. Slightly sweet, it’s a fine choice with Vietnamese food.

• Hugel Gewürztraminer 1997 ($17). Try this slightly dry Alsatian wine with pasta with herbs and vegetables.

• Dr. Thanisch Riesling Kabinett 1997 ($27). An excellent example of a top-notch German riesling that is much drier that the usual sort of sweet rieslings Americans are used to. Goes well with roast turkey or chicken.


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