This past weekend I played educator for a wine tasting that one of my friends threw for her mother’s 60th birthday. Her mom is a lover of the sweeter wines, so I grabbed a Riesling and a Late Harvest Riesling for them to try. When I got permission to throw in a few dry wines for those of us present who aren’t hugely into the sweet stuff, I tossed a bottle of this into the case so that
I could terrify people all present could experience just how versatile a grape Riesling is. (This is my second-favorite dry Riesling. My first favorite is the Peter Lehmann. LOVE IT, people, LOVE THAT WINE.)
Yes, I know the picture makes it difficult to see the bottle. If you’d like to try this, hit the American Riesling section of your local wine store, find the Pacific Rim, and go for the red label. You know, the one that says “Dry” on it. I put this picture up for the wine color rather than the label on the bottle – the wine is a really nice, saturated straw color.
Region: Columbia Valley, WA
Grapes involved: Riesling
Food pairings: this could be fantastic with some goat cheese or other creamy cheese. Also fish, chicken, pesto, that sort of thing.
Ratings: 88 – Wine Spectator
This is an “I’d like a perfume of this” nose of pineapple, honey, jasmine, apricot, mineral*, peach and passionfruit. The honey note makes it smell like it’s going to be a sweeter wine than it is. Don’t be fooled – there’s a honey scent, but this is emphatically NOT a sweet wine.
In this mouth, this is mineral, tropical fruits - mostly pineapple, passionfruit and a touch of guava - white florals - mostly jasmine, but throw in a bit of honeysuckle and paperwhite as well – as well as hints of apple and lime. Excellent mouthfeel – it’s an odd-but-lovely combination of the sort of sharpness that comes with a fairly high acid level in combination with heavy minerality, put together with a creaminess that tends to come with Pinot Blancs.
This is a good wine, and one that’s flipping fantastic for the price. It’s also a really interesting wine to try if you’ve only every had off-dry to sweeter Rieslings – it’ll give you a sense of everything the grape can actually do without costing you a small fortune.
*I read a complaint somewhere that “mineral” is a meaningless term, especially for scent, because minerals don’t smell like anything, and it’s doubtful that the wine snobs of the world have all gone running around licking rocks to make sure they know what the taste is. The upshot of the complaint was that “mineral” as a term should be dropped. I disagree wholeheartedly. Rocks have a distinct scent that comes out when they’re wet – the same way that concrete has a distinct smell when it’s been rained on. That scent, and the taste equivalent of that scent, are what I mean when I say anything about minerals. That said, I LOVE RAIN, so I love pretty much anything that goes along with rain. Heavy minerality is the type of thing in a wine that makes me stupid happy.