Tag Archive | "riesling"

Review: 2011 Kennedy Shaw Riesling

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: www.thewoodhousewineestates.com

For winemaker, Jean Claude Beck, making old-world style wine is in his DNA. Born in the Alsace region of France, Jean’s obvious influence of the area he grew up in comes to life in this Riesling.

Easily, one of the best, if not the best Riesling’s I’ve had from Washington State in a long time. It has all the complexity one looks for in this varietal, is very “fresh” on the palate and lingers with a finish that hangs out for weeks.

Review: 2011 Kennedy Shaw Riesling

Technical Data:

  • Variety: 100% Riesling
  • Alcohol: 13.9%
  • AVA: Yakima Valley
  • Vineyard: Dubrul Vineyard – Old Block
  • Price: $25

On the nose: Pear, green apples, petrol, river rock, white peach and ginger blossom.

On the palate: One of the “cleanest” new-world Rieslings I’ve had. It’s bone dry and exhibits so much of the qualities which are reminisce of wines from Alsace. It has that very appealing mixture of petrol, stone fruit, minerality and green apple core which make it a true delight. There’s also a hint of ginger on the finish. If you want a best-of-class Riesling from the New World, look no further.

W.E.P. Rating: 125%

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2009 Saint Laurent Riesling

Hailing from the greater Wenatchee Washington area, Saint Laurent winery makes a big deal of owning its own fruit which in this day and age can be a good thing. While it’s clearly not a guarantee of great wine it can help and it certainly hasn’t hurt the flavor of the 2009 Riesling.

Its winemaker, Craig, has a good pedigree and has worked with some of the better winemakers in Washington State, including the infamous Charlie Hoppes.

Technical Data:

  • Estate Vineyards Riesling, from Malaga Vineyards
  • R. S. 2.4%
  • Alcohol 11.7
  • Bottled March2010
  • Cases 400
  • Price: $12

Nose: Stone fruit – peaches, apples and a hint of pear that I pick up right off the bat. I’m also getting some nice minerality and a bit of ivory soap.

Taste: Apricots, green apples and bosch pears flood the initial attack with a nice group of back-up singers in the form of peach-skins, blue-stone and something tastes like Tide laundry detergent smells. Good crisp finish that brings out some good acidity and structure – would be an easy pairing with seafood ceviche, scallops or even some lightly-spiced thai-foods and sushi.

A solid effort for $12 and frankly one that should be a no-brainer, go-to everyday Riesling.

W.E.P. Rating: 110%

On the web: www.saintlaurent.net

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2008 Plantagenet Riesling

Plantegenet Wines is located in the “Great Southern” region of Australia – where an English migrant named Tony Smith bought some land and planted grapes. He started off with Cab Sauv and Shiraz – later planting Riesling. While I know many folks don’t think about Australia for great Riesling, I can tell you that after my time with this bottle- I’m a believer.

Technical Details

  • Alcohol: 11.7%v/v
  • Total Acidity: 7.3 g/L
  • pH: 3.05
  • Residual sugar: 1.1 g/L
  • Brix at harvest: between 19-21.4
  • Price: $22

Nose: Green apples, tons of minerals – I’m getting some river-rock action, copper, and steel. I also get a nice touch of grapefruit as well.

Taste: Right off the bat, you could swear this wine was made in Alsace – the dry, mineral-driven aspects of this wine can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. It has a super-clean, palate-cleansing acidity that I’m willing to commit adultery with. The finish layers on tons of minerals, granny smith apples, grapefruit, kiwi and some hints of rhubarb. This is a kick-ass wine and one that really needs to be saught out by dry riesling lovers everywhere.

W.E.P. Rating: 120%

On the web: www.plantagenetwines.com

Posted in Australia Wines, Reviews, RieslingComments (0)

A pair of affordable Alsace Rieslings

All to many “New World” wine drinkers have never heard of the gorgeous Alsace region of France which started making world-class wines long before the United States was even a pipe-dream. To this day, it still offers up some of the more interesting white wines you’ll find anywhere in the world. If you like lots of minerality, good fruit and ultra-food-friendly wines than you’ll definitely want to seek out wines from this region.

For those not too familliar with this region, here’s a map of where it lies within France – you can click on the map to see a close-up of the Alsace regions.

We got theses wines in awhile ago because we felt that each one presents not only an affordably way to check out Alsace but also have a long history of doing so. 

2006 Trimbach Riesling: W.E.P. Rating:  85%

Technical Data:

  • Alcohol by Volume : 13.25 %
  • Residual sugar: 0.9 g./l
  • Total acidity in tartaric acid: 7,6 g./l
  • Price: $18

Nose: Lemons, steel wool, hints of grapefruit, kiwi and stone.

Taste: Cut open a meyer’s lemon and add a touch of ricola, limestone, river-rock and grapefruit – that’s what’s going on in this wine to me. It has very sharp acidity which means it’ll play nice with a number of food possibilities. 

Click to Enlarge

2006 Hugel Riesling: W.E.P. Rating: 70%

Technical Data:

  • Grape type: 100% Riesling
  • Alcohol: 12.5%
  • Price: $18

Nose: Steel-laced river-rocks, lemon peel, limestone and some grass.

Taste: Wheatgrass, steelies rolling around on the tongue with a good amount of musk, grapefruit and lemon zest. A very short finish which almost seems to evaporate off the tongue – way too short.

Conclusion:
As always, don’t listen to me or my opinion without first trying these wines yourself – it’s my goal to get everyone excited about trying wines from all over the world – so please seek these out so you can make up your own mind.

Posted in Alsace, French Wines, ReviewsComments (2)

2006 Poet’s Leap Riesling

Winery Link

Riesling has been said to be the “most food-friendly” grape available – its diversity is nothing short of incredible and it’s one of the “gateway” grapes to help folks come into the wine-world fold of things.

Over the past few years, however, this kick-ass grape started getting a bad reputation on this side of the Atlantic due to the fact we had so many wineries making “sugar-bombs” out of them. Those over-sweet efforts did nothing to truly showcase how wonderful this grape is and can be.

Thankfully, we’ve had quite a number of winemakers in this state who’ve started making rieslings in more dry fashion which has really whipped up the hype around it because it’s so much more food-ready now.

Technical Notes:

  • Residual Sugar: 1.28g/100ml
  • Alcohol: 12.9%
  • pH: 3.06
  • TA: 0.73 grams/100ml
  • Release date: Summer 2008
  • Production: 1,904 cases
  • Vineyards: 32% Yakima Valley Vineyards, 32% “Old Vine” from Dionysus Vineyard, 19% Sonnet (Horse Heaven Hills) and 17% Weinbau Vineyard (Wahluke Slope)
  • Price: $20

Nose: Orange cream-sicle combined with nice gorgeous floral components and some Fresh-Step cat litter – I also get a hint of chalk dust, peach skin and honeydew. There’s some good amount of flintiness going on which I really dig as well.

Taste: Outrageous silkily mouth feel – creamy and chalky at the same time. There’s an excellent balance of minerals, spice and fruit here. Apricot-laced marshmallows with nectarines. Excellent finish which wraps around your tongue and bosses it around for hours. Great complexity here with tons of depth.

Overall Summary:
There’s no doubt that this is one of the more exceptional rieslings I’ve had and the folks at Poet’s Leap should be glad to know they’ve done very well on this wine. Its winemaker, Armin Diel, had his German heritage really shine through on this wine – he did a brilliant job of combining that good German-quality while bringing out the best in what Washington State has to offer in its riesling. Kudos to him and his team – I’d easily hit this wine again in a heartbeat.

Foods I’d Hit it with:
Shellfish
Curry-based Pasta’s
Thai Food
Blackened Trout
Pan-seared Seabass
Bratwurst

-duane pemberton

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 120%

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Riesling Duel – Milbrandt vs. Pacific Rim

I’m not sure if it’s quite yet achieved cult-like status, but there’s little doubting riesling’s recent come-back as a serious white-grape contender for your dollars. I’m personally glad to see wineries making good, dry stuff and forgoing the ultra-cheap-tasting, over-the-top-sugar crap we see all to often in your local grocery store.

Mildbrandt Vineyards 2006 Traditions Riesling
Mildbrandt Vineyards, based in Mattawa Washington, is owned and operated by Butch Milbrandt and he’s done a great deal for the industry at large up here by selling his fine grapes to many other wineries in the region and being an overall good guy for us to have in our backyard.

He hired former Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker, Gordon Hill to come make wines under the Milbrandt label and they’ve enjoyed a pretty good success rate so far. Milbrandt prides itself on offering excellent quality juice for fair prices.

Smell: A bit awkward, very one-dimensional for me – there are very slight hints of grapefruit, melon rine and spice – but you really have to get yer nose into it bigtime to pick anything out of it.

Taste: orange peel, granny smith apple, pineapple, very high acidity which leaves your tongue in shambles after it’s done. I appreciate the bite in my whites, but this one is beyond the pale.

Milbrant Riesling impressions: At the $11 price I paid, i’d give this wine a pass as there are far to many other wines in its same pricerange which I think are more appealing.

Pacific Rim 2006 Dry Riesling:
This is a winery which has been spread all over the west coast – in fact this wine was originally bottled in Santa Cruz CA (Hippie-town-USA). Since that time, the business side of Pacific Rim has undergone some changes but its unadulterated love and passion for riesling still remains faithful.

I sampled this wine at the Taste (the 2007 version) and really appreciated the approach Nicolas (their winemaker) takes. He uses 80% fruit from Washington State and 20% from Mosel in Germany. The final product is one that does an admirable job of blending old and new-world elements.

Nose: Fresh apricots, pineapple, green apple, hint of orange peel, sour lemon drop candy
– whip cream.

Taste: Good fruit, great acidity which cuts thru like a razor blade… good, lingering finish.. Granny smith apple peel..

Pacific Rim impressions: This is a wine which has stayed pure to the essence of the fruit – no oak here folks – and in doing so represents a tremendous wine value which will shove all sorts of bright fruits up into your palate. I enjoy it and for $11, I’d hit it all day long. If you gave me this wine on a sunny day with a plate of either raw oysters or oysters rockefeller – it’d be pure bliss.

Conclusion:
At the two identical price-points, there’s absolutely no reason for me to look at the Milbrandt – it’s very disjointed and simply lacks the backbone and complexity of the Pacific Rim effort. Great job Nicolas, you and your team have put together an excellent bottle of vino for under the $12 price barrier.

Foods to go with these wines:
– Raw oysters
– Clam linguini with a lemon-caper cream-sauce
– Fresh trout roasted with fresh dill and lemon
– Shrimp cocktail

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