Tag Archives: riesling

Wine Blogging Wednesday #12 — Drink Local — 2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling (Alright, so it’s not the best picture in the world. I’ve got an excuse…it’s my birthday.)

I was very pleased with Lenn’s choice for this months Wine Blogging Wednesday was announced. The theme of “Buying local” was a new take on WBW. Sure, it is a politically correct and even politically relevant theme, but I have to admit that these weren’t the first two reasons that popped into my head rationalizing my joy. Nope, my motivations were far more selfish. You see, there’s a rather popular winery not two miles from my place of work.

Anyone ever hear of Chateau Ste. Michelle? This month was going to be a breeze. So much for my selfless motivations.

I did splurge a bit on the wine, going for the more austere Eroica Riesling. This wine is a collaboration between Washington’s most famous winery and Ernst Loosen of Germany. It’s a label they’re quite proud of and it scored a 91 in Wine Spectator. The question was, would I like it?

Eyes: The color is that of a soft pear, light gold with only a slight tint of green. The rim is solid and holds itself quite well up against the glass. Giving the glass a light twirl reveals a thin syrup, but one that holds the glass.

Nose: Peaches fresh from the farm, a little unripe. One of the better aromas I’ve gotten from a riesling.

Taste: Tart but sweetm it starts off fruity, like a sweet lemon or tart peach, but ends in a slightly burnt sugar taste. The taste finishes quite nicely, but leaves an after taste which is a tad overwhelming, like a lemon rind taste that won’t go away.

Overall: I liked it. Not the best Riesling I’ve had, but then I tend towards the sweeter. Had the aftertaste been a little better, I would have liked this more. On my scale of 1-3, I’d give it a three, buying it but only if my other reisling favs weren’t in.

2001 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Auslese

2001 Erdener Treppchen Riesling AusleseOnce again, I have the fine opportunity to indulge myself in a Riesling. I tell ya’ doing these tasting notes is a tough business.

We’re on the second bottle of our Riesling experience, and I have to say I’m a happily surprised. Well, I probably shouldn’t be, as there were some items on the wine label that let me know that this wine had some potential…Auslese, for example, is a good sign for me, as I like my Rieslings a tad sweet. Auslese generally indicates more attention had been paid attention to the grape, having been picked at the peak of ripeness, or at least we hope. Same could be said for the “Qualitätswein mit Prädikat”, which of course goes to follow, as a German wine can only be deemed “Auslese” if it is “Qualitätswein mit Prädikat”. Okay, that may not make any sense…read this for more on these titles.

Eyes:Golden yellow with a distinct tint of green. It has a soft rim, meaning it’s nearly translucent where the wine meets the glass. Giving the wine a quick twirl shows a thinner Riesling from what I’m used to. Walls of the wine hold the wall of the glass, but they very quickly dissipate, with thick…well I hesitate to call them “legs”. On sight it looks to be a sweet but thin wine.

Nose:Okay, I know this is going to sound peculiar, but the wine smelled musty and has a bit of a cat-pee aroma. I’ve read that a “cat-pee” aroma can mean either good or bad.

Taste: Very good. Sweet, a little like pineapples, but also a little drier than what I’ve had in other Rieslings. It holds the tongue fairly well, and trails off quickly but nicely.

Overall? The aroma is admittedly off putting, but it tastes wonderful. Not the best Riesling I’ve ever had, but I wouldn’t pour it down the sink.

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling

2004 Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling One of the benefits of living in Washington State is a wine industry that is no longer burgeoning, but can now be said to be well established. But back in the day, Chauteau Ste Michelle was one of only a handful of wineries in the area.

Bah, but that was the past. It’s simply nice to have a winery that’s literally 2 miles from my work place. It’s even nicer that they’re so well respected in the industry.

I picked up their 2004 Riesling, a wine that has been lauded by Restaurant Wine and Smart Money. I won’t say I was surprised, because I’ve heard good things about this wine, and this wine didn’t disappoint.

About this wine…as mentioned in the comments by Alice this Riesling used to be called Johannisberg Riesling, after the German city of Johannisberg. However, for wines made outside of Johannisberg, Germany, it is not a true varietal designation and no longer considered an appropriate term for Riesling according to federal alcohol regulations.

Eyes:A nice pear color, a soft yellow with just a tinge of green. It’s rim is nearly solid, meaning the color sits right up against the glass, lacking the translucence I’m used to other Rieslings. There are good, strong, thick legs, indicating a fair amount of sweetness, which is typical for a Riesling, at least in my experience.

Nose: A little musty, but melon as well.

Taste: A very nice grapefruit taste before it grabs lightly upon the tongue. It finishes nicely, decrescendo-ing into slight vanilla.

Overall: If you don’t know already, I’m biased towards Rieslings. But even knowing that, I did enjoy this wine very much. It a little less sweet than the Spatlese I had a few weeks ago, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s very fruity and quite delicious. A good wine that just happens to be in my own back yard.

Rieslings…nectar of the divine

In my never ending search to quench my thirst for information, I’ve decided to research several varietals of wine.

Why? Why not? It gives me a great excuse to drink and find out the characteristics of these wines. But where to start first? Why my wine of choise, rieslings of course!

Obviously I have a bias towards rieslings. But there’s a reason for this: It’s tempermental on where the grapes grow prefering the cooler regions of wine growing regions. When made correctly, it can be light and sweet…sort of like yours truly.

Okay, narcissism aside, there’s much to respect about rieslings. For one, they’ve been around for a long time, as far back as 1435 by some accounts. It originates in Germany’s Rhein and Mosel river valleys, and has a lineage almost 600 years old.

If ever there was an argument for terrior, riesling is it, taking on the taste of the minerals and soils from which the grapes are grown.

True Riesling wine is sometimes hard to identify because it is sold as both Johannisberg Riesling and White Riesling in North America. Gray Riesling, Emerald Riesling,Sylvaner Riesling, Franken Riesling, Monterey Riesling and even Sonoma Riesling should be considered different varietals. UPDATE: in the comments, Alice points out the following about how US rieslings are no longer being called Johannisberg Riesling:

Here’s the blurb from Chateau Ste. Michelle:
“Starting with this 2004 bottling, the term “Johannisbergˮ will no longer be used as a part of the varietal name of our Riesling. In the United States, Riesling has often been called Johannisberg Riesling, after the German city of Johannesburg, which is famous for Riesling. The term has also been used as an indicator of an off-dry style of Riesling. However, it is not a true varietal designation and no longer considered an appropriate designation according to federal alcohol regulations. The style of our popular Riesling will remain the same.”

So what should you be looking for in a riesling? Dry or sweet, a riesling should have a crispness about it, not being dragged down by alcohol. TypicalGerman rieslings run around 8% alcohol content, as opposed to the 13-14% found in typical wines, but the other two great wine regions for riesling, Alsace and Austria, do dryer styles (excluding the dessert wines), that have alcohol levels around 11-13.5%.

So what tastes should you look for in rieslings? They’re generally very fruity, and can have the subtle tastes of apples, peaches, apricots and melons. Some will also have floral undertones. The sweeter rieslings also have honey undercurrents as well.

Mmmm…Rieslings. I’m going to enjoy drinking this stuff.

WBW 4.0: New World Rieslings : 2003 Brooks Riesling

You have no idea on how happy I was when I found out that the latest Wine Blogging Wednesdays had to do with rieslings. It was through rieslings that I developed a palate for wines. I have to confess that I pretty much stayed with German rieslings, as they tended to be a bit sweeter and tastier (in my opinion) then some of the other domestics. But I didn’t truly explore.

Make no doubt about it, rieslings are a sweet wine, and they were often used as a sweet wine prior to the White Zinfindels. And they are the quintessential Rhine river valley wine.

The New World Riesling I chose came from only 100 miles from where I live. Brooks winery, located in the Wilamette valley in Oregon is a new winery started by Jimi Brooks. Along with Mo Momtazi they have cultivated the land well enough to get an 88 rating from the Parker Wine Advocated on their 2003 Riesling. Sadly Jimi passed away recently at the age of 38.

The wine is wonderful, tasting of peaches, but yet having a soft bite at the end. It’s less sweet than the German rieslings I have had and far more complex. It finishes quite nicely.

To be honest, I rarely pair rieslings with foods, as I enjoy them alone. But tonight, I had shelled hazelnuts with raisins. I imagine that could go well with most sweet desserts.

I hope the Brooks winery continues after the tragedy of Jimi Brooks death. It would be proper tribute to the man who wanted to make the best wine he could.