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RIESLINGS

September 10, 2001 • Upstairs Downtown

We sampled a fair representation of appellations, with all wines falling into the dry to off-dry style range. The most important and valid lesson to be learned from these wine reviews is that, regardless of the appellation or brand, drink those Rieslings young! Perfect storage or cellar conditions may help to preserve them, but if you're selecting from a store shelf, pick fresh: within a year or two of the vintage! For appropriate accompaniment, Roy conjured up a braised pork shoulder stew with rice vinegar, pears, Russian fingerling potatoes, baby carrots, cabbage, onions and Moroccan seasonings that was terrific and effectively rescued some wines that were teetering on the brink of the dump bucket.

Wines are judged Equal Within Categories of Recommendation and listed Alphabetically by Brand
Brand
Vintage Varietal or "Name"
Appellation, Vineyard
TASTING NOTES: Color; aroma; flavor; body;
balance; finish, alcohol %. Summary. ($ paid)

KEY: consensus (flaws?)

VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Eroica Riesling.Eroica
2000 Riesling
Columbia Valley, WA

Pale yellow; very fragrant with slate, mineral and sweet, fruity, green apple, pear, peach, lychee and very floral, honeysuckle aromas; clean, elegant, very light apple fruit flavors; light body with a lively touch of spritz; rich, good balance; pleasant, crisp finish, 12%. Very clean, refreshing, completely appealing and easy to drink, although a little atypical and a little pricey. ($19) Produced as a joint venture between Washington's Ch. St. Michelle & Dr. Loosen of Germany. WEBSITE

Greenwood Ridge Riesling.Greenwood Ridge
2000 Riesling
Estate Bottled, Mendocino Ridge

Very pale yellow; clean, bright, typical, sweet tropical, apricot, peach, candied fruit, floral and mineral aromas; off-dry, rich, big, mouth-filling apricot, pineapple, peach and mineral flavors; medium body, lively, faint effervescence; good balance; quite a clean, long finish, 12.5%. This winery consistently makes exemplary and enjoyable Riesling that fairly shouts California and ripeness. ($11.50) WEBSITE

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Ch Benoit Riesling.Ch. Benoit
2000 Riesling
Willamette Valley, OR

Very pale green; faint aroma suggests pears, peaches, Granny Smith apples, citrus, grapefruit, bubble gum or gum drops, sealing wax and minerals, unfortunately with also some rotten egg (blows off in 4-6 minutes); nice, simple flavors, fruity, green apple, honey and citric; light body; good balance, slightly low acid; clean, dry finish, 10.5%. Once this wine airs out a little, there are some nice, albeit subtle aromas and flavors. ($10.50) WEBSITE

Ch St Jean Riesling.Ch. St. Jean
2000
Johannisberg
Riesling
Sonoma County

Pale green-yellow; clean, muted, fruity, pear, peach, green apple, pineapple, slightly floral, faintly honeyed, dried fruit or caramel aroma; clean, sappy, fresh, fruity pear and apricot flavors, slightly sweet; light body, faint spritz; tangy, very good balance; crisp, clean, grapefruity finish, 12.5%. Another winery with a consistent history of excellent and tasty Rieslings, although this vintage seems particularly delicate. ($10.50) WEBSITE

RECOMMENDED

Bonny Doon Pacific Rim Riesling.Bonny Doon
1999 "Pacific Rim" Riesling
California, Washington, Germany

Pale yellow; old, earthy, petrol, mineral and muted, very vague, delicate pear, nectarine, perfume and floral aromas; somewhat bland, quite dry flavors; lean, light body; well-structured, tart balance, faint bitterness; finish, 13%. We have liked this wine much better on previous occasions and from previous vintages; this one seems fatigued, bland, unfocused, losing its fruit stamina. The unique package still has amusement value; look for more recent vintages. ($8) BEST BUY WEBSITE

Hogue Riesling.Hogue
1999 Riesling
Columbia Valley,
WA

Pale yellow; clean, complex, steely, slate, fruity, citric, floral-green, lemon grass or geranium aromas; sweet peachy entry, dry with light, tight, simple, slightly minerally, petrol flavors; light to medium body; tart, good balance; slightly astringent, drying finish, 12.5%. Another light example of Riesling, but also fairly easy to quaff and a great bargain. ($6) BEST BUY WEBSITE

J Lohr Riesling.J. Lohr
1999 White
Riesling
Monterey,
Bay Mist

Pale yellow; clean, light, pleasantly fruity, pear, apple, apricot, peach and floral aromas with hints of honey and minerals; sweet flavors are bubble-gum, kool-aid, vaguely suggest apple or pear, but could frankly use more fruit; light body; sound balance, may be slightly low acid; turns slightly bitter in the not too lingering finish, 10.5%. Although this wine was reasonably pleasant, it was also not very vibrant and somewhat of a disappointment from this generally reliable producer. ($8) BEST BUY WEBSITE

TASTED

Dr Weins-Prüm Wehlener-Sonnenur.Dr. Weins-Prüm
1998 Riesling - Kabinett
Wehlener-Sonnenur, Mosel

Medium yellow-gold; smoky-musty, oak, petrol, mineral aromas over muted apricot fruit with a touch of vegetable and rotten egg; sweet, muted, wispy flavors; very light body, watery; austere, tart balance; sweet-tart, sticky finish, 8%. This wine may have been delicious a year or two year back but it's very delicate style is fading fast; saved on this occasion by the braised pork stew. ($14) *WEBSITE - in German

Dr von Bassermann-Jordan Riesling.Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan
1998 Riesling, Q.b.A.
Pfalz, Rhein

Medium green-gold; very light fruit, candy and flinty, minerally, petrol or sweaty aromas with faint matchstick (and possibly mercaptan?); dry, lean, somewhat steely, minerally flavors; good mouth feel with rich, slightly oily body; tart (sour?), well-balanced; long finish, 11.5%. This wine, in slightly better condition than the Mosel, was also greatly assisted by the stew. Controversial; those that ranked it high were offset by tasters that labeled this wine "unripe" and ranked it low; one of those love or hate wines. ($8) WEBSITE n/a

NOT RECOMMENDED

Fess Parker Riesling.Fess Parker
1999 White Riesling
Santa Barbara County

Medium yellow-gold; apricot, grapefruit, Botrytis, minerals, faint petrol or rubber in the somewhat grassy, musty, tanky aromas; weak, older, earthy, slightly oxidized flavors with mineral or metallic hints; light body with oily texture; flabby balance; apricot bitterness and slight heat in the finish, 12%. Although complex, this wine is tired, has seen better days and may have been stored too warm. Too bad, Fess (you're still our hero) ... ($12) WEBSITE


This Panel included Regulars Mark, Deanna, Glenn, Bob, Roy,Marlene, Jon, Jim, Betsy, Ron and James

Websites marked * are third-party information.


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