After an incredible morning at Spring Valley Vineyard we boarded the Born To Run bus & headed back towards Walla Walla. The landscape is beautiful, stark & desolate but beautiful.
We returned to our second day homebase, The Marcus Whitman Hotel, for a comparative tasting of rieslings from Washington & other areas of the world.
Master Sommelier Shayn Bjornholm, Director of Education for WA Wine Commission, was our moderator. The panel consisted of Nicolas Quille, winemaker for Pacific Rim; Jim McFerran, of Milbrandt Vineyards; & Michael McNeil, MS from Georgia's Quality Wine & Spirits. The first three wines we sampled un-blind were all from Washington, while the final 6 were blind & were from Austria, Washington, Australia & Germany. We were tasting for Washington's typicity, or trying to discern one, in comparison to the other regions. I actually wrote myself a note immediately after this tasting to "explore rieslings more".
Tasting Notes (sorry Sam...just kidding):
#1 2008 Milbrandt Vyds "Traditions" Columbia Valley. Nose of lemon-lime, jasmine & persimmon. The wine was bright on the palate with an off dry sweetness, full on acidity, zippy, lemon-lime & a luscious lovely finish
#2 2008 Pacific Rim Organic Columbia Valley. Notes of flowers, rubber & white peach. The acid was very light & even though it wasn't a very sweet wine it seemed so because of the lack of acidity.
#3 2008 Apex Cellars Columbia Valley. Nose of petrol, pine resin, lemon jam. The palate was zippy, zingy, bright with notes of ginger, white peach, orange & a deliciously long & luscious finish.
The rest were tasted blind
#4 It had aromas of smoke, rubber, preserved lemon & a slatey/rocky thing going on. The palate had noticeably high alcohol that was out of balance for sure. It was bone dry & had an insignificant finish. I guessed Australia. It was revealed to be Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling 2006.
#5 A hint of barnyard & creamy citrus with very light acid & a soft orange flavor on the finish. I guessed Rheingau...waaaaay off. It was Owen Sullivan Champoux Vineyard 2007. Hmmm. Interesting.
#6 Notes of citrus blossom, jasmine & lemon peel. There was a bright, vivacious acid with a wet rock/slate texture. It was mouthwatering & delicious. I hypothesized that it was from Austria. Wrong again...Washington! Efeste Evergreen Vineyard 2008.
#7 Aromas of rubber & oyster shell with hints of slate. Definitely the sweetest so far with a supple, luscious finish. I guessed Germany. This was the Selbach Oster 2008 Mosel.
#8 Notes of dried orange peel, clove studded pork & lime curd. The palate was completely dry with a full on acidity, a smoky note & a limestone finish. I guessed Austria...wrong again. Domaine Weinbach 2006 Alsace.
#9 Floral aromas with a creamy/marshmallow thing going on. The palate is vibrantly bright with luscious acid, lime notes & a mouthwatering finish. I really just couldn't gauge this one. Kung Fu Girl Evergreen Vineyard 2008. Very surprising.
What to Cook: Crushed Tomatoes - When tragedy befalls your garden, move forward: Start with some spaghetti carbonara, and move into other comforts.
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