Feature

Washington’s world-class Rieslings

In the U.S., the best Riesling comes from the Columbia Valley in Washington state.

Riesling is a remarkably versatile grape, said Eric Asimov in The New York Times. Depending on growing conditions and a winemaker’s skill, Riesling can be delicate or bold, “bone-dry or syrupy sweet.” Most Riesling still originates from its native soil in Germany and Alsace, France. But recently it “seems Riesling is being grown everywhere”: Austria, Italy, Australia, South Africa, and “let’s not neglect the good old U.S. of A.” The best stateside wines, we found, all came from the Columbia Valley in Washington state.

Columbia Valley Eroica 2007 ($20)Product of a collaboration between Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle and German winemaker Ernst Loosen, this dry wine has tangy “peach and ginger flavors.”

Hogue Columbia Valley 2007 ($9)“Crisp, balanced, and fresh,” this dry, well-executed wine tastes of flowers and peaches. “Best value.”

Kung Fu Girl 2008 ($13)From Columbia Valley winemaker Charles Smith. “Fresh, juicy, and exuberant, though perhaps without the refinement of the Eroica and the balance of the Hogue.”

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