WineSpeak USA readers have spoken! The wine selected for the second featured blind tasting was Riesling. Thanks to all of you who voted! I was excited but a bit nervous with this choice. I’m a Riesling fan–it’s refreshing, food-friendly, easily approachable, and a great gateway wine for new wine drinkers, but I find Rieslings and Sparkling Wines the most difficult to evaluate (Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir are much easier for me). Perhaps it’s the cool temperature at which they’re served or it could just be me! Regardless, it presented an exciting challenge.
I sent my wife to a local wine shop to secure three Rieslings–one each from California, Colorado, and Washington. To add a little twist, I decided to throw another selection into the mix, the Chateau Ste. Michelle/Dr. Loosen Eroica Riesling 2010 that I had in my “cellar”. I did not know the identity of the other three Rieslings.
The setup for this tasting was easy. I placed four glasses on the table, with a number (1-4) under each. I left the room and my wife randomly numbered the bottles (again 1-4) and poured the bottle into the glass with the corresponding number. Once this process was finished, I re-entered the room. Tasting time!!
The Eye Test
Wine 1 was straw-colored and had the deepest shade of all the wines. Wine 2 was the lightest in color, with a tinge of green. Wines 3 and 4 were nearly identical in color, slightly deeper than Wine 2 but noticeably lighter than Wine 1.
The Sniff Test
Wine 1 was dominated by a honey aroma, with lesser aromas of kerosene and rubber. Wine 2 had the greenest notes of the bunch, with aromas of tart green apple (Granny Smith) and wet stone. Wine 3 featured aromas of ripe pear and honeysuckle. Wine 4 was the least aromatic of the group, with subtle floral notes and fresh lime.
The Taste Test
Wine 1 was very sweet. A fuller-bodied Riesling, the honey aroma on the nose was dominating in the mouth as well. Wine 2 had a bit of sweetness, with tart fruit flavors and nice acidity. Wine 3 had slightly rich flavors, was well-balanced, and had nice acidity. Wine 4 was the biggest surprise. Despite the subtle aromas, this wine exploded in the mouth, with a tartness and generous minerality finished off with a quick lightning zap of acidity.
Overall, I found Wines 2, 3, and 4 to be in the same quality “ballpark”. Wine 2 was the most aromatic, Wine 3 was delicious and harmonious, and Wine 4 was full of surprises. Wine 1 did not match the quality of the other three but was still very drinkable.
After the wines were tasted, the identities of the three mystery Rieslings were revealed. In no particular order, they were as follows: Beringer Founder’s Estate Riesling 2010, the Charles Smith Wines’ Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2010, and the Plum Creek Riesling 2008.
Curious which wine was which? The identity of each wine will be revealed in Thursday’s $20 Below post. Stay tuned!