American Riesling: 5 great bottles to try

Columnist June 27
Recommendations

★ ★ ★Exceptional  ★ ★Excellent ★Very Good

Availability information is based on distributor records. Wines might not be in stock at every listed store and might be available at additional stores. Check Winesearcher.com to verify availability, or ask a favorite wine store to order through a distributor.

Dave McIntyre is a wine columnist for The Washington Post. He also blogs at dmwineline.com. View Archive

These American Rieslings not only are good values but also show the grape’s versatility throughout the United States. Riesling fans should seek out the Eroica, from Chateau Ste. Michelle and Ernst Loosen, and Poet’s Leap, a similar Washington-Germany joint venture. Brooks, Chehalem and Trisateum are excellent Oregon producers.

— D.M.

Chateau Grand Traverse Whole Cluster Riesling 2012

★ ★ ★

Old Mission Peninsula, Mich., $18

Anyone who has spent time in Michigan knows the words “lake effect” are usually followed by “snow.” But on the Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Lake Michigan moderates the climate and allows cool-climate white-grape varieties such as Riesling and pinot blanc to thrive. Chateau Grand Traverse is the region’s leading producer. The Whole Cluster Riesling is slightly off-dry though definitely not sweet, showing excellent fruit and texture. Alcohol by volume: 11.9 percent.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Guilford Liquors; on the list at Oya, the Source by Wolfgang Puck. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring; on the list at American Tap Room in Rockville. Available in Virginia at Planet Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Little Washington Winery; on the list at Tallula in Arlington.

Sawtooth Riesling 2012

★ ★1/2

Snake River Valley, Idaho, $15

Idaho wine: Why not? Sawtooth’s wines are excellent, and its Riesling may be the shining star of the lot. ABV: 13 percent

Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Whole Foods Market (Foggy Bottom); on the list at Charlie Palmer Steak, Cities,  Sona Creamery & Wine Bar, RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria. Available in Maryland at Bradley Food & Beverage in Bethesda; Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring, Fine Wine of Wheaton, Frederick Wine House, Monterey Mart & Cafe in Rockville; on the list at a.k.a. Friscos and Firestone’s Culinary Tavern in Frederick, Cesco Osteria in Bethesda. Available in Virginia at Little Washington Winery, Unwined (Alexandria), Vienna Vintner, Whole Foods Market (Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Reston).

Casa Larga Dry Riesling 2012

★ ★

Finger Lakes, N.Y., $15

One of the best developments in the growth of eastern U.S. wines is the increasing availability of wines from the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. This region produces delicate, citrusy expressions of Riesling with great finesse. ABV: 11.5 percent.

Siema: Available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits, Glen’s Garden Market; on the list at Oya, Sax. Available in Maryland at Fenwick Beer & Wine in Silver Spring. Available in Virginia at Cork & Fork in Gainesville, Little Washington Winery, Swirl & Sip in Fairfax.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2012

★ ★

Columbia Valley, Wash., $11

When this was priced below $10, I considered it the best white wine value produced in the United States. Even with the price creeping up, it remains a terrific buy. Ernst Loosen’s work on the Eroica has resulted in improvements throughout the extensive Ste. Michelle line of Rieslings. ABV: 13 percent.

RNDC: Available in the District at 1 W Dupont Circle Wine & Liquors, Barmy Wines & Liquors, Circle Wine & Liquor, Giant (various locations), Harris Teeter (various locations), Rodman’s, Safeway (various locations), S&S Liquor; on the list at 1789, Acre 121, Le Diplomate.

Washington Hills Riesling 2012

★1/2

Washington state, $9

This is semi-dry, meaning it shows perceptible sweetness without being really “sweet.” It offers classic flavors of peach and apricot, with a soft texture. And it is an excellent value at under $10. ABV: 12 percent.

Washington Wholesale in the District: Available at Congressional Liquors; on the list at Bobby Van’s Steakhouse, Georgia Brown’s, Hitching Post, James Hoban’s Irish Restaurant & Bar, Masa 14.

Reliable Churchill in Maryland: Available at BK Miller Meats & Liquors in Clinton, Decanter Fine Wines in Columbia, Eastport Liquors and Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis, Fishpaws Marketplace in Arnold, Lyndwood Square Wine & Spirits in Elkridge.

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