We've officially transitioned into summer (although you wouldn't necessarily know it by the weather in the Valley today, but we all know summer starts on July 5th anyway), and what would summer be without Riesling? It's an extremely versatile white, running the gamut from bone-dry to syrupy sweet and can always be kept in balance due to its naturally high, tongue-searing acidity (which is generally why Rieslings have at least a little residual sugar: to balance the acidity).
This acidity also gives Riesling incredible longevity; for successful aging potential, wine requires at least one of three components: acidity, tannin, sugar content. Red wines have tannin from skin and oak contact and good acidity, and while Riesling rarely sees time in barrels, the incredibly high acidity and sugar more than compensate. So, what happens when a Riesling has a few years under its belt?
We turn to our wine of the day, a 1998 White Riesling. This was made in an off-dry style with about two percent residual sugar, making it a perfect accompaniment to spicier fare on its initial release. While young Riesling has a characteristic crispness and very fruit-forward notes, this amber-colored older-vintage has aromatics of honey, dried apricot, Portobello mushroom, and the signature whiff of petroleum that older Rieslings develop. A light floral note and roasted hazelnuts round out the palate, and the bright acidity still remains.
The White Riesling was an early incarnation of our Almost Dry Riesling, and our current release, the 2012, is at a great point in its life right now, still retaining flavors of crisp nectarine, orange zest, and jasmine but just starting to develop the slightest note of petrol. Cheers to another Summer of Riesling!