Spring is almost here and we’re getting a jump on it with the release of the perfect springtime wine: our 2017 Riesling.
When we began planting vineyards almost 50 years ago, we knew that one varietal would be Riesling. We thought then, as we think now, that Riesling is one of the great wine varietals of the world. Our volcanic soil, our fog shrouded micro-climate at 1,800 feet elevation, along with our steep mountain slopes and our absolute commitment to this varietal are what allow us to produce wonderful wines consistently year after year. And might I also say that to occasionally use the word “great” wouldn’t be misplaced.
We believe that Riesling is unique because the finished wine is the purest expression of the grape itself in all of “grapedom.” Consider that with Chardonnay we ferment and age in French oak barrels, we then stir the lees (sediment) for several months and the wine goes through a secondary malolactic fermentation. With red wines, we may blend in small amounts of other varietals, also age in French oak barrels and have the wine undergo a malolactic fermentation, all to make the wine more complex and enjoyable.
But not so with Riesling. The harvested grapes go directly through the stemmer/crusher, are then settled, fermented in stainless steel tanks and bottled out of those stainless tanks. It’s 100% Riesling, there’s no oak aging, no malolactic fermentation or lees stirring. It’s a straight line, direct from the vine to the crusher, to the fermentation tank to the bottling line to a spectacularly beautiful, and may I say, great wine.
Up to the 1983 vintage we labeled our Riesling as “Johannisberg Riesling.” With that vintage we petitioned the BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Alcohol) to change the label and allow us to use just the word “Riesling.” This is the name known and accepted throughout the world, but not in the U.S. They said no, that if we didn’t want to use “Johannisberg Riesling” we could use the other permitted name of “White Riesling.” We let them know that both names were wrong and should be unacceptable for use. Johannisberg is a several hundred-year-old winery in Germany and that is their name and should be unacceptable for our use. White Riesling is also unacceptable because there are no “Red Riesling” grapes in the world and thus it is redundant and more importantly, it is not the accepted name of the varietal around the world. After a six-month battle, we won. They approved our label to use just the word “Riesling” and we were the only winery in America for the next 15 years that labeled the varietal by its true name. Some years later the BATF did a 180 degree turn and outlawed the term “Johannisberg Riesling” but they still allow the incorrect term “White Riesling,” which in our opinion is still wrong.
The accolades for our Riesling seem to flow continuously, like a mighty river. We proudly display them on our website. In particular, we are very proud of our Riesling being named the best Riesling in North America by Riesling expert and wine writer Stuart Pigott in his 2014 book Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story.
A deep dive into Riesling:
A Six Bottle Vertical Collection: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019. All in 750 ml bottles.
Spring Whites Case
Our three most popular wines:2017 Riesling, 2017 Chardonnay and 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, all in 750 ml bottles.
Our “Spring Whites” package, 6 bottles each 2017 Riesling and 2017 Chardonnay. All in 750 ml.
With Covid still bedeviling us, we are continuing to offer $1 shipping for all orders, as our gesture of thanks for your business.
Stu, Charlie, and Sam