Winewaves & more - Click here to return to home page

Winewaves & more - Click here to return to home page

About wine, beer, spirits, & more.

Tools, news & reviews.
by Jerry Hall.
Winewaves on Facebook. Winewaves on Twitter. Winewaves & more on Instagram. Clos Denim website.

Riesling's range.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling range vintage 2014 photographed by Jerry Hall on Winewaves & More.
  • Cheers to Chateau Ste. Michelle for making this tasting so easy, affordable and excellent. Ever since I learned to decipher a German (Riesling) wine label, the range of styles of this grape has made me a fan. A good Riesling is vibrant, even late harvest sweet versions, not to mention highly aromatic. All three of these true to variety, and together they show the range of Washington state Riesling from dry to sweet.
  • The sweetness level is achieved by vineyard selection and fermentation. Higher residual sweetness is achieved by selecting grapes higher in sugar (warmer vineyards) and stopping fermentation early. Drier versions can be achieved by selecting grapes from cooler vineyards where sugar levels are lower and taking fermentation to near completion.
  • Each of these bottles tasted are from the 2014 vintage, Columbia Valley. They each have about the same appearance in the glass, bright pale straw. All have real cork closures, and the same local price/750 ml: 11.
  • Dry displays aromas of peach, lime, and mineral, leading to a racy, tart citrus rind palate and minerally finish. Residual sugar: 0.84 g/100 ml. 12.5% ABV.
  • Regular (middle) displays aromas of honey and flowers overlaying peach and lime, leading to a juicy peachy palate with good balancing acidity in the refreshing lightly sweet finish. This is the most aromatic of the three. Residual sugar: 1.95 g/100 ml. 12% ABV.
  • Sweet (Harvest Select) displays aromas of spice, honey, apricot and lime, with a lush sweet palate of honey and peaches balanced with acidity in the reverberating sweet finish. Residual sugar: 4.2 g/100 ml. 11% ABV.
  • For this tasting, this vintage, I would give a slightly higher rating to the regular (mid) version, owing to its highly charged aromatics and all-around crowd-pleasing balance of sweet and tart. The best recommendation is to keep the three around for everyday impromptu tasting.
  • Riesling is perfect for sipping without food, but also shines with food. The sweeter versions are great for pairing with spicy hot foods, when most other dry wines fail. The tart citrus notes also work well with fried foods, starters, and seafood dishes. Sweet Riesling is even a great match for Nashville hot chicken.
  • What if you're not sure about how sweet a Riesling wine might be, if the residual sugar level is not listed on the label? One way to make an educated guess is to look at the alcohol content. A lower alcohol percentage usually indicates the residual sugar level is higher, as fermentation may have been stopped earlier. Of course, if the label states "late harvest", it's sweet. Late harvest wines may have both higher alcohol level and residual sweetness if the grapes were allowed to shrivel and become more concentrated in sugar before picking.