When I first started this wine blog, Through The Walla Walla Grape Vine, I decided I would only blog about wines from Walla Walla, WA and the very most I would stray would be other wines from Washington State. Because of my commitment, (or is that I need to be committed?) I do not participate a lot in Wine Blogging Wednesdays. Hell, it was all I could do to even host it one month, a year ago in June and that was due to the fact I hassled creator Lenn and our host, Tim for months threatening I would hold my breath until they recognized me and if I died from holding my breath, the coroner would find clutched in my hand their websites scrawled on old Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler labels. They finally gave in, but I was still left with the impression that they didn’t take me serious let alone that Walla Walla was serious about their wineries.
I have missed out on several Wine Blogging Wednesdays and this month’s theme is to blog about Old World Rieslings grown in Germany, Austria or Alsace and in a pinch, even Northern Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovenia will do. So with that kind of theme, it is apparent it is not meant for me to blog. Well, I decided to stretch the rules a bit. Okay, maybe I am cheating. But, I think I found a loop hole. How about if I blog about a Riesling that is made by an Old World German winemaker who treks to the New Wine World and produces the Riesling here in Walla Walla, WA? That’s close - - right?
This Riesling is so fabulous that it could even make Lenn of Lenndevours, the LIRA (Long Island Riesling Aficianado) salivate with envy. And I am talking about Poet’s Leap Riesling from Long Shadows Winery in Walla Walla. Last year Long Shadows was given the Winery of the Year title by Food & Wine Magazine.
Armin Diel, a winery partner of Long Shadows, is one of Germany’s most acclaimed Riesling producers. His family has owned the celebrated estate of Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen in the Nahe River Valley since 1802. Schlossgut Diel is internationally renowned for its white wines, predominately Rieslings. Now how Old World can you get? While made with fruit from some of the oldest vineyards in Washington State, these grapes are hand-harvested and whole cluster pressed with a small amount of the Riesling (3%) fermented in a tight grained, lightly toasted French oak cask (and these casks are an example of gorgeous craftsmanship). Diel, who uses the same tanks at Schlossgut Diel, introduced the technique to give the wine added brightness without imparting wood character. Remaining grapes are fermented at cool temps in stainless steel keeping the freshness and delicate aromas and flavors.
This year’s release, 2006 is crisp and fresh with aromas of pear, melon and honey. Just the right acidity with a hint of delicate sweetness (never cloying) gives a long lingering finish. It’s a great food wine and in fact, I enjoyed it last week at Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood, Oregon. I paired it with lobster stuffed flounder on top of creamy risotto. O-my-o-riesling-gasmic! And I shared this prized white with other peers from the wine industry who were eager to put down their glasses of reds to have a glass of this Riesling. The winery is sold out, but I know where you can buy some…
Hey Lenn and Tim, are you going to let me host again? Really – we really do make wines in Walla Walla, WA and this Riesling is proof!