Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chillin' with Woodward Canyon Riesling

We had a few days of heat last week, which was definitely a sign to toss in the wine cooler a few bottles of white wines for some impromptu sipping. 

I think the state of Washington is making some of the finest domestic rieslings around. Riesling, an original wine grape from the Rhine region of Germany, was planted in Washington State as early as the late 1870's.  As we "rediscovered" wine in Washington State in the 1970's and 80's, we rather situated riesling as our grape to stake our wine production on. In the mean time merlot had another idea ...

Riesling wine is coming back and we are loving it! It is aromatic and showing off crisp acidity. Washington State even has prestigious German winemakers (Dr. Loosen and Armand Diehl) producing Germanic-style wines produced with Washington grapes.  

A riesling you will definitely need to keep on hand this summer is from Woodward Canyon. Rick Small, winemaker and chef of Woodward Canyon, has been producing wines since the mid-1970's when he first began planting vines on his family wheat farm. While Rick is known for his hearty world class merlots and cabernets, when he produces a white wine, they do not collect dust on the winery shelves. If you want them, don't lolly-gag around. Grab them and grab them - - now!  

In April I visited Woodward Canyon and had the opportunity to taste their newest release of  their Non-Vintage Riesling. It is not the traditional dry riesling that Woodward Canyon is known for producing (anticipate and wait patiently for the release of their 2012 bottling). The Non-Vintage from the Columbia Valley is still very much a dry riesling, except with the aromatic qualities it shows off like that of a late harvest style. 

The flavors of this white wine were plucked right from the orchard reminding me of crunchy sweet-tart apples and aromatic pears. The high, yet balanced, acidity makes for perfect summer sippin' and especially a great wine for pairing with foods. I recommend a chicken-bacon-artichoke-spinach topped pizza with a garlicky white sauce (speaking of which: did you know Rick makes and bakes his own pizza on an outdoor pizza oven on the winery grounds?), seafood salads, spicy Thai foods, and rich and gooey macaroni and cheese.  

Rich says the Woodward Canyon Non-Vintage Riesling reminds him of a concentrated Alsatian dry riesling. So one can always set the table with plenty of traditional foods from Alsace to pair with. Sauerkraut, anyone?

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