Jeff’s Corner

To me, Riesling is the most delightful of all white grapes, simply because it can please us in so many ways. It can be bone dry or really sweet, but either way it dazzles us with balance. If I were a bee making perfume from honey, Riesling would be my prototype.

The grape dates back at least 500 years, and perhaps as many as 2000. Most likely it originated in the Rhine River Valley of southwestern Germany, and was documented in Alsace as “Rissling” in 1477.

The full name of the “true German” grape is Johannisberg Riesling, and we should know that there are many ”false Rieslings”. Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are the most common, but we also see wines labeled Franken Riesling, Sylvaner Riesling, Sonoma Riesling, and more. These are not the real thing.

The extremely elegant 2014 Grape Creek Riesling has had me drinking sweeter wines for the first time in 30 years, and the new 2015 will have me continue to do so. At 2.9% residual sugar (RS), the ’15 is a bit sweeter than the ’14 at 1.7%, and shows outstanding balance with a crisp backbone of acidity.

How much sugar is this? Well, 2.9 RS is 29 grams of sugar in a liter, or 21.75 g in a .750 ml bottle. This is not quite 5.5 g in a 6 oz glass, and to put this in perspective there are about 17.5 g in 6 oz of Coca Cola.

Jason and crew has done it again. Our 2015 Riesling shows delightfully intense aromas and flavors of peach, apricot, and green apple interlaced with subtle floral nuances of orange blossoms, rose petals, and carnations. A rich undercurrent of wild honey adds to its complexity.

Serving temperature is important for this wine to showcase its fantastic balance between fruit, sugar, and acid. Kathy and I feel it is best pretty cold, maybe between 40 and 45 degrees. Warmer than that, the sugar began to dominate the acid and the wine lost its crisp, clean finish.

Riesling has surged in popularity as of late, partly due to its affinity for a broad range of foods due to its high acidity. Try ours with some Brie or Boursin and some ripe Pecos cantaloupe before dinner. With a main course, this begs for some spicy ethnic cuisine. Let’s try it with something Thai, Cajun, or even Tex-Mex.

We’ll see you next time on the flip side…