Riesling has long been a stalwart for anyone frantically searching a wine list to pick a bottle that would pair well with everyone’s dinner. Riesling is hard to beat when you need a versatile food-friendly wine that can be easily found in styles ranging from sweet to bone-dry. In the past this varietal has labored under the misconception that the lower-quality sweet offerings that filled store shelves was the best this grape had to offer. This
view of Riesling has begun to change as world-class Riesling are being added to restaurant wine lists, websites and store shelves worldwide.
Riesling is a cool climate grape that has excels in rocky soils, like the ones found in the Rhine Valley and Mosel Region of Germany and the Alsace region of Northern France for centuries. Wine makers in the Columbia Valley of Washington, the Willamette Valley of Oregon and the Finger Lakes Wine Region of New York have found great success with their Riesling vineyards. All three regions produce very good Riesling, each with its own special personality that is sure to please any wine lovers palate.
You could make a strong case that Riesling with its many incarnations is the most food-friendly of all wines, either red or white. It is the safe choice when following the rules for white wine by pairing it with seafood, chicken and salads. My favorite twist is to pair a sweet Riesling with spicy Mexican, Chinese or Thai cuisine. The extra sweetness cuts through the heat to give balance to your meal.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Dry: Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling 2016. (From a legendary FLX winery that received a Robert Parker Wine Advocate 90pt rating)
Off-Dry: Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling (A trendy favorite with a Wine Spectator 89pts)
Sweet: Chateau Ste. Michelle Harvest Select Riesling 2016 (Wine Spectator 87 pts and a bargain at $10.00 or less)
Seven Springs Mountain Resort will be hosting the Chateau Ste. Michelle Vineyards Wine Dinner in their Slopeside restaurant at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday March 20th, 2013. This dinner will feature a wine pairing for each course from the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery. I have posted the menu for your convenience. Reservations can be made by calling 800-452-2223 ext.6000. Seven Springs Mountain Resort is at 777 Waterwheel Dr. Seven Springs, Pa 15622.
One of the most relaxing things that I can think of doing is to take my chair to an outdoor concert and spend the evening sipping wine with my wife and friends. The festive atmosphere created by a musical performance is being used by wineries to attract new customers to their facilities. These concerts range from nationally known acts to local solo artists and they cover just about every known genre of music imaginable.
The Seattle, Washington area is extremely fortunate to have the Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery within easy access because this winery presents an outstanding calendar of events each summer. Chateau Ste. Michelle has been hosting live performances since 1984 in an intimate amphitheater setting that has made the Chateau Ste. Michelle Summer Concert Series one of the Pacific Northwest great music venues. Go to www.Ste-Michelle.com for more information.
Traveling east to the Finger Lakes Region of New York you can find music at numerous wineries located around these beautiful glacial lakes. Winestock is a wine, food and music festival that will be celebrated on Saturday, June 16th at Three Brothers Winery on Seneca Lake. If you would like to make plans to attend please go to www.winestock2012.eventbrite.com/ for more detailed information.
Let’s turn south to Western Pennsylvania and the Stone Villa Winery in Acme where you can enjoy a show and a glass of wine next to a picturesque lake on the grounds of the winery. A complete calendar of events and contact information is available at www.StoneVilla.com.
Our final stop will be Greensburg, Pennsylvania where the Summer Sounds Concerts will be held 7:00 every Friday evening from June 1st through August 31st. These free shows are presented at the Robertshaw Pavillion in St. Clair Park thanks to the support of volunteers along with corporate sponsorship and donations from concert goers. Additional information and schedules can be found at www.SummerSounds.com. I sincerely urge you to attend these events and support the businesses and organizations that promote them in your area.
I am pleased to report that I have a new bottle of Riesling resting safely in my wine rack at home. I bought a Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Riesling, which is a blend of Riesling from the Columbia Valley of Washington. Blending the best qualities from several different wines allows a wine maker to use the strong attributes of one wine to complement the short comings of others. When done with a skillful hand you end up with a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. This product is always a consistent example of a off-dry that is pleasant to drink and matches a wide variety of foods. The Wine Enthusiast gave it a 90 point rating and I would agree with that assessment. The other choice I considered was the Chateau Ste Michelle 2010 Harvest Select Riesling, but it had a R.S. of 4.98 compared to the 2.29 R.S. of my purchase. The much sweeter style of the Harvest Select would have been a good pick for asian dishes especially Thai food so I will remember that for another day.