Monday, April 21, 2008

Another Great Oregon Riesling

A few months ago, Jeff from Good Grape pulled together a blogger's 3-pack of Oregon wines with domaine547. Jeff promised us a trip to Alsace via Oregon with every sip of these wines. I just opened up my second bottle from the pack, and I think he's delivered so far. The two wines that I've had were both excellent , with distinctive flavors and an attractive price point.

The bottle I'm going to focus on today is the one in the far right of the picture: the 2005 Amity Riesling. (purchased as part of a 3-pack from domaine547 for $52.99; the winery is now sold out) Made in the Willamette Valley by Myron Redford, just 100 cases of this beauty were produced. There were pronounced floral, honeysuckle, and orange blossom aromas in this wine that suggested it would be decidedly off-dry when I sipped it. But the wine tasted drier than it smelled, with flavors of lemons and slate. There was a honeyed note in the finish, and a bit of a petrol aftertaste, which kept the wine interesting and engaging. I think it would be hard to find such a well-balanced, complex domestic Riesling for under $20--which this was--so this one earns excellent QPR.

This is the kind of wine that begs for spicier food. When you're eating something fiery, it's best to have a wine that's just a bit off-dry but not cloying. We had the Amity Riesling with a Goan Shrimp Curry from the cookbook American Masala by Suvir Suran. The recipe combined aromatic spices, coconut milk, shrimp, and peppers and the wine stood up to if nicely. (hint: if you can't find curry leaves near you, then you can use 2 bay leaves instead. It's not exactly the same, but it will do if you don't have a good Indian grocery nearby) The citrusy notes in the wine were particularly nice with the shrimp, and the floral flavors wafting up from the wine combined with the spices wafting up from the pot.

In a few weeks we'll be tasting Old World Rieslings for Wine Blogging Wednesday #45 with Tim Elliott of Winecast, and this wine definitely got me thinking ahead to that event. Rieslings are great food wines, they're lower in alcohol than most whites, and they are perfect for spring time, so go out and find yourself a Riesling. Even if you haven't liked them in the past, wines like this Amity Riesling are going to change your mind.


Rebecca Rethore said...

Thanks for reminding us about WBW's upcoming taste-off. Riesling doesn't deserve the bad rap some folks give it. These are some of the most beautiful wines on the market. "Transparent" is the word I most often see associated with these wines - and for good (though perhaps misleading?) reason: the aroma speaks for itself as soon as your nose comes within even inches of the glass and it entices you into what is often a truly wonderful, mouthwateringly delightful taste. What more could you want? (The best rieslings are more often dry than cloyingly sweet - and I think that's what has thrown folks off the pop-corking bandwagon. Don't mistake "sweet" for generous, beautiful RIPE fruit flavors - like sinking your teeth into a fresh peach. Transparent should translate as enticing, not weak or lacking.) Thanks for refreshing (no pun intended ;) this topic, Dr. Debs. Oregon has some great stuff on the market! Will revisit the Amity again soon.

Anonymous said...

Most excellent, Dr. Debs. I'm glad you are enjoying my selections. In between this and the Toad Hollow Chard. I think we might be wine compatible.

In fact, I think there's a blog post somewhere in there--somebody needs to come up with the eHarmony assessment for palate compatibility! :-)

If you like both Rieslings, I know you'll enjoy the Amyacus. It's more of a blend, kind of a crowd-pleaser type in the Conundrum mode, but a bit more herbaceous.

Thanks again, Dr. Debs!


Hoff said...

If you've never had it, Eroica by Chateau St. Michelle is generally easy to find, usually around $18, and rather reliably good - balanced, dry, all the things you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

The Oregon Rieslings are great aren't they?

Thanks for the reviews.

Dr. Debs said...

Hi everybody. Sorry to have been slow getting back to you all. I'm loving these Oregon wines, and it's clearly a region I need to get to know much, much better. Like Rebecca, I'm really looking forward to the WBW in May--and I love the word "transparent" that she used to describe rieslings. Just right!