Friday, July 15, 2022

Family dinner opens with Washington Columbia Valley Riesling

Family dinner opens with Long Shadows Washington State Columbia Valley Riesling 

Sister Jan and Bro-n-law Bill visiting from California with daughters Jenna and Krysta and her new grand-baby to meet the cousins, the family gathered at our house, and then at Erin's for family reunion dinners. Linda prepared beef tenderloin and ribs with asparagus, whipped potatoes and mac-n-cheese, salads and desserts.

We opened a broad diverse wine flight to accompany the dinner courses and selections. Son, Ryan brought a CDP and son Alec brought a Napa Syrah to round out the flight.

For a white wine offering I opened a newly discovered label from a producer portfolio we know well.

Long Shadows Poet's Leap Columbia Valley Riesling 2019

My review of this wine is almost embarrassing, as it sounds like a promotion for this label. Never-the-less, this was a nice surprise wine find discovery! 

We've written often in these pages about Long Shadows and their Vintners' Collection, crafted from selected winemakers from around the world. We collect this portfolio as members of their wine club but discovered this other label in the wine shop this week. This one, inspired by the great wines of Germany and legendary winemaker Armin Diel, Long Shadows winemaker Gilles Nicault crafts this Poet's Leap Riesling in the style of its original winemaker.

The consulting winemaker and varietal grape specialist for this label was Armin Diel, owner of the Schlossgut Diel in Germany's Nahe region. He came to Washington in 2003 to collaborate with the Long Shadows team to make a Riesling sourced from local grapes. The legendary German was responsible for the first release by Long Shadows in 2004 sourced from grapes from Sagemoor Farms and The Benches in the Columbia Valley

From that first vintage, Long Shadows' director of winemaking Gilles Nicault collaborated with Armin on Poet's Leap's vineyard selection, fermentation and blending to establish a consistent style for the wine. Gilles assumed winemaking responsibility for Poet's Leap in the fall of 2016, after Armin found it increasingly challenging to make the numerous trips overseas that the project required. Gilles continues to produce this label, crafting the same style wine the team originally aspired to produce.
"My emphasis was to preserve Poet’s Leap Riesling with as much freshness as possible with a small amount of residual sugar." - Armin Diel

The 2019 Poet’s Leap Riesling is a blend of two distinct vineyards from German clones from The Benches in the Horse Heaven Hills that provide s minerality and Sagemoor Farms in the Columbia Valley, just outside of the Tri-Cities, which contributes citrus aromas and flavors and appealing acidity. Production was 4,200 cases.

This release was awarded 93 points by Owen Bargreen, a rare consensus 92 points by Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, Jeb Dunnuck, James Suckling and International Wine Reviews, and 91points by Stephen Tanzer and Connoisseurs Guide.

Wine & Spirits cited it as the Year's Best US Riesling and Sommeliers Choice Awards cited it the Wine of The Year By The Glass.

Normally, we are not Riesling fans but this exceeded all expectations and was enjoyed by everyone that tried it, being what I call a 'crowd pleaser', and providing great QPR - (Quality Price Ratio) as well. Its definitely worth picking up this label for every day casual enjoyable sipping. 

Straw colored, light medium bodied, clean, crisp, complex, aromas of apple and lime, slightly off-dry with hints of lychee, peaches and baking spice with a subtle mineral and nicely balanced acidity on the textured finish.

RM 91 points. 

Interesting, I would not consider this a wine to lay down and hold, reviewer Stephen Tanzer writes, "This wine will age for a decade or more with the petrol notes increasing as time goes on. I cannot wait to taste this wine again in 5 and 10 years time."

Owen Bargreen writes, "The 2019 Poet’s Leap Riesling is another sensational effort that is truly one of the great wines of its kind made in Washington."  This is amazing and says a lot, considering Allan Shoup, CEO and Founder of Long Shadows was CEO and Chairman of Washington State Chateau St Michelle in Woodinville, the largest wine producer in the state, and the largest Riesling producer in the world! 

Connoisseurs Guide wrotes similarly, "it is thoroughly delicious now, yet, as evidenced by last September's report on Poet's Leap Rieslings dating back to the 2008 vintage, it is a wine with a marvelously long life ahead and should evolve famously for a good decade or more."

It's a textbook picture of Washington Riesling at its best. Editors' Choice— Wine Enthusiast


I'll continue the rest of the wine flight review in a follow on post.