The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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Oregon Riesling ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ ❑ PHOTOS: DEBORAH PARKER WONG R iesling Rendezvous, a three-day Riesling immersion which has been held in Seattle for the last four years [see our story on p. 87 —Ed.], provided the inspiration for this month's Blind Tasting of Oregon Riesling across three vintages. Wines from the Willamette Valley dominate the short list, as do producers who include the International Riesling Foundation's (IRF) Riesling Taste Profile scale on back labels. With more than 26 million bottles in the U.S. labeled with this indicator, we're looking for it to provide a fairly accurate take on what's in the bottle. Since it's up to producers to determine in which of four categories—dry, medium dry, medium sweet and sweet—their wines belong based on guidelines for sugar-to-acid ratios and levels of pH, understanding the IRF's guidelines is useful. Of the wines tasted, Anne Amie 2012 is the sole bottle labeled dry on the Riesling Taste Profile, which indicates that its sugar-to-acid ratio most likely doesn't exceed 1.0 and the wine's pH is below 3.3. If the pH of a wine categorized as dry exceeds 3.3, the category is adjusted. Dry wines that are at 3.3 pH or higher become medium dry and anything above 3.5 pH is labeled as medium sweet. Even so, a wine with 12 grams of residual sugar and 12 grams of acid that's below 3.3 pH would still be categorized as dry, even though a taster's perception might argue otherwise. One producer, Chehalem gives us some additional clues by including a bottle analysis of residual sugar, pH and total acidity below the profile that indicates their wine is medium dry. At the other end of the spectrum, Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012 is labeled medium sweet, and a quick look at the technical data confirms that the ratio of residual sugar to acid exceeds 1.0 and the pH is pushing 3.3, which fits the guidelines for that category. The IRF is helping consumers navigate, but Riesling can be deceptive; its high acidity often masks levels of residual sugar that are well above the threshold for dry wines, resulting in a wine style that, for all intents and purposes, tastes dry. Taste, however, is still the ultimate arbiter. Try your hand at guessing which wine is being described below: 1. White peach and tropical fruit with a crisp, silky green apple finish; 11.9%. $20 ❑ 2. White fruit and petrol with round, creamy, ripe peach and Spatleselike style; 8.5%. $18 3. Pear custard and lychee with balanced peachy flavors; 11.5%. $18 4. Petrol and green apple with plenty of intensity and apple skin; 11%. $12 5. Floral, ripe pear with long, focused tart green apple and mineral flavors, dry; 10.5%. $21 ❑ 6. White nectarine, floral almost perfumed with ripe peach and green tea; 8.7%. $14 7. Delicate, pineapple and apple skin with hints of restrained stone fruit; 10.5%. $20 1. Annie Amie 2012; 2. Amity Wedding Dance 2010; 3.Argyle 2011; 4. Foris Rogue Valley 2011 5. Chehalem Three Vineyard 2011; 6. Willamette Valley Vineyards 2012; 7 Penner-Ash 2012 . ✓ The Reveal september 2013  /  the tasting panel  /  63 TP0913_063-103.indd 63 8/22/13 9:22 PM

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