Thursday, January 5, 2017

More on that $9 dry Riesling that won the Wine Press NW's Platinum competition

2015 Chateau St. Michelle Dry Riesling

I can't (or, more properly, shouldn't, and therefore won't) sell this to my customers, because my minimum markup is $2 per bottle, and at the extremely low end of the price range, it is almost always cheaper for them to shop at the grocery stores. Safeway is selling this wine now at $6.99, and even cheaper if you buy six, whereas my price would be $7.75. So don't get it from me.

But why would you want to buy it at all? Let me count the ways:

1. It just was awarded Wine Press Northwest's top wine in the Platinum wine judging--this humble mass-market dry Riesling, which was probably made in sufficient volume to cover the entire country of Belgium two feet deep, beat out all the $15 and $25 and $50 and $100 wines that were tasted, and a whole great many of those were tasted in that competition.  So when I noticed that, I went out to buy one, to try it. I opened it last night with homemade Thai curry, and:
2. It really is outstanding. It's good enough to make me keep saying "wow." The nose is redolent with honey/floral notes, with a subtle petrochem hint. (The better Rieslings from Germany have powerful petrochem notes, not a flaw but a prized attribute, which I don't much care for, but in trace amounts it adds to the complexity and somehow seems to be a real positive.) The wine has great citrus notes on the palate and good body for a Riesling, with enough acidic zip to keep it fresh. And it is dry! (Yes, the copious fruit will fool you into thinking it's sweet, but if you measured the sugar in it, you would see it is dry--maybe only a very small amount of RS.) And, in case you're wondering, the wineries don't add diesel to the grape juice--it's just that one of the many many biochemicals naturally present in this grape happens to smell and taste like that.
3. Wine experts of the world ALWAYS class Riesling as one of the world's top six winegrapes (Cab Sauv, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling). That means they agree it's better than: Syrah, Viognier, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Pinot Gris! Just think about that! Yes, I know that many of you eschew Riesling--maybe you drank cheap sweet versions of it when you were younger (as did I), and your logical mind convinces you that better versions of it surely cannot exist. Get over it ;)

Marry this wine to Asian foods, or salads, or poultry, or most vegetarian dinners, or drink it by itself. If you know young people on a budget, who want to learn about fine wine, direct them to their nearest large grocery store to buy some.

This is one more nail in the coffin of the myth that says, "Wine has to be expensive, to be good."  Anybody can overpay for wine; it requires no skill at all. Why waste your money? Much smarter to let others do that.

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