Thursday, July 12, 2012

Washington Riesling v. Alsace

This year the first leg of le Tour visited the Alsace wine region in North Eastern france.  This region primarily grows grapes that are also found in Germany and Switzerland due to the proximity.

The racers finish stage 7 on La Planche Des Belles Filles. A Mountain top finish that has never been visited by the tour in its 99 year history.  Team Sky dropped a serious bomb on this stage doing a fine imitation of an Atomic Drop.

To honor the tour boldly going where it has not gone before, the Luchavino challenge features a pair of Rieslings facing off in the ring.  The first time this grape variety has appeared in a match.

Washington Riesling has been garnering quite a bit of attention lately.  Let's see how it fairs against this Old World challenger from Alsace.

Nefarious 2011 Stone's Throw Vineyard Riesling v. Trimbach 2007 Riesling.

Tale of the tape

Nefarious 2011 Stone's Throw Vineyard Riesling

100% Riesling from the Stone's Throw estate vineyard.

Purchased from Full Pull for $16.99

Trimbach 2007 Alsace Riesling

100% Riesling (per French Law).  Dry fermented.

Purchased from  Corky Cellars for $21.00.

Round 1. First opening

The Trimbach fires off with a nose that features smoky pear and tart cedar notes.  The palate is featuring crisp green apple and pear with a lightly dry citrus finish.

Nefarious is a bit more spritely with a nose of pears, peaches and apricot.  The palate is sweet with white flowers and a lightly tart sweet finish.

The French challenger takes round one with an old school throwback attack.

Round 2. One hour after opening

Trimbach is switching styles for the second round with the nose showing some smoky grapefruit and pears with hints of mineral.  The palate is primarily tart green apple with dry tart finish.

Nefarious is devious, hiding its power behind a facade of sweetness.  The nose continues to feature fruit notes of pear, peach and apricot along with some hints of straw.  The palate is also showing pear and green apple with a  sweet floral and slightly tart finish.

The sneak attack from Nefarious caught Trimbach by surprise garnering second round points for the Washington Luchador.

Round 3. One day after opening

This match is all tied up and Trimbach is switching up again!  The nose is now showing notes of smoky orange peel with hints of mineral still in the mix.  The palate is featuring pears with slight mineral tartness and a green apple finish.

Nefarious is holding steady with a nose of peaches, apricots, notes of citrus and straw.  The palate features pear and peach with a subtle acid finish.

In the end the Trimbach evolution is too much for Nefarious taking the final round and the match with a variety of flying leg kicks.

Wrap up and overall observations

It was interesting to do a matchup of Rieslings.  This is a variety that I do not have much experience with.  The changes over time were much more subtle than with the red grape varieties I typically feature.

The Alsace Riesling from Trimbach featured more citrus character and did seem to evolve more over time in comparison to the Nefarious which was sweeter with more notes of pear, peach and apricot.  Overall this was an interesting matchup that challenged my senses.

I liked both these Rieslings and would rate them in the high 80s.  With limited experience, I don't feel comfortable with having enough context to assign a specific rating.  I would definitely recommend both of these wines.

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