Advent – Day 14

Wine: Sweet Riesling (California)
Winery: American Vintners
Cheese: Applewood

Day 14’s wine is a change of pace from American Vintner’s usually dry offerings, the simply named “Sweet Riesling”. This intrigued me, as my state of Michigan has gained a lot of worldwide attention for its Rieslings in recent years, with Black Star Farms’ 2017 Arcturos Dry Riesling winning “Best Riesling of the World” honors in the Canberra International Riesling Challenge. The wineries I’ve worked for, St. Julian and Sandhill Crane, are also no strangers to the art of working with the Riesling grape, creating many world-class wines. We’re pretty proud of our Rieslings, from the flinty, crisp notes of the Dry Rieslings to the sumptuous honey flavors of the Late Harvest Rieslings, our Rieslings run the gamut.

So where does this “Sweet Riesling” lie? Well, if you’re looking for a Late Harvest Riesling, you’re going to be disappointed here. This wine is more of a semi-sweet wine than a sweet wine. There is candied lemon and green apple on the nose and also on the palate along with some honeysuckle but there really isn’t much in the way of sugar – I would put it at somewhere between the 3-4% RS range, not more than 5%. The acidity is medium, a little less than what I’m used to, but then again as a Michigander I’m used to cold-climate Rieslings, with crisp, pronounced acidity that makes the flavors pop. There is some of the minerality of a classic Riesling, the tasting notes make a point to mention the rocky soils the Riesling grapes are grown in and it serves the wine well. The finish is short and to me a touch unremarkable, lacking the tingle I often get from most Rieslings.

Overall I give this a 3.0, a solid B. I would have probably given a higher rating if the wine was sweeter, but it is a serviceable enough Riesling. I do realize that for many wine drinkers, particularly California, a semi-sweet 3-4% RS Riesling such as this would be considered “sweet”, but with Late Harvest Rieslings, Sauternes and Tokaji out there, to say nothing of Fruit Wines, a broader perspective is required.

Today’s cheese is Applewood. My wife tried pairing the cheese with the Riesling, her words were “It’s not an offensive pairing, but it’s not all that exciting either. It just was.” LOL I suppose that’s a good way to describe it.

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