Rieslings for the Summer

In these days of high unemployment and global financial crisis, it’s nice to relax with a bottle of wine that doesn’t break your pocketbook. I’m here to sort out the memorable from the truly awful, and each bottle is under $10.

My friend and fellow writer, Kathy Bennett, asked about Rieslings a few posts ago.  Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know I’m not a sweet wine fan. But being the dedicated Wine Blogger that I am, I forged ahead into uncharted waters and tasted some Rieslings this past weekend. So here you go, Kathy…hope you find a few in here that  you like! (I know I did…)


Kendall Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Riesling, 2010
Monterey County, California 100% Jackson Estates Grown.   Alcohol 13.0% by volume; regularly $14.99, on sale at Albertson’s for $9.99.

On the Label: “The less we handle the fruit, the better the quality. The combination of climate, soil and hillside vineyards delivers a superior-flavored grape.  Our Jackson Estates Grown Riesling is no exception. Stone-fruit flavors of apricot and peach deliciously mingle with hints of Anjou pear and bursts of jasmine. This wine’s distinctive taste is a result of the coastal vineyards in Monterey County, from where it was harvested.”   –Founder, Jess S. Jackson

My Take: I really liked this wine, to my vast surprise. It has a faint flowery scent and a touch of the sweetness – just perfect for a spring meal (Easter, perhaps). The hubby wasn’t as enamored as I was, due to the slightly steely aftertaste and not enough sweetness in the foretaste.

My Rating:  ~ Very Drinkable ~ I’ll definitely keep it in mind now for those spring/summer warm to hot days.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Riesling, 2009  California  Alcohol, 12.5% by volume  Regular price, $11.99 – on sale for $6.99 at Albertsons

On the Label: “Through timeless winemaking innovation, an uncompromising eye for quality and unshakable faith in California’s vineyards, Robert Mondavi was a pioneer in producing wines that rival the world’s finest. The enticing floral and spice notes of our Riesling weave through the crisp fruit flavors.”

My Take: This wine smells like honey in a glass, and also has a lovely aftertaste of honey – light, crisp, sweet but not too sweet. My hubby said  “This is  a Riesling!” For me, this particular wine isn’t one I’d reach for on a daily basis, but for all of that it sits pleasantly on the palate and begs for a picnic at a scenic spot with someone special.  Some sharp cheese, maybe salami, and this wine – you’ve got a winner.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ Plus it’s a fantastic price!

Chateau St. Michelle Riesling 2010 Columbia Valley, Washington State  Alcohol 11.0% by volume  Regularly $9.99, on sale for $7.99 at Albertsons.

On the Label:  “Enjoy classic Washington state Riesling in this fresh, crisp and balanced style. Delicious flavors of ripe peach and juicy pear are underscored with racy acidity.”

My Take: Admittedly, I had this wine under unusual circumstances. 1. I’d already had two glasses of Pinot Noir. 2. The wine wasn’t properly chilled. 3. I wasn’t really looking to have more wine. However, this blog called…and the wine answered. To my surprise, it was my favorite of all three. The sweetness is balanced between the Kendall Jackson and the Mondavi; the alcohol content is lower than both; and there’s no steely aftertaste. The scent is fresh and floral, but not overwhelming. Perfect for a picnic, or a before dinner drink.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ It doesn’t get a higher rating because, frankly, it’s not a red.  But to my taste buds, it’s the best of the three. Hubby preferred the Mondavi – and we’d both still drink the Kendall Jackson. And to my surprise, I’m now a Riesling fan!

As usual, this is just my honest opinion and depend upon my mood, the weather, and what cycle the moon is in. Your taste buds will differ. And hey – if you’ve got a varietal out there you want me to taste, let me know! You know where to find me…

~ Until the next time, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~

Demon Soul is available for the Kindle and the Nook! Have you read it yet?

 My rating system: Undrinkable, Barely Drinkable, Drinkable, Very Drinkable, and the ever popular Stay away! This is MY wine, you slut!

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8 Responses to Rieslings for the Summer

  1. Catie Rhodes says:

    Since riesling is sweet, would you drink it with your dessert? My husband–the person in our house who drinks–is not a fan of sweet wine, either. I’ve never seen him buy riesling, and I’ve never heard him talk about it. I’ll have to see if he’s willing to try one of these.

    • Catie, I wouldn’t drink it with dessert – I’d pair it with cold ham sandwiches, or almonds and cheese. It isn’t an over-the-top sweet wine like a Late Harvest Riesling – those are almost syrupy, and a drizzle over vanilla ice cream and strawberries is delicious! If your hubby wants to try it, go for the Kendall Jackson because it’s the least sweet of the three.

  2. Robena Grant says:

    I’ve never been a Reisling drinker, but maybe you’re onto something. I have to be careful of high acidity. It sounds like this might be gentle on the stomach. Thanks.

    • The best part of these wines? They hold over in the fridge wonderfully. I’ve had two bottles open for a week, and they still taste good (properly stored, of course). So you don’t have to drink the whole bottle in one go!

  3. Christine,

    Thanks so much for your assessment of the Reisling wines. I’ve had all three of those wines and I would rank Kendall Jackson as my favorite, followed by the Chateau St. Michelle, and rounding out the group with the Mondavi.

    However…I’d like to suggest Fetzer Reisling as well. It’s my favorite, and I suspect, it’s probably the sweetest of the group – which is why I like it. It’s also quite easy on the wallet.

    I’m no great wine critic, but I certainly enjoy a glass in the evening and almost always it’s a Reisling. Thanks again for following up on my question.

    • Kathy, I meant to pick up the Fetzer – don’t know why I didn’t! I’ll do so before too long. And hey, I’m no great wine critic either – I just talk about what I like and what I don’t like, lol! Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Debra Kristi says:

    My husband isn’t much of a Rieslings drinker so we never by it, but your recommendation with the cold ham sandwich sounds really good. We just might have to do that one out on the patio one warm afternoon. 🙂 Thank you, Christine!

  5. Debra, I’m the one who doesn’t reach for the Rieslings in the grocery store – and now hubby is very happy that I found some I like, lol! I’d definitely try the Kendall Jackson, since it’s the least sweet of the three.

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