I’ve commented before on how riesling gets a bad rap in the US, particularly domestic riesling. I’ve also commented that it’s often a misunderstood wine in the US. Consumers might taste an overly-sweet, poorly made domestic riesling and they slander the varietal as a whole. This is unfortunate, but I think the tide is turning thanks to producers who do understand riesling and are working hard to make high-quality domestic riesling — and to change the reputation of this wine.
Many of the best domestic rieslings I’ve tasted in the past few years have come from Washington State, and Pacific Rim is one brand that’s on this list. I only see this trend growing, too. With more consumers not only discovering riesling, but discovering Washington State wines as well.
Pacific Rim is one company that is really standing out when it comes to riesling. It’s their specialty. It’s not all they do, but it’s most of what they do. Pacific Rim Dry Riesling was first released in 1992 by Bonny Doon Vineyard, but in 2006 a group of former Bonny Doon folks opened Pacific Rim as it’s own winery.
One of the things I really appreciate about Pacific Rim, besides the fact that they make some killer riesling, is that their wine labels not only include the percent of alcohol, but also the residual sugar. I think this is a smart move to help educate consumers about the different styles of riesling. And while it’s particularly useful with riesling, I wish other producers would do this with other varietals too. It would help consumers make more well-informed decisions when they purchase wine.
Pacific Rim offers a good variety of riesling too, ranging from bone dry to medium dry to medium sweet to sweet. In the dry category, they have five different rieslings. But I’ve only had the opportunity to taste a couple. Both were outstanding.
Pacific Rim Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley 2007
This wine has a nice powerful nose, particularly for such an inexpensive dry riesling. Intense floral aromas, with pear and orange peel notes adding layers of complexity. The palate has outstanding concentration, outstanding acidity and outstanding flavors, like grapefruit, pear and mineral. The finish is also loaded with pear flavors — but it’s still dry, not sweet. Simply put, this is a phenomenal riesling for the price.
Wine: Pacific Rim Columbia Valley Dry Riesling
Find Pacific Rim 2007 Columbia Valley Dry Riesling with Snooth
Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Riesling 2007
Aromas of cold cream (yes, I’m serious and no, it’s not a turn off), honeysuckle, herbs and grapefruit aromas make this a really interesting wine. The palate of this one is centered in grapefruit flavors. It also has some apple, some pear and some mineral, but the grapefruit makes it sing. The acidity is perfect. The finish still has plenty of grapefruit, but apple flavors emerge with more intensity and good length. This is a few bucks more than the Columbia Valley Dry Riesling, but it’s still a very good wine.
Wine: Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Riesling
Find Pacific Rim 2007 Wallula Vineyard Riesling with Snooth