As most of you well know, the Riesling grape variety thrives in relatively cool to cold climates. This aromatic white wine variety expresses itself best in wine producing regions like Germany, France (Alsace), Washington State, and closer to home, the Finger Lakes, New York. Towards the late 80s to early 90s, Riesling was in the top 5 of most widely planted varieties here in Virginia. That’s no longer the case today as acreage has decreased. Generally speaking, Virginia has warm to (very) hot summers, both day and night, and high humidity, which is not well-suited for Riesling. I have always assumed that Riesling was planted back then in such numbers for its name recognition, not because of its ability to produce quality wine grapes. Most local examples I come across are nonetheless decent summertime quaffing wines, but lack varietal character. That being said, within the overall warm-to-hot broad-scale climate are small pockets of cooler mesoclimates at higher elevations where cool climate grape varieties like Riesling can be grown and made into fairly delicious wines. The fruit for the Afton Mountain 2009 Riesling is sourced from White Hall Vineyards, which is one of those sites.
Afton Mountain 2009 Riesling
The Afton Mountain 2009 Riesling, pale straw in color with green hues, offers bright lemon, melon, floral blossom, and citrus aromas that lead to a slender and racy palate with touches of mineral and a dash of sweetness on the medium-length finish. This Riesling is a tasty and refreshing summer sipper and versatile enough to pair with a wide range of foods. My suggestions: Asian and Indian cuisine or light seafood. The wine clocks in at a very moderate 11% ABV and retails for approximately $16. Unfortunately, Afton Mountain informed me on Twitter this week that 2010 is the last vintage of Riesling they plan on making, so grab a bottle or two...three, if you can. However, on the bright side, Afton Mountain does grow and make a very nice Gewürztraminer that’s perfect for summertime sipping too. While Riesling is not a good variety for Virginia in my humble opinion, the Afton Mountain 2009 Riesling shows that in some small pockets of the state, grape varieties you would not expect to find here for obvious reasons, can be made into some pretty darn good wines. In Virginia, expect the unexpected – the results are usually positive. Cheers!
Have a question about this post, friends? Feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and as always, Happy Sipping! Stay tuned ...more to come!
CLICK HERE to visit Afton Mountain Vineyard's website.
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