A Summertime Riesling from the Pacific Northwest


Among wine geeks, Riesling is the perennial "it" grape – always in fashion, always the subject of rapturous praise. Riesling is adored because it offers gratification in a variety of styles (dry, semisweet, sweet), and also because it is really good at expressing the particular attributes of whatever vineyard it comes from – of conveying a strong sense of place.

While it is generally agreed that the best Rieslings come from Germany, Austria, and the Alsace region of France, some very good ones are being produced in the United States. One of the best is called Eroica. Named for Beethoven's Third Sympathy, the Eroica is made in Washington State and is a joint venture between Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington's oldest, biggest and best-known winery, and acclaimed German winemaker Ernst Loosen. The project dates back to 1999 and has been a success pretty much from inception – a fact that speaks not only to the talent of the people involved, but to Washington's suitability for Riesling.


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The 2012 Eroica ($16) is an especially good vintage for this cuvée. The wine sports a terrific nose evocative of lime, white peach, and an almost chalky minerality. Loosen comes from the Mosel region of Germany, and the Eroica is made in classic Mosel style, with a touch of residual sweetness (there's also some dissolved CO2, which gives the wine a slight, pleasant fizz).

As with Mosel Rieslings, the sweetness is offset by the Eroica's brisk acidity and mineral backbone. The wine shows terrific flavor, depth, and balance and will go swimmingly with spicy Asian dishes (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese). It will also make an excellent summertime, out-on-the-patio aperitif. 

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