Das Ist Gut, Ja?
Yes, these German- and Alsatian-style Oregon wines are definitely good
Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Müller-Thurgau — for some, difficult to pronounce and understand — are a small but interesting category of Oregon wine.
How can you know if a Riesling will be sweet or dry? Several producers listed below made it simple by including information on the back labels. Rest assured quality Rieslings demonstrate enough balanced acidity to make a little bit of sugar a thing to be desired.
Gewürztraminer, the tart of the wine world and the second-most planted variety in Alsace, France, often douses herself with one spritz too many of perfume. Yet taken at her best, this varietal, whose name means “spice” in German, can offer an intoxicating array of aromas.
Each wine selected demonstrates balance and a profile ideal to pair with foods, such as spicy Asian dishes, poultry, cheese and seafood.
Willamette Valley Vineyards 2014 Willamette Valley Riesling
Sweeter than most Rieslings in this selection — the label’s IRF scale indicates medium-sweet — yet perfectly balanced. A symphony of aromatics greets the nose: apricot, wet stone, honeysuckle, mango, green apple, pear, honeydew, fresh grass and petrichor, the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The palate is like ambrosia, a mix of fresh tropical melons and stone fruit.
$14; 18,579 cases
Coeur de Terre Vineyard 2013 McMinnville Dry Riesling
Harvested from 34-year-old vines in early November, this wine’s deep, brassy color and aromatics may trick you into thinking “sticky sweet.” Not the case. Lush, mouth-filling and slick, it presents mostly dry — even with the disclaimer that a little sugar was left for balance. Petrol, vanilla, gardenia, peach, nuttiness and overripe apple on the nose; while the palate is lifted with green apple and citrus.
$19; 68 cases
Hyland Estates 2014 McMinnville Riesling
Harvested from some of Hyland Estates’ oldest self-rooted vines, this drier style of Riesling offers a jumpy acidity and long, salty finish. Enjoy the aromas of vanilla, jasmine, petrol, pear and wet stone. Our panel craved oysters after only a couple sips.
$25; 400 cases
Alloro Vineyard 2015 Chehalem Mountains Riesling
Perfect as a chilled welcome wine for a warm-weather party, this slightly off-dry Riesling can be described as a freshly cut slice of pineapple; its lengthy, acid-driven finish sustains flavor and structure, adding to the overall taste experience.
$30; 115 cases
Airlie 2015 Willamette Valley Estate Müller-Thurgau
The second-most planted varietal in Germany, Müller-Thurgau shares a common flavor profile with the country’s most prolific, Riesling. Juicy peach dominates flavor and aroma on this full-bodied wine with a bright, surprising little spritz. Overall, a dry presentation with a touch of fruit-driven sweetness.
$16; 781 cases
Abiqua Wind 2015 Gloria Anne Willamette Valley Estate Gewürztraminer
The telltale aromas of Gewürztraminer with lychee, rose and citrus on the nose are joined by orange, clove and mixed spices on the palate. Acid balance allows this perfumed wine to be a food-friendly find.
$15; 178 cases
Hyland Estates 2015 McMinnville Gewürztraminer
Harvested from own-rooted, old-vine Gewürztraminer planted in the ’70s, this wine is an interesting blend of dried apricots, cinnamon, clove, orange peel and tangy notes on the nose. On the palate experience balanced acidity, lychee, cantaloupe, minerality and a long finish that ends with a pleasant bitterness. The label’s IRF scale indicates the wine is dry.
$28; 700 cases
South Stage Cellars 2014 Rogue Valley Gewürztraminer
Honeysuckle, tangerine, lychee, rose and orange on the nose are joined by spicy nutmeg and savory earthiness on the palate. A perfumed floral note evolves as you approach the finish.
$17; 35 cases