Riesling und Müller-Thurgau

Value Picks for July 2009

2008 AlexEli Willamette Valley Riesling • $16 (330 cases)

Sweetness in a Riesling can be its best attribute when accompanied by peachy ripeness, a hint of smoke and flinty minerality. AlexEli—formerly Marquam Hill Vineyard—east of Mt. Angel has hit a prime note here. A harmoniously rich, exceedingly well-made wine.

2007 Oak Knoll Oregon Semi-Sweet Riesling • $10 (1,400 cases)

Lots of accolades across the board for this delicate yet distinctive Riesling. Pears, citrus and straw all lend their flavor interest. Bright, zingy acidity supplies the backbone for beautiful balance that carries through from first sniff to final swallow.

2007 Orchard Heights Willamette Valley Riesling • $14 (421 cases)

Situated at the southern end of the Eola Hills, Orchard Heights produces both vinifera wines and specialty fruit wines, including pineapple, passion fruit, mango and papaya. Their Riesling displays a floral, pineapple-y character, perhaps picked up through close proximity. But the attribute is quite appealing in this fresh, nicely balanced wine.

2007 Hinman Vineyards Riesling • $10 (3,419 cases)

Riesling is one of the mainstays from the long-established Hinman label. The 2007 pleases with a yin and yang of apple and peach giving both crispness and lusciousness to the wine’s soft, creamy mouthfeel.

2008 Spindrift Willamette Valley Riesling • $13 (107 cases)

This is the first-ever Riesling release from Spindrift Cellars near Philomath. Floral aromas lead into the juicy taste of just-ripening nectarines. Stone fruit continues throughout the round, viscous flavor impression, finishing long and tasty.

2008 Airlie Willamette Valley Müller-Thurgau • $10 (1,080 cases)

Müller-Thurgau, a Riesling/Sylvaner cross, is the second-most planted grape in Germany. Airlie has made the most of this normally light, crisp, citrusy wine, bringing forth a distinct ruby-red grapefruit flavor component, with a touch of grassiness and a hint of effervescence accented by fresh, lively acidity.

The Oregon Wine Press tasting panel has selected the above wines based on overall quality and value within their respective categories. To the best of our knowledge, they are currently available in the retail marketplace, but a call to the winery or your favorite wine merchant will best determine where they may be purchased. These wines have met the following criteria: produced by an Oregon winery; retail price below $30 per 750 mL bottle for Pinot Noir or $25 for other varietals; currently available to consumers. Recommended wines were selected using a double-blind method and a 20-point ranking system for appearance, aroma, taste, balance and finish.

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