Welcome back to Take Five, a fresh Eat Beat feature that offers up five must-try culinary finds from food and drink experts around town. Next up, Oregon's darling summer white...
The Summer of Riesling may officially last for just one season, but here in Portland, Sommeliers and wine directors celebrate the noble varietal every day of the year.
Over the past few years, Oregon has stepped into the international spotlight for its Rieslings—rather than trying to rival Germany, our home state is bringing its own interpretation of this terroir-transparent grape to the world.
Want to get in on the action? The 2014 Riesling Invasion is taking over Portland's Olympic Mills Building (107 Washington Street) on Saturday July 19 from 4 to 8 pm, offering an incredible opportunity to check out the diverse styles of Riesling, from iconic producers to the state's new guard. Famed journalist Stuart Pigott will pilot the Invasion while signing copies of his new book Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story, and Olympic Provisions will be grilling up brats alongside German pretzels and other perfect pairings. Get your $30 tickets here!
We asked local Riesling expert Jessica Pierce to offer us a glimpse at just 5 of the 40 dedicated Riesling producers featured at 2014 Riesling Invasion.
- Brooks, Willamette Valley Riesling 2011: "Biodynamically farmed since 2002, Brooks is one of the few Oregon wineries to feature Riesling as its primary white wine. Though winemaker Chris Williams vinifies up to eight different Rieslings in a vintage, he is most passionate about his flagship Willamette Valley Riesling. Its electric acidity and bone-dry finish accomplish remarkable balance and will destroy every stereotype you can catalog about Riesling."
- Elk Cove, Estate Riesling 2012: "Fourth generation farmer and winemaker Adam Campbell is using grapes from three estate vineyards to make his Riesling, the oldest vines planted in the 1970’s. The Elk Cove Estate Riesling proves that old vines have amazing complexity with flavors as deep as the 30 feet roots in Campbell’s vineyards."
- Ovum, “Memorista”, Lone Star Vineyard 2012: "'Drinking an Ovum Riesling should be like listening to an AM radio, in Stereo,' says winemaker John House. He thinks of the roots as taking signals from the soil to show intense minerality and in the famous Lone Star Vineyard’s case, a bit of smokiness. Ovum is in the new generation of Oregon producers, on a journey to define Willamette Valley terroir in Riesling."
- Teutonic, “The Bridge”, Crow Valley and Eisbruch Vineyards 2012: Barnaby and Olga Tuttle have teamed up with Mosel winemaker Daniel Immich to make this 50/50 blend of Oregon and Germany in one Riesling, produced by natural fermentation in both countries then blended together to “bridge” the gap between old and new world wines. The Bridge can’t legally say Riesling on the label because of its border crossings, but this wine defies boundaries from place and palate.
- Trisaetum, Dry Riesling, Coast Range Vineyard 2013: "With ferments done in stainless barrels, concrete eggs, and oak puncheons winemaker James Frey uses old methods and new technology to craft a broad line up of different styles of Riesling, showing the breadth of diversity in this amazing grape. This sustainably farmed vineyard lies at the foothills of the Coastal Range and consistently display refreshing and concentrated bursts of flavors found in groves of citrus and hazelnuts."
The full lineup of pourers includes: 5Q, A to Z, Alexana, Alexeli, Anam Cara, Argyle, Bethel Heights, Big Table Farm, Brandborg, Bridgeview, Brooks, Chehalem, David Hill, Dr. Loosen, Elk Cove, Foris, Fritz Haag, Hyland Estates, Illahe, James Rahn, Jasper Sisco, Lemelson, Love & Squalor, Mad Violets, Maximin Gru?nhaus,Memaloose, Meredith Love, Methven, Montinore, Ovum, Robert Weil, Pacific Rim, Pastoral Cellars, Ransom, Teutonic, Tartan Cellars, Trisaetum, Villa Wolf, Viento Wines, and Walnut City Wine Works.