I am a Thirsty Girl. (And something about Riesling.)
It’s been about 2 months since my last ridiculous psuedo-dinner party (real dinner parties tend to include dinner….) though lucky for me, I stumbled across Thirsty Girl a few months ago, and jumped onto their ever-expanding list of Twitter followers. The women-led organization, which aims to connect wine-loving ladies across the globe invited me to taste & tweet during their monthly TGTaste event–and since when do I turn down uncorking a bottle or three?
On the docket were 3 Washington State rieslings, from the well-known Chateau Ste. Michelle, which has been producing a wide range of rieslings for over 20 years.
I’m normally a drinker of Alsatian and German rieslings, but I’m always open to giving the home team a shot. What excites me most about this ancient white vine is its versatility–riesling can pair with bacon-wrapped scallops or honey-almond goat cheese; set-your-mouth-on-FIRE Indian curry, or a mild fruit dessert. (WHOA.) Part of the pairing magic stems from the fact that most wines don’t vary as widely as rieslings do in the bottle–they range from Sahara-desert dry to sickly sweet.
Since I try not to down 3-bottles solo (that’s just bad for my self-esteem), I invited over all my friends a very sophisticated tasting panel to try out Chateau Ste. Michelle alongside a range of riesling-friendly foods.
I’ll let the pictures describe the food:
Honey-almond goat cheese & dipping buddies
Spicy Thai chicken satays with peanut sauce
Sauteed asparagus with pine nuts & bacon
Like many of my parties, that’s how it started…and then there were bottles. Read on.
Round 1: 2011 Dry Riesling ($9)
We started the tasting off with the Chateau’s driest delight, the 2011 Dry Riesling. Tiny, effervescent bubbles flirted with my tastebuds, which was a nice surprise after scents of pear and apricot–definitely a springtime wine. Everyone agreed it was a good solo-sipper, though we found it could easily be overpowered by some of the foods our menu.
Round 2: 2010 Eroica Riesling ($20)
Not only did this bad boy have a totally different label (read: cool kid status)–it was completely different from the first riesling. No flirtatious bubbles here; just smoother, sweeter and seriously citrusy. This held up against our spicy Thai chicken satays, and was also a nice companion to the goat cheese.
Round 3: 2011 Harvest Select Sweet Riesling ($10)
And they call it sweet for a reason! This wine was like Barefoot Moscato on steriods–really sweet, but with complex peachy fruitiness that dares you to finish the bottle instead of eating dessert.
I’d say it’s a good sign the tasting panel fell asleep on my couch, especially since they left me one last glass.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Uncorked:
Laura Loves: The versatility of Rieslings.
Making gourmet goat cheese by mixing plain cheese with decadent additions (It’s like Cold Stone Creamery for cheese–try honey, pistachios, dried cranberries, or whatever you have in the fridge).
The fun “Sweet-o-Meter” on the back of Chateau ste. Michelle bottles. It’s cute, and makes picking a wine you like easier.
Fun Facts: Eroica Rieslings are a combined effort between Chateau Ste. Michelle & a German winemaker from the Mosel.
Chateau Ste. Michelle is the oldest winery in Washington, established just after Prohibition.
Most Memorable Tweet Awards:
Ashely Scott, taster/fashion photographer on Late Harvest: After a 14 day this is the only thing sweeter than sitting down.
Cool kid disclaimer: Sometimes I get free wine, and I write about it. Sometimes I get free wine, and I don’t write about it. This wine might have been free, but nobody’s paying me to lie about it. Cheers.