Just why Arizona’s winemakers picked Riesling as one of the first grapes to cultivate years back is one of those questions that remains unanswered. For sure, it’s not because of the cold climate. The soil may be it, but nothing definite there either.
While the Rieslings of Germany fight for life on steep slopes facing a late summer dying sun and early frosts; their Arizona counterparts enjoy an intense sun with frosts holding off until much later in the year.
But nonetheless there they are, Rieslings that can be found all through the state’s growing regions and with an array of flavors that can fool even the best tasters. To add to the confusion, they have been blended with Chardonnay, Viognier, and even Sauvignon Blanc. Oh yeah, that will keep ‘em guessing.
However, in recent years it has become easier to find Arizona grown unblended Rieslings that exhibit more of the traditional German character but still with a few things in there that make them uniquely AZ. One of the best examples of this so far this year is Coronado Vineyards’ Riesling.
It represents a genuine excursion into German territory with a nicely balanced mix of citrus, acidity, and traces of sweetness. In fact, their 2012 wine is even on the dry side for a Riesling and is very much like a Troken where their 2011 Reserve Riesling is much more like a Kabinett in character.
If you like Rieslings, just that fact that Coronado is offering them can be a great reason visit their tasting room in Willcox (open every day). The flavors are quite recognizable and will offer the same food pairing versatility as the German varieties.
Better still, their 2012 vintage is priced at $20 making it quite reasonable. It’s easily ordered over the phone and shipped to Arizona addresses. They may also have stock available at selected retail outlets, but you will have to call (520.384.2993) to find out if and where.
Serve well chilled after an hour in the fridge (45-50 degrees) and you will find an excellent pair with Mexican appetizers! And just to say it again, why more Mexican restaurants don’t offer Rieslings (especially AZ ones) on their menus, is a mystery. They pair with spicy entrees just as well as a Margarita!