While the thought of that omnipresent ‘blue bottle’ Riesling from Germany brings an upturned nose from many, for others the price and the flavor are exactly what they are looking for in this sugar crazed community. Yet one of the often overlooked ideas for our traditional ham dinner this Sunday is an off dry Riesling. So what to do with wanting to provide an interesting wine that those who run from Riesling would appreciate what to do, might I suggest the “Borealis” from Montinore Estate in the Williamette Valley of Oregon. For this review I sampled the 2012 vintage a combination of four grapes; 36% Muller-Thurgau, 30% Riesling, 20% Gewürztraminer and 14% Pinot Gris. An added plus for some is the winemaker uses organic grapes grown according to biodynamic standards.
A light gold color in the glass the aroma is peach, honey and some spice from the Gewurztraminer. Very pleasant to spend some time with, but be aware that this is not a bouquet that explodes out of the glass, instead it rewards those who take the time to swirl and appreciate the subtle layering in the glass. Like the nose, the flavor profile is not a smack you in the face character, but the peach, pear, pineapple and lime must be teased out of a round bodied feel in the mouth. The sweetness is there, but the lime and spicy character with a touch of acidity at the end keeps this wine from being cloying and overdone.
Serve this wine well chilled to keep it from becoming ‘flabby’ and take the time to savor in your mouth; to see how the flavors unfold as it warms. A good standalone choice the weight will stand up to meat, the sugar will play well with salty flavors and the finish will provide a note of finality and palate cleansing that draws you back to the glass. Can you guess where I am headed with this? Ham, baked, grilled or sliced and fried would all go well and would be sure to bring nods of approval to those who believe a Riesling is just too sweet for them.
The 2012 “Borealis” White is not widely available, I found my bottle at Ada’s Natural Market, expect to pay $13 to $15 no matter where you buy it and while not all that inexpensive compared to most wines reviewed in this space it packs a lot of value into a bottle. Well made, subtle and layered, good alone, great with a meal I heartily recommend giving it a try.