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Washington Riesling vs. German Riesling

Cole Sisson at The Local Vine is the creator of a unique series of showdowns between wines vinted from the same varietal.  One made in Washington and one made in elsewhere in the world.  The hook?  Besides being the same varietal the wines also are made by the same winemaker visiting Washington from somewhere else in the world.   One week ago yesterday, Nancy, Roger and I experienced the Riesling showdown.  Riesling wine created by the same winemaker.  One wine made in Washington, and one wine made in Germany.

(Cue the boxing ring announcer – “Ladies and Gentlemen . . .”)

Ernst Loosen Washington Riesling v. Ernst Loosen German Riesling

Armin Diel Washington Riesling v. Armin Diel German Riesling

In front of us were four glasses with four different Rieslings.  The names of the wines and winemakers were provided along with alcohol content, but it was up to us to identify which glass held which Riesling.Four glasses with four different Rieslings.

Ernst Loosen

  • Dr. Loosen, 2007 Riesling Spatlese, Graacher Himmelreich, Mosel Germany
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica, 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley, WA

Armin Diel

  • Long Shadows Vintners Poets Leap, 2008 Riesling, Columbia Valley, WA
  • Schlossgut Diel, 2008 Riesling Kabinett, Dorsheimer Goldloch, Nach Germany

After sniffing, swirling, sniffing and tasting, the best I could identify was the nationality – which two wines were from Germany and which two were made in Washington.   Others enjoying the showdown fared better identifying the wines, others did worse.

The Washington Rieslings were drier, showed less fruit and more minerality.  The German Rieslings were a bit more complex and creamier on the palate.  The showdown provided Roger with the opportunity to learn that the smell of petrol in a wine can be a good thing.  Cole surprised us with a fifth Riesling – a 1990 Schloss Schonborn Hattenheimer Nussbrunnan Rheingau Riesling.   The Rheingau was golden, delicious, even more complex, and highlighted the aging potential of Rieslings.

The series, WA v. TheWorld,  continued last night, Feb. 15, with the Antinori & Folonairi families, Italian winemakers also making wine in Washington.  Unfortunately, I was not in attendance.  If you were there, chime in and let us know about the showdown.

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