The Rise of Oregon Riesling

Is it the new Pinot Noir?

Wines Tasted

2008 Amity Dry Riesling Willamette Valley

The soil-rich nose has notes of red dusty earth and dried flowers accenting apricot fruit. Clean in the mouth with a light and lean texture that highlights the gentle nature of the mineral-tinged white fruits of the mid-plate and clean, zesty lime finish. 88pts

2008 Amity Riesling Willamette Valley

Quite mineral driven on the nose with a waxy edge to the slightly dried yellow fruit tones. Light on entry with mineral tones and a pithy edge to the light, fresh citrus fruits tones up front which turn more towards green apple on the back end. Cleansing acids drive through the fresh finish. 88pts

2008 Brooks Riesling Willamette Valley

Aromatically, this shows a touch of evolution with a hint of kerosene accenting the nutty, herb, and green tea-tinged bitter orange fruit. A touch soft on entry with a hint of bitterness accenting the lightly orchard-toned fruit of the mid-palate. More green apple and lime on the powerful finish that is driven by some sneaky acidity. 90pts

2008 Chehalem Dry Riesling Reserve Willamette Valley

Slatey on the nose with a touch of honey accenting the apricot and papaya seed aromas. Lean and focused in the mouth with fine balance giving this a balanced richness. This has an almost spicy edge to the sweet orchard fruits on the mid-palate and almost a hint of pithy bitterness giving this excellent tension right through the long finish.  91pts

2008 Chehalem Corral Creek Riesling Chehalem Mountains

Smoky quartz tones on the nose over a gentle floral character all floating above the core of white peach and lime fruits. On entry this seems a bit flat but quickly gains focus and has a deceptive richness built on a spicy, mineral character. The core of fruit is built around fine citrus notes with a touch of exotic blueberry adding some complexity. Finishes with fine acid cut and a nice firmness. 91pts

2007 Daedalus Maresh Vineyard Riesling Dundee Hills $$$

A complex nose, somewhat herbal and organic smelling with a touch of cinnamon accenting the waxy yellow fruits. Lean and fresh in the mouth with mineral water top notes over a woodsy, earthy core of pithy orange and grapefruit flavors. Different yet appealing. 88pts

2008 Lemelson Dry Riesling Willamette Valley $$$

Dusty on the nose with light mineral tones over a core of dried flowers and fresh-cut green apples. Relatively sweet and round on the palate with peachy fruit and a touch of almond milk on the mid-palate that returns to more peachy fruit on the modest finish. 86pts

2008 Penner Ash Riesling Willamette Valley

Floral on the nose with rich honeysuckle notes and deep notes of honeycomb. Remarkably floral. Very fruity on the palate with rich golden raspberry tones and a touch of steely minerality that gives this a nice underlying bitter tension. This seems to have a touch of tannin. Very interesting if somewhat unusual Riesling. 88pts

2008 Ponzi Riesling Chehalem Mountains/Dundee Hills $$

Very complex on the nose with really layered notes of dried flowers, herbs and minerals over light fruit ones. Very lean in the mouth yet very fruit driven with intensely floral inner mouth perfumes with a core of sweet peach fruit that hints at honeycomb. This is really lovely yet stumbles a bit on the relatively short, uncomplicated finish. 88pts

2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Dry Riesling Willamette Valley

Showing a bit of evolution on the nose with a touch of petrol and very dry, dusty earth over light lemon ice fruit tones. This smells very Riesling.  Downright austere in the mouth, bone dry with clear, uncomplicated mineral laden yellow berry fruit. There’s a touch of banana peel on the backend and a hint of evolved, oxidative character as well but those yield to a really strict, tight, austere, acid driven finish. Really dry and probably too dry for many but if you like this style this is excellent. 90pts

2009 A to Z Riesling Oregon $$$

Nutty on the nose with an earthy quality, more like water chestnut. Sweet on entry with good acid balance though this remains noticeably sweet with simple lime fruits and a clumsy finish. 84pts

2009 Anam Cara Riesling Chehalem Mountains $$$

Smoky and earthy on the nose with a touch of toasty nut meat and a hint of porcini spice over dried lime peels.  Nice tension in the mouth, which carries on with a slightly earthy edge to the rich citrus tones. There are nice floral tones in the mouth and an edge of persimmon on the moderately long finish. The sugar here is barely perceptible, just adding roundness in the mouth. 88pts

2008 Argyle Riesling Eola-Amily Hills $$$

Quincy on the nose and slightly vegetal like aloe with an astringent, almost rubbery edge. Broad yet shallow in the mouth with good acid/sugar balance but this is a bit dull and heavy without much detail and finishing a bit heavy in the mouth with lightly tropical fruit notes. 82pts

2008 Brandborg Riesling Umpqua $$

Lean smelling with layered notes of crisp apple fruit under white floral tones and hints of river stones. Sweet on entry but very Kabinett-like with good acidity and a lovely, light bodied feel. The citrus and green apple fruit is very pure and clean feeling with some fine edge details of herbs and flowers adding nice complexity and offering good persistence right through the very refreshing and moderately long finish. 91pts

2008 Brooks Ara Eola Hills/Yamhill

Shows some evolution on the nose, which is rather green toned with notes of green plum, flowers, and lightly green spice tones. Fairly rich and well balanced in the mouth with enough acid to keep from being weighty on the palate. Some of the green plum character on the palate as well wit more of a sweet citrus tone that is driven through the moderately long finish, which shows a nice touch of nut meat sweetness on the finale. 90pts

2008 Elk Cove Riesling Yamhill-Carlton

Very Riesling on the nose with very white floral tones and lacy soil tones over cool, crisp citrus fruits. Lacks a bit of integration on the green apple, lime and peach. On the finish this really shows excellent depth of fruit with intense acid driven peach flavors. This needs some time to better knit together but has all the components to be exceptional. 93pts

2008 Hawk's View Riesling Chehalem Mountains

Shows subtly evolved notes of waxiness to the tropical fruit tones aromatics. Zesty on entry and well balanced with a nice earthy honeycomb edge to the apple fruit. Lacks a bit of freshness in the mouth with notes of clay and thistle adding some complexity. 86pts

2007 Kings Ridge Riesling Oregon $$

Chalky on the nose with a touch of leafy, stemmy vegetal tones. Sweet and flat in the mouth with candied fruit flavors and a somewhat clumsy feel. 80pts

2008 Trisaetum Off-Sweet Ribbon Ridge

Very complex and yet at the same time very subtle with notes of dusty earth, fresh cut fruits, very rambutan-like with a complex tropical fruit tone. Slinky on the palate with noticeably sweetness but fine acid balance as well. The flavors are also fairly subtle here but the texture is seductive with the soft white fruit flavors gliding across the palate. The finish is moderately long but quite perfumed. 91pts

2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling Willamette Valley

Earthy and floral on the nose, recalling green tea. Huge acids right up front are brought into balance by the noticeable sugar. The fruit flavors of apricot, red apple peels and citron are intense yet cut with a fine mineral edge. The finish is long and quite firmly structured with an attractive brightness to the fruit. 92pts

2008 Viento Riesling Colombia Gorge

A simple nose with gentle fruit tones but notes of dusty earth give this an almost muddy quality. Round and soft in the mouth with simple fruit and a short finish. 80pts

2009 Brooks Sweet P Eola-Amity Hills

At first floral on the nose but then turning quite sweetly citrussy with note of meyer lemon and lemon verbena accented with a hint of green onion. Sweet on entry but with plenty of acid adding cut and focus. Nice fruit flavors right up front and the wine gains focus on the mid-palate coming off not as big as expected with soft honey toned, green tea scented peach and kumquat fruit tones. The moderate finish has a nice refreshing acid wash and more, slightly pithy kumquat tones. 91pts

2009 Elk Cove Late Harvest Riesling Willamette Valley $$$/375ml

Intensely floral on the nose with clean lemon blossom notes that smells fresh but not sweet. Sweet on entry but with excellent balancing acidity giving this nice tension on the palate. It is fairly viscous, with flavors of over-ripe red apple and strawberry fruits that turn a touch spicy on the slightly sticky finish.  85pts

2009 Chehalem Sext Riesling Willamette Valley $$$/375ml

A bit meaty on the nose rich with dried fruits and nut meats, though a touch of sulfur gives this a bit of funk. Lots of trapped CO2 gives this persistence effervescence. Rich with sweet orchard fruits on the mid-palate edged with complicating notes of honey and lime, this nonetheless is a bit thick and heavy. It is an unusual dessert wine, and one that I would like to try again. 90pts

2007 Montinore Sweet Reserve Riesling Willamette Valley

A big chive element greets the nose and is joined by astringent green fruits, green apple peels and notes of green coriander. Sweet and simple on the palate with a touch of bitterness setting off the somewhat baked apple fruit. Thick and heavy on the finish without much detail or clarity. 83pts

$    Under $10
$$    $10-$17
$$$    $17-$25
$$$$    $25-$40
$$$$$    Above $40

prev 1 2

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Masaryk
    71775 16

    Two of the best examples of Oregon Riesling are:

    2009 Couer de Terre Riesling
    2009 Schöne Schlucht Riesling

    They might be smaller production than the above mentioned wines, but aren't those the ones that really show the potential?

    Aug 24, 2010 at 3:16 PM

  • Snooth User: Masaryk
    71775 16

    Oh, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention also:

    2007 Hillcrest Riesling DRY “Orsatian”

    Southern Oregon Riesling at its finest.

    Aug 24, 2010 at 3:23 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 201,894

    Would love to try them. Look forward to searching them out next time I'm in the region.


    Aug 24, 2010 at 4:34 PM

  • Snooth User: Drea23
    563427 1

    Williamette Valley Vineyard has an amazing Riesling. Every time I go home to Oregon to visit, I have to go by the winery and pick up a few bottles.

    Aug 24, 2010 at 6:51 PM

  • Snooth User: dewman
    102018 6

    I went into my local vintner last month and asked for a dry riesling. He had 3, and I selected the 2008 Foris Vineyards Riesling. It was good stuff.

    Aug 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,028

    Good, useful overview, Greg. Haven't had any Oregon rieslings in a while, but I'll be keeping my eye out for some of the Elk Cove, Chehelem and Willamette VV versions you mention....

    Aug 24, 2010 at 7:13 PM

  • Snooth User: realfish
    558339 16

    Don't forget the Finger Lakes in upstate NY when you think of rieslings, Herman Weimer has been producing a great riesling for decades!

    Aug 24, 2010 at 8:30 PM

  • Snooth User: rrosen47
    369881 1

    The top of the list should include Alsace Rieslings - Seppi Landmann is an excellent producer.

    Aug 25, 2010 at 12:19 AM

  • may I recommend a reisling from Wairarapa, New Zealand.

    Aug 27, 2010 at 6:58 PM

  • Snooth User: hoges
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    573364 10

    riesling the new great white !!

    Sep 06, 2010 at 8:58 PM

  • Snooth User: sarhay618
    180148 5

    Can anyone recommend rieslings from Michigan? I am going to be traveling along the coast of Lake Michigan soon and want to know if there are any good stops along the way?

    Sep 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM

  • Snooth User: Barryd389
    451822 1

    You're missing out on Riesling if you haven't gone through 15-20 Michigan's upper-lower penninsula's offerings. Just look at the big the California Wine Competitions' results over the past couple of years. They'll compete with the Pac Rim's offerings any day.

    Sep 23, 2010 at 4:38 PM

  • Snooth User: bpkrug1
    585913 6

    Qualitaswein Mit Pradikat, Spatlese or Auslese, German Reisling from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, aside, there are many very good Reislings available on the market. Two, of my three, current farvorite Reislings, come from California. The first, the 2007, 'Raddog', California Reisling, is just $6.99/bottle. This wine has a classic Reisling nose, and a slight amount of residual sugar, that is balanced by refreshing acidity. Delicious! The second, from the 2008 vintage, is vinted and bottled, by 'Bogle Vineyards', a winery out of Clarksburg, California. This wine received a 98 point score from the commercial wine judges, at the California State Fair. Just $7.99/bottle, with peach/apricot flavors, and a good acid level, that balances it's refreshing finish. Neither, wil be perceived as dry. However, if dry is what your looking for, try the 2009, 'Pewsey Vale', Eden Valley, Dry Reisling from South Australia. This wine is a bit pricey, at $14.99/bottle, but offers aromatics, that, though not Germanic in character, are still a very good representation of the diverse Reisling grape. It's a lot tougher to make a good dry Reisling, than one with residual sugar, and still keep both your nose and palate interested. This wine was grown in a vineyard established in 1847, by Joseph Gilbert, who initally planted 16 acres with various grape varieties that included Reisling. A good wine with historical significance. I was fortuneate to taste my first Reisling at the, 'Charles Krug Winery', in Napa Valley, in 1962. Together with my fraternal grandfather, my uncle, my father, and my two older brothers, I was invited to a private railway car next to the tasting room, for a extra special tasting of all their wines. Something I will never forget. I appreciate the comments in this forum, despite the fact that I haven't seen Reisling bottlings from either the Finger Lakes, or the the Michigan penninsula available in northern California. I would welcome the experience.

    Sep 24, 2010 at 4:21 AM

  • Snooth User: HRCarey
    603807 1

    Arcane Cellars Riesling was Best of the Bite in Portland this year. It's estate fruit and delicious.

    Oct 07, 2010 at 2:46 PM

  • Snooth User: Good Works Wine Club
    Hand of Snooth
    799422 20

    One of the best is Winfield Estate Semi-Dry Riesling which is a private label from Willamette Valley Vineyards mentioned above. You can only get it thru the Good Works Wine Club, go to their website. The price is right too.

    Mar 16, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals »

Daily Wine WisdomMore Wine Tips

Snooth Media Network