Let’s get this out of the way before we start! Riesling, by most standards, is considered a sweet and almost dessert-style wine. Quite often begin shunned by most “serious” wine drinkers, with ridiculous rhetoric like “sugar water” and “soda pop”! But let me tell you a quick story that hopefully might cause you to think about Riesling in a different light!
Many moons ago (2006), after I sat my Certified Sommelier exam, I got chatting with a few of the adjudicating Master Sommeliers over a casual glass of Champagne. Imagine how stunned I was when after I asked “…which styles of wine do you have the greatest quantity of in your personal cellars at home?”. They all unanimously answered “Riesling.”
Who would have thought? Not Bordeaux, or Burgundy, or some secret wine-producing country that only Master Somm’s know about. No. Riesling was their wine of choice!
The Hogue family has been farming their little hearts out in Washington’s Columbia Valley for over 60 years. Riesling were the first vines planted there in 1979.
Riesling, when made right, can be one of the purest expressions of a grape. This on the basis that the wine doesn’t go through a huge degree of manipulation by the winemaker with different crazy fermentations, heavy oak aging, and other processes which make a wine taste like something it’s not supposed to. The best Riesling’s are just grapes, fermented, in a bottle.
Hogue is one of Washington’s largest wineries, with a production of over 650,000 cases.
The vineyards in Washington State sit at latitudes of 46° and 47°, approximately the same as the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France.
The Columbia Valley region is actually shared between both Oregon and Washington State. The region contains about one third of Washington’s wineries.
Due to how far north Washington is, they normally receive up to two more hours of sunlight each day during the grape growing season than California. More sun means more flavor development in each grape, potentially.
Columbia Valley is a HUGE wine growing region, covering 11 million sq acres (that’s over 17,000 square miles in non-farmer speak). Only about 17,000 acres (26 sq miles) are planted to vines.
I get gasoline-esque aromas on the Hogue Genesis 2008 Riesling, which so many people find a turn-off, but I happen to like! The sugar is restrained, and it’ll be a surprise to most how dry the Hogue is. Pear and green apple flavors dominate, with orange and a little lime mingled in. Strong minerality, and a short-medium finish. I likey, but would be better with food.
Whatever you want! Seriously. Pairing-wise, I don’t think this wine would do harm to anything you match it with. Riesling’s in this style are about as versatile as it gets. 12.6% alcohol also means that hot (spicy) foods followed by a sip of the Genesis won’t set your taste buds on fire!