Beast 2012 Wallula Vineyard Sphinx Riesling, Horse Heaven Hills, $25

beast-wallula-vineyard-sphinx-riesling-2012-labelButy Winery in Walla Walla created this brand as a way to explore new varieties and vineyards, and this racy Riesling comes from the biodynamic block at what may be the most dramatic vineyard in the Pacific Northwest. Chris Dowsett, who knows Gewürztraminer as well as anyone in the region, shows his skill with Riesling. Harvest came Nov. 5 with the sugars at just 21 brix, and 40% of the lot was fermented in neutral French oak. The ride is fascinating with huge tropical aromas of POG Nectar and jasmine as well as stone fruit such as peach and apple. The mouth-filling drink focuses on orange, lime and Granny Smith apple with a scrape of flint. There’s essentially no sweetness with the residual sugar at a miniscule 0.1%, and that neutral oak fermentation accounts for the hint of almond in the finish. Look for this at restaurants and wine shops that are serious about the exploration of Riesling.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 211 cases

Alcohol: 12.2%


Author: Noble Riesling

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