Episode #64 Three Riesling, Three States

What happens when you combine an earth friendly environmentally conscience Oregon wine with a winery steeped in California tradition and one kick ass rock-n-roll Kung Fu Girl from Washington? Well, you get today’s Riesling review. Nothing clever, just three Rieslings from three different regions in different price points.

The NectarView

2009 Charles Smith Wines Kung Fu Girl Riesling

Charles Smith and K Vintners labels are big, bold and catchy. Some may find the black and white images to be plain and klitchy but the focus of the label is the wine, not the winery. Charles Smith was the 2009 Food & Wine “Wine Maker of the Year.” The Kung Fu Girl is part of his Modernist Project.

  • The Stuff: 100% single vineyard Riesling from Columbia Valley; 100% stainless steel fermented and stored. Made in classic “Mosel-style” 1.41% residual sugar; 12.5%abv 
  • The Swirl: Is this sparkling wine. I think the Kung Fu girl did a round house on the pour and caused a bunch of little bubbles. The color is very light pale lemon in color. 
  • The Sniff: A fairly aromatic wine that presents nice flavors of peaches, apricots and a lime. With a deep sniff, I got a little heat too. 
  • The Sip: Good fruit presentation on the front palate with semi-sweet peaches and melon. There is a tart lemon-lime presentation at the end. I didn’t find the acidity to be off-putting but there was something in the finish that kept me from loving the wine.  
  • The Score: At only $12 retail, I can easily score this wine a 3+ out of 5. I would definitely buy it again. While I didn’t love the wine, I did like it and with the fun label and good flavors, it’s one you can trust to bring to a party!

Cellar Tracker Scores of 88pt with 12 reviews

2008 Smith Madrone Riesling

In a previous post I reviewed a Smith-Madrone Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Chardonnay was probably my favorite of that variety so far this year (through May). The Smith brothers are down to earth guys who seem to be staying true to their desire to make good wine that showcases their 30+ planted acres.

  • The Stuff: 100% estate fruit Riesling; 420 cases produced. The wine clocks in at .70% residual sugar (on the dry side) and 12.7%abv
  • The Swirl: Light pale yellow in color (darker than the Kung Fu Girl) with a clean crisp look
  • The Sniff: Very tight on the nose with hints of white flowers, guava or papaya fruit and slight wet stone.
  • The Sip: Well made wine that has an even flavor from front to back. While the flavor profile is not the most diverse, the flavors of papaya and lemon are very well done. A perfectly balanced acidity and good crisp finish round out the classic taste.
  • The Score: At $26 retail, I score this wine a 3+ out of 5. If you can find this wine under $20 it’s an easy score of 4.

Cellar Tracker scores of 90 from 9 reviews

Willamette Valley Vineyards 2008 Riesling

I’ve previously reviewed 3 Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir. During one review, their 2007 Signature Cuvee gave me hope that I could find Pinot that I loved. WVV is a vineyard that is leading the way in sustainable programs, recycling, and has a commitment to being carbon neutral in 2010. The Riesling reviewed below won best in class and judges choice in the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle wine awards.

  • The Stuff: 100% Riesling from Willamette Valley appellation. 100% stainless steel fermentation and storage. 20,000 cases made. 4.3% residual sugar and 10%abv
  • The Swirl:  A light lemon color with slight cloudiness and thick viscosity.
  • The Sniff: Very mellow aromas of perfume, petrol, and steel. Fruit is minimal on the nose but with hints of playful tropics.
  • The Sip: I would classify this in the range of semi-sweet. The sweet-o-meter on the bottle calls it Medium Sweet. The acidity on the back end is nice and washes the sweetness away so it doesn’t seem syrupy. Overall a very nice pre-dinner wine or paired with Asian-chicken, sushi, or curry dishes.
  • The Score: At $12 this is an exceptional wine. While I’m not a fan of sweet or semi-sweet wines, the quality and price of this wine drive it to a score of 4 out of 5. You can’t go wrong with this wine.

Check out these vidoes featuring Charles Smith and Smith Madrone


* Willamette VV and Smith Madrone were provided as industry samples



Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

6 comments on “Episode #64 Three Riesling, Three States

  1. Matt

    Nicely done- great choice of wines!

  2. Joe

    Suprised you didn’t give Washington some home-field “bonus” scoring :)

    Well done as always.

    1. drinknectar

      Whoa now, Joe – you’re making some serious acusations there, bro! I call em as I see em. Being made in the state of WA doesn’t always grant you special status…I can’t help it that the state makes some bitchin’ wine!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment. Have you hade any of these wines before?

  3. Melinda

    Hey Josh,
    I tried the Kung Fu Girl at Sean’s (www.wawinereport) virtual tasting last week. I felt it badly needed food with it. It had such an acidic finish. I do think it would pair well with some Coconut Shrimp w/Thai chili dipping sauce or a buttery lemon chicken.


    1. drinknectar

      Thanks, Melinda – I was tasting right along with you. This video was just a few days delayed from that. It’s a great QPR but would be good with the exact kind of food you described


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