Cupcake Vineyards Riesling 2011 Pfalz

This German import is sold under the Cupcake label but is bottled in Germany by a company given the designation D-RP – 907 009.   That’s a sexy name for a winery, isn’t it?  After some digging, it appears to me that the responsible party is likely one J.F. Brems GmbH in Zell.  A small town of roughly 4,300 residents situated on the Mosel River, Zell is best known for another wine.  One I remember my mother buying and sipping when I was just a little tyke.  Zell is the home of the Zeller Schwarze Katz.  But this particular bottle is not a Schwarze Katz selection, it is a Qualitätswein Riesling from Pfalz.

Winemaker:  Cupcake Vineyards
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Pfalz
Price:  $10.99 at Whole Foods

Notes:  The color was bright golden yellow.  The bouquet held scents of tart apple and fragrant peach.  Alcohol was at 10.5% in this Pfalz white that was light-bodied and somewhat low in acidity.  Flavors I tasted centered around a core of tart apple.  Not green apple, but more of a Braeburn type sweet and tart.   I also caught hints of peach and a touch of lemongrass on the finish.  Clearly, given the flavor profile I’ve listed, this wine is not devoid of acidity.  I just think that a tad more would have given it the play-on-the-tongue quality that I enjoy in my favorite Rieslings.  If your preference is for something a little more mannerly … well, here you go!   It isn’t overly complex and the price is reasonable, so it’s a decent candidate to pair with a relaxed meal – maybe a lightly spicy vegetable stir fry or a quick pan-fried pork chop.

Zell on the Mosel

Amtrak’s Coast Starlight – A Different Kind of Wine Train

I recently learned that Sleeping Car passengers on two Amtrak routes – the Coast Starlight and Empire Builder – are offered a complimentary wine and cheese tasting.  Maintaining a certain balance and harmony with the travel, the wine and cheese selections Amtrak serves are chosen from areas and locales along the respective routes.  The Coast Starlight is a route between Seattle and LA.  Washington and California?  Those are two of the best known and most productive wine regions in the United States.  Now you see what I mean about this being a different kind of wine train!  So … what can you get in a Sleeping Car on the Coast Starlight?  The wines available are Summerland Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel, J Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon, Wente Riverbank Riesling, Firesteed Pinot Gris, Hogue Genesis Syrah, Milbrandt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Traditions Series, and Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling.

As I live in the eastern U.S., I probably won’t have the chance to experience the Coast Starlight in the very near future.  I would love to, of course.  Can you imagine the scenery passengers are treated to?  [You won’t see it if you’re sleeping, though.  Ha!]  No, that experience will just have to go onto my bucket list.  Instead, for now I will have to content myself with grabbing one of the wines on their menu and doing a wine tasting of my own while I daydream about it all.  Well … it’s better than nothing!

Winemaker:  Chateau Ste. Michelle
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Columbia Valley, Washington
Price:  $12.99

Notes:  The color of this Riesling was literally a barely-there wash of pale yellow.  I smelled pear and citrus in the bouquet.  This was a light-bodied wine, and the acidity was quite bright.  In fact, there was a very light effervescence to this wine as it first hit the tongue.  I like that in a Riesling.  Alcohol comes in at 11.5% on this Chateau Ste. Michelle selection which makes it a bit sweet.  Thus, you get a back-and-forth on the palate between the acidity and residual sugar – tart and sweet.  Flavors for me were pear and citrus with some hints of kiwi.  On the finish I got a nice zing of lemongrass.  At times – in particular as the wine warmed – the sweetness was very present.  I also tasted some peach as the wine lost it’s chill.  All in all, it was most definitely a pleasant wine.  I could certainly see this paired nicely with a young cheese or (because of the sweet component) with some spicy Asian food.  After all, there are several dishes at my favorite Thai restaurant that include lemongrass.

By the way, this post is a response to the first in a series of wine-blogger challenges.  The Drunken Cyclist threw down the gauntlet and called on us to write a wine blog post around the theme of transportation.  Finally, if you’re interested in taking a trip on the Coast Starlight, here is the Current Schedule.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

Williamsburg Winery Governor’s White 2011

This is a winery that has some serious history behind it.  You know that wine-making in the U.S. started in Virginia.  Right?  After all, the Twelfth Acte of 1619 required that each settler plant at least 10 vines on his property for the purpose of making wine.  A few years later — a mere 369 years — the first Governor’s White from Williamsburg Winery was released.

While this is not one of the wines I brought home from Vintage Virginia 2013, I thought it would be a good time to sample this offering from one of the largest players in the Virginia wine industry.  They were at the festival, but they weren’t pouring this particular wine.  Instead, I bought this at my neighborhood grocery store.  That being said, the label clearly indicates that this wine is available in Virginia only.  Bummer!  You can buy it direct from the winery, but they only ship to 19 States plus D.C.

Winemaker:  Williamsburg Winery
Wine:  Governor’s White
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Virginia
Price:  $11.49

Notes:  This Virginia Riesling is a pretty pale yellow in the glass.  On the nose I got scents of apple and peach.  On the tongue this was a light-bodied white with good acidity.  Flavors for me were plentiful peach with green apple, some hints of pear and apple peel on the finish.  It’s brisk while providing plenty of fruit flavor.  Alcohol is at 12.5% which gives this Governor’s White a light sweetness without it becoming cloying.  On the tart-versus-sweet-o-meter, I’d put this one down more on the tart side (but not tremendously so).  Of course, that’s right in the strike zone for my taste buds.  I enjoyed it.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.

J Lohr Riesling 2011

This time I went with a California Riesling.

Winemaker:  J Lohr
Wine:  Bay Mist White Riesling
Varietal:  Riesling
Vintage:  2011
Appellation:  Monterey County, California
Price:  $8.99

Notes:  Interestingly, this wine is a blend of 92% White Riesling, 6% Gewurztraminer and 2% Orange Muscat.  It was a pale yellow in the glass, and I got scents of apple and citrus in the bouquet.  On the palate the wine has a very light effervescence.  Flavors for me were primarily apple and lime with peach notes.  There was grass on the finish and some light hints of spice as well.  Alcohol is at 13.1% – dry by comparison with most Rieslings.  Acidity seemed fine but not as bright as with others I’ve had.  Overall, it’s a pleasant wine.

Important: I am not a professional sommelier or wine connoisseur.  See “About” for the full disclaimer.