First of all, don’t put your wine in the freezer. I don’t care how careful you claim you are going to be about getting it out before it freezes, it almost always ends in disaster. It was an almost this time, but seriously don’t risk it just to avoid that moment when you’re like “F*&% … MY WINE IS STILL IN THE FREEZER” and you’re like two miles away walking the dog imagining a frozen, broken bottle awaiting your return.
Anyway… Tonight, I did my second Skype tasting with my bff from back home, Shannon. She’s in New Hampshire so we had to choose a bottle that would be here and there. We chose a Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling basically at the same moment because we’re cool like that.
I have been to Chateau Ste Michelle’s Woodinville winery and it is a lovely, although a bit touristy, place with beautiful gardens and an enormous tasting room. When my husband and I were here in Seattle looking for an apartment my uncle Steve took us on a whirlwind Woodinville winery tour that began there. It was a seriously lovely day and one I would like to repeat when the sun shines again in the Pacific Northwest.
Where was I, again? Tasting.
Apparently Chateau Ste. Michelle is known for their Riesling. Also, apparently Riesling is not spelled Reisling, or so says spell check.
They say on their website,
“Chateau Ste. Michelle is perhaps best known as the leading North American Riesling producer. We have championed Riesling for more than 40 years, and were among the first to plant Riesling in Washington state. Ste. Michelle catapulted into the national spotlight when the 1972 Johannisberg Riesling won the now-famous Riesling blind tasting sponsored by the Los Angeles Times in 1974.”
Rieslings and I have a weird relationship. I want to like them, and for the first cool glass I do, but all in all they’re a little on the sweet side for me. I’ve had this bottle before, though, and it’s quite good, even when so cold it is almost frozen. (Which got us wondering… what is the ideal temperature for wine? According to the first website I pulled up, white wine should be served between 49 degrees and 56 degrees F.)
I tried a new tasting method this time which mostly ended with us laughing with our mouths full. But it might work if you don’t have a strong gag reflex… Basically, you hold the wine in your mouth for 60 seconds and look for different tastes as you go.
The editor of The Bible (Kevin Zraly… he’s getting to Mario Cuomo status in my hero book) does a 60 second wine expert tasting. Basically you look for different things at different intervals. I think this works better if you aren’t trying to time, signal that time is up and taste all with a mouthful of wine in 60 seconds. Very basically, in the first 15 you look for sweetness, then acidity, then you begin to form you opinion of the wine and finally you determine the complexity and look at the tannin and fruit balance. (1)
“Could be confused with Pinot Grigio.” -Shannon
“Slight citrus.” -Shannon
Not too overwhelming sweet. Pineapple. Tropical.
“Peach. Honey” -Shannon
There was very little acidity at this point and we were both really looking for it. The acidity seemed to occur later on.
Post swallowing the wine:
“Does your tongue feel weird?” -Me
“It’s like tingling.” -Shannon
I don’t know if it was the keeping-it-in-your-mouth-for-60-seconds thing or the wine, but our mouths were very tingly after. It was almost like holding a pineapple on your tongue. Or at least that was what I said at the time. Now that seems odd.
“Slightly tart finish. Crisp.” -Shannon
For me it was a little too sweet for my tastes and easy to drink and refreshing,
It’s a nice wine, especially for the price. Shannon gave it a 9, I gave it an 8. Great for dessert-type drink in my opinion. Also, Skype tastings are the best way to stay in touch. Mark my words, this is going to become a trend.
1. 1. Zraly, Kevin. “The Basics.” The Ultimate Wine Companion. Kevin Zraly. 2010: Sterling. Pg. 62-63.