Riesling is great stuff, either you love it or you are wrong. Given the screaming peaks of brilliance it can attain it seems a shame that such a relatively small proportion of growers manage to extract the best from it. I have tried Brooks Riesling from the Willamette Valley in Oregon in the past and feel they are well on the way to getting the recipe sussed.
The Ara Riesling is not a single vineyard but a selection of the best barrels from the estates oldest vineyards. The quality of the grapes does show, and the wine-making style is a good one, it is just a bit of a shame that wines from the USA seem to become rather expensive by the time they make it to Blighty.
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Riesling ‘Ara’ 2008, Brooks
The nose throbs with powerful apple fruit of a type that reminds me quite a lot of some decent German Rieslings – it really is remarkably fruity. The mineral character, that I am very pleased to detect, is not German in style, though, it is a creamy-stoniness much like that of Alsace Rieslings. So the nose is good and complex, but does have a hint of DID[ref]Disassociative Identity Disorder – split personality.[/ref] about it. The palate is fiercely dry, nothing wrong with that, and terrifyingly acidic, which is what we definitely want in a quality Riesling. I like my Rieslings to hurt a bit and this does make my stomach wince. It has a balanced amount of apple fruit and not a hint of confection or alcoholic excess. There is stony complexity as well, which harmonises very well with the dry, savoury character of the palate. Yes, it is very dry and as direct as an irked Frenchman, but it is a rather pleasing example of this style of Riesling. Ultimately I like it and I would recommend lovers of the grape try it. However, given the premium one pays for US wine in the UK compared to the much lower fun token outlay required across the pond I’d suggest my local readers just score one bottle for edification and enlightenment, whilst any American followers get a several for more regular drinking (especially with scallops or lobster, I’d suggest). In the UK you can get it from Stone, Vine and Sun.