Linda Murphy has named our series of Single Vineyards as the wine of the year on Wine Review Online (Linda is also the corresponmdant for Jancis Robinson on the West Coast). Thank you so much Linda, a great honor.
Below are Linda’s comments on the wines:
Wines of the Year: Pacific Rim Single-Vineyard Rieslings 2007 Columbia Valley, Washington
I’m cheating in picking not one but three new, single-vineyard Rieslings from Randall Grahm’s Pacific Rim winery in Washington state’s Columbia Valley, yet they are most impressive as a group, showing Grahm’s commitment (and that of his Pacific Rim general manager/winemaker, Nicolas Quillé), to producing outstanding Riesling in Washington. Chateau Ste. Michelle and Long Shadows’ Poet’s Leap wineries have been doing that for some time, though having another player is good for the neighborhood and for consumers.
Pacific Rim’s ‘regular’ Rieslings come in dry and sweet versions and are fruity, quaffable blends from multiple Columbia Valley vineyards, selling for around $8. The Solstice Vineyard in Yakima Valley and Wallula Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills sub-appellations are the sources for the new range of Pacific Rim Riesling — one from Solstice and two from Wallula, of which one is made from biodynamically grown grapes. All are sealed with screw caps.
Pacific Rim, Yakima Valley (Washington) Solstice Vineyard Riesling 2007 ($30): This is the sweetest of the three wines, with 1.14 percent residual sugar, yet it remains dry on the palate. Stony and nutty on the nose, the wine crackles in the mouth with lime and grapefruit, with some spicy baked apple and richness on the finish. It’s crisp and refreshing, clocking in at 13.5% alcohol. 89
Pacific Rim, Columbia Valley (Washington) Wallula Vineyard Riesling 2007 ($18): This wine tastes bone-dry (the residual sugar percentage is 0.9) and has an inviting honeysuckle aroma with a flash of minerality. It starts out rather austere, with earthy notes and racy citrus and white peach flavors. There’s some creaminess and tropical fruit in the mid-palate, and the wine closes with mouthwatering acidity — tart and minerally. This wine is delicious now, yet two or three more years in bottle should unleash some secondary complexity. Another plus: it has just 12.3% alcohol by volume. Note that Wallula Vineyard is in the Horse Heaven Hills American Viticultural Area, although the front label reads ‘Columbia Valley.’ 91
Pacific Rim, Columbia Valley (Washington) Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling 2007 ($30): Produced from a young, 145-acre, certified biodynamic plot at Wallula Vineyard, this floral, flinty Riesling has pure, focused Meyer lemon, citrus pith and white-peach fruit notes. It’s dry (.76% residual sugar) though slightly plumper than the non-biodynamic wine above, and layers of flavor continue to unfold through a long finish. A pleasant leesiness adds complexity. It, too, will benefit from cellaring, for up to five years for those who like more mature Riesling. 13% alcohol. 92