International cuisine – from Asian to Middle Eastern to Mexican – requires a savvy wine that has pairing prowess, a world citizen of sorts.
Our wine-of-the-week winner – the Kung Fu Girl, 2016 Columbia Valley riesling – is definitely a wine without borders.
The riesling, priced at $12, marries well with food across the board because it has impeccable balance; it has great minerality and crisp acidity coupled with notes of white peach, apricot and lime.
This is a smart pick whether your feast focuses on foods from afar or celebrates traditional dishes.
“Lively acidity cuts through everything from roast turkey and acorn squash to creamy mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, providing a refreshing finish and kick- ass complexity along the way,” explained the unabashed vintner Charles Smith.
The founder and winemaker of Wines of Substance in Washington State is something of a global citizen himself. Smith, 56, spent the ’90s traveling throughout Europe managing rock bands, including the famed Danish duo, The Raveonettes. Wining and dining while on the road became a catalyst, and in 1999 he moved back to the United States, opening a wine shop on Bainbridge Island, just across Puget Sound from downtown Seattle.
“On a road trip in late 1999, I passed through the small town of Walla Walla and met a young Frenchman and winemaker named Charles Bieler and we later collaborated on an award-winning line of wines, Charles & Charles,” Smith said. “I was eventually convinced to move to Walla Walla and make my own juice. What started as selling wine out of the back of my Astro van has grown to become the largest independent winery in Washington state.
Smith has had no formal training as a winemaker, but he said he has 35 years of work experience, and he continues to reel in accolades. Wine & Spirits was one of the first to recognize his efforts in 2008 naming his winery one of the best in 10 years.
The well-traveled vintner said he’s a great fit to produce riesling.
“I have a profound love of the grape and a personal history spending time in the regions where those wines are produced, such as Germany and Austria.
What’s more, Smith likes the surprise in riesling.
“People think that all riesling is sweet, but that is just not the case,” he said. “Riesling is also one of the noble varietals and one of the most diverse and compelling wines in the world.”
THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING
Kung Fu Girl
Kung Fu Girl, 2016 Columbia Valley Riesling, 12% alcohol, $12. ★★★★
This riesling is a global citizen of sorts. It marries well with food across the board because it has impeccable balance; the riesling has great minerality and crisp acidity coupled with notes of white peach, apricot and lime.
Husch, 2016 Anderson Valley Dry Gewurztraminer, 13.8%, $15. ★★★★: A bone-dry gewurztraminer with notes of grapefruit, rose petal and a hint of honeysuckle. High-toned fruit. Finishes crisp. A smart Thanksgiving white.
Pieropan, 2016 Soave Classico, Italy, 12%, $20. ★★★1/2: What makes this white a standout is its stone fruit -- nectarine and white peach -- all riding on great minerality. Lovely. Pairs well with dishes across the board, rich or lean.
Miner Family Winery, 2016 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 13.6%, $22. ★★★★: This is a bright sauvignon blanc with upfront stone fruit and crisp acidity. It has tasty notes of melon, grapefruit and mineral. Marries well with rich dishes, but is also impressive solo.
J Cuvee 20 Brut, 12.5%, $37. ★★★★: This sparkler has great minerality and refreshing notes of pear and lime. Nice mousse. The bubbly pairs particularly well with rich and/or spicy dishes.