Wine of the Week: Scribe 2018 Estate Riesling

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THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING

Light on their feet, delectable whites

TOP PICK

Scribe

Scribe, 2018 Estate Riesling, 11.5% alcohol, $38. ★★★★1/2

An impressive dry riesling, this bottling has great minerality and high-toned fruit. On the palate, notes of nectarine, apricot and a hint of peach. Nice and dry, this riesling finishes crisp and it’s an absolute charmer.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Chappellet, 2018 Napa Valley Chenin Blanc, 14.1%, $38. ★★★★: A pretty chenin blanc with notes of green apple, Meyer lemon and stone fruit. Great minerality coupled with bright acidity. Lovely.

Fel, 2018 Anderson Valley Pinot Gris, 13.8%, $25. ★★★★: A striking pinot gris with bright notes of peach, nectarine and orange blossom. Hint of hazelnut. Nice length. Well crafted.

Dutton Goldfield, 2018 Green Valley Vineyard, Dutton Ranch, Green Valley, Russian River Valley Gewurztraminer, 13.5%, $30. ★★★★: This is a busy gewurztraminer, with a big range of aromas and flavors. It’s floral with notes of honeysuckle and gardenia. On the palate, it has flavors of grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple. Dry and crisp, this gewurztraminer is absolutely lovely.

Meeker, 2018 Evina Vineyard, Contra Costa County Verdelho, 12.9%, $21. ★★★1/2: Crisp and dry, this verdelho has stunning tropical notes –– pineapple and a hint of banana. Bright acidity. Nice length. Smart.

What would the ghosts of the Arrowhead Slopes tell us about the great whites they crafted?

Today this perch at Sonoma’s Scribe Winery has 3 acres of riesling planted, and it’s pitch perfect for this varietal.

“Given the rich history in Germanic varieties being grown on the Arrowhead Slopes, we feel it’s our responsibility as stewards of the land to continue the tradition of making amazing riesling from this patch of Earth,” said Gustavo  Sotelo- Miller.

The associate winemaker at Scribe is behind our wine-of-the-week winner –– the Scribe 2018 Estate Riesling at $38. An impressive dry riesling, this bottling has great minerality and high-toned fruit. On the palate, it has notes of nectarine, apricot and a hint of peach. Nice and dry, this riesling finishes crisp, and it’s an absolute charmer.

Scribe’s house style for reisling, Sotelo-Miller said, is vibrant and fresh.

“We feel the best expression of riesling is when it is pure, low alcohol, dry, good acidity and without having undergone malolactic fermentation,” he said. “This all helps capture what we most enjoy in riesling and what we think is the best way to present the expression of riesling grown at Scribe.”

What the uninitiated don’t know about riesling, Sotelo-Miller said, is that sometimes it’s bone dry.

“Riesling is not always sweet and is a grape variety that is suitable for various wine styles, including dry wines, sparkling wines and botrytized (affected with noble rot) wines,” he said.

Sotelo-Miller, 36, said he was drawn to winemaking during a magical tasting.

“I cut my teeth in wine appreciation by taking several classes on Spanish wines while living in New York City,” he said. “The ‘eureka’ moment for me was a vertical flight of Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Tempranillo from the 1940s to the 2000s, at least one bottle from each decade. That’s when I finally started understanding how a winery can develop its own style and how wine can be a vehicle that can transport you through time to talk about history and humanity.”

Loving his craft, Sotelo-Miller said, is his strength.

“My weakness is I’m still learning so much about winemaking and grape growing,” he said. “ I feel like so many other winemakers probably feel … the more I know, the less I feel I know.”

The associate winemaker has a multifaceted educational background. He graduated in 2006 from Boston University with a degree in economics and international relations.

Later, in 2014, Sotelo-Miller graduated from UC Davis with a degree in viticulture and enology. Ever curious, he also has participated in several continuing education seminars in winemaking and grape growing at Bordeaux Agro-Sciences University as well as at the University of Burgundy- Dijon. 

“I take great pride in constantly looking for ways to improve my craft,” Sotelo-Miller said.

“I try to visit the Old World on a regular basis to learn about different techniques and traditions from great producers over there and find ways to apply that knowledge to the vineyards I work with and the wines I make.”

Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com or 707-521-5310.

THIS WEEK’S BLIND TASTING

Light on their feet, delectable whites

TOP PICK

Scribe

Scribe, 2018 Estate Riesling, 11.5% alcohol, $38. ★★★★1/2

An impressive dry riesling, this bottling has great minerality and high-toned fruit. On the palate, notes of nectarine, apricot and a hint of peach. Nice and dry, this riesling finishes crisp and it’s an absolute charmer.

Tasty ALTERNATIVES

Chappellet, 2018 Napa Valley Chenin Blanc, 14.1%, $38. ★★★★: A pretty chenin blanc with notes of green apple, Meyer lemon and stone fruit. Great minerality coupled with bright acidity. Lovely.

Fel, 2018 Anderson Valley Pinot Gris, 13.8%, $25. ★★★★: A striking pinot gris with bright notes of peach, nectarine and orange blossom. Hint of hazelnut. Nice length. Well crafted.

Dutton Goldfield, 2018 Green Valley Vineyard, Dutton Ranch, Green Valley, Russian River Valley Gewurztraminer, 13.5%, $30. ★★★★: This is a busy gewurztraminer, with a big range of aromas and flavors. It’s floral with notes of honeysuckle and gardenia. On the palate, it has flavors of grapefruit, kiwi and pineapple. Dry and crisp, this gewurztraminer is absolutely lovely.

Meeker, 2018 Evina Vineyard, Contra Costa County Verdelho, 12.9%, $21. ★★★1/2: Crisp and dry, this verdelho has stunning tropical notes –– pineapple and a hint of banana. Bright acidity. Nice length. Smart.

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