Published on August 30th, 2012 | by Greg0
A Tale Of Two Rieslings: Maryhill and Louis Guntrum
White wines range from dry to sweet, and though Rieslings tend towards the the sweeter end of the spectrum, they can still be incredibly varied. And though Germany can take credit for the origin of the varietal, and some of the best wines, the US continues to compete thanks to Washington State. We put two of them, one from each region, cork-to-cork and tried some late summer sipping.
The Maryhill 2011 Riesling comes from the Columbia Valley, and recently was honored with a 'Best in Show' award from the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Their website may leave something to be desired, and their label might shout "family winery", but this isn't a bad thing. In fact, we definitely appreciate the highly local nature of wine, and and their record is pretty impressive for a winemaker celebrating 11 years in business!
We chilled a bottle and enjoyed- best fresh and crisp, the light color and slight sparkle make Riesling a great wine in general even for those who don't always love it. It's also generally inexpensive, and Maryhill's is impressively so, running about $10 a bottle. Balanced- never too sweet or honeyed- this one paired well with the typical cheeses and fruits you'd expect, and led with notes of pear and tropical fruit. It doesn't finish too strong, but is incredibly easy to drink.
The Louis Guntrum 2010 Riesling Kabinett won a Double Gold medal at the same competition, and runs just a bit more per bottle ($13, though both are fairly hard to find in shops and stores and restaurants in fact). Their English website is also a bit wonky and seems quite out of date, unfortunately.
But the wine itself serves as a nice contract- a bit more minerality and acidity, a bit sharper and more structured, and a bit more of an "old world" feel that some people liked and others felt was a little dry. Hints of peach and apricot dominate, and the nose isn't as sweet as many, while it seemed to go better against spicier foods and even sausages. We liked this one a lot- it had a classic style- and served as a great introduction to German-style Rhein Rieslings.
Overall, our split was almost exactly half and half in preference- so we'll call it a draw, and definitely suggest trying out each style of Riesling at prices that won't break anyone's budget.