Nothing causes me to chuckle more than when someone tells me that they only drink red wine. And, they say it with a straight face while claiming to be knowledgeable about wine.
Anyone who says this is not serious about wine and is in a similar category as those people who make blanket statements like, “that’s not a good wine.” They may not like it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad wine unless it’s truly corked, which I doubt they’d even know. I’m always careful to say I don’t like that wine or it’s too sweet, etc. Because someone else might like it or I could be wrong. I also think that serious wine drinkers appreciate both red and white wine, depending on the food and the occasion.
In fact, some of my favorite wines are white. I’m a big fan of Chardonnays and constantly tasting them. I’m also quite a fan of Riesling. Both wines are made in Oregon though Riesling is more advanced. Chardonnay is still a work in progress thought it’s getting better.
Some people turn their noses up at Riesling because they have an idea in their heads about how it will taste (sweet) and they’re usually wrong. But every serious winemaker I know contends that making Riesling well is a key qualification to making other varietals.
One of my favorite Oregon Rieslings is made by Lemelson Vineyards. Right now, I’m enjoying a 2004. A 2004 Riesling, you ask? Yes, Riesling is one of the white wines, like a great French Chardonnay, that will age. And an aged Riesling can be wonderful. They will mellow some, turn more of a golden color and after a number of years take on a petroleum or gasoline nose, yet are still amazing. This one started out very tart and lemony — almost like lemonade — but has now changed character and is even more creamy — like lemon custard.
Riesling is a great summer cocktail wine, but also goes super well with roasted chicken, shellfish and spicy Asian dishes. Next time you’re at an Oregon winery, pick up a dry Riesling and put it away for a few years.