Appellation: Columbia Valley
Famed German winemaker Armin Diel of Schlossgut Diel urged Long Shadows founder Allen Shoup to plant Clone 239 Riesling at breathtaking Horse Heaven Hills site The Benches. The call to pick came from Gilles Nicault on Dec. 9 with the temperature at 7 degrees and the berries at a lofty 48 brix. What’s left is nectar of the gods, staring with whiffs of orange marmalade on toast, warm butterscotch, clove, apple and mustard seed. The drink is decadent with the texture of honey and flavors akin to apricot glaceed, pineapple, poached apple, cardamon and clove. And at 31% residual sugar, here is your dessert. Rated "Outstanding" by Great Northwest Wine. (8.5 percent alcohol)
Cases produced: 92
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Food pairings: A sweet wine such as this is a dessert unto itself. However, you also can successfully pair it with fresh fruit, blue cheeses, creme brulee or cheesecake.
Long Shadows Vintners, 1604 Frenchtown Road, Walla Walla, 509-526-0905, www.longshadows.com.