Dry Riesling has Balance, Elegance

FREDRIC KOEPPEL | Special to The Memphis News

I think of Trefethen Vineyard, founded in the Napa Valley in 1973, as an old-school Winery. That is, not only because it goes back almost 40 years, but because its wines avoid the flamboyant, over-ripe, over-oaked, high-alcohol factors that characterize the products of so many newer wineries. Trefethen has been around long enough to see its region turned, in 2004, into an official American Viticultural Area, the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley sub-appellation.

Anyway, I’m a fan and especially of the winery’s riesling, called Dry Riesling so you know what you’re getting. In the southern part of the valley, Oak Knoll is a bit cooler than the rest of Napa, making it appropriate for such grapes as riesling and pinot noir. I like to drink Trefethen’s Dry Riesling at about three years of age, so, for example, last Thanksgiving we drank the 2008 and at Thanksgiving 2010 we drank the ’07.

For Your Very Own Bottle

Buster's Liquors and Wines
191 S. Highland St., $23
Wine Market
4734 Spottswood Ave., $23
Great Wines & Spirits
6150 Poplar Ave., $23

Today, however, it’s the turn of the Trefethen Dry Riesling 2010, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. The color is a shimmering pale straw-gold; the bouquet features green apple, pear and lychee with hints of peach, honeysuckle and lilac and the grape’s requisite petrol or rubber eraser scent. In the mouth a lean, spare structure of crisp acidity and almost scintillating limestone and chalk elements supports lovely flavors of roasted lemon and lemon balm, with touches of ginger and quince; the finish is long and spicy, with more limestone and traces of lime peel and grapefruit bitterness. Recently, we drank this with a pasta dish with spinach, shrimp and marinated tomatoes. Terrific tone and presence, with beguiling balance between taut elegance and slightly earthy lushness. Drink now through 2014 or 2015.

For more about wine, check out Koeppel’s blog atwww.biggerthanyourhead.net.