Blue Mountain Vineyards2006 Riesling
Yellow-green in the glass, Blue Mountain 2006 Riesling shows a white pepper, white grapefruit, and slately nose. Rich and weighty, the wine has flavors of lime and apricot with a soft-landing finish and a bit of a phenolic tang, attributable to a two-day cold soak.
Just a bit of residual sugar - .7 percent - carries and brightens the fruit. The amount of sweetness in Blue Mountain’s Riesling depends on the characteristics of the fruit. The warmer 2007, for example, required only .3 percent residual sugar, said Joe Greff, the owner and winemaker of the 13,000-case winery.
A former military man, Mr. Greff spent time in the late 70s in Germany. When he purchased the land in the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania and saw the rugged hilltop of shale and slate, he immediately thought of Riesling and planted five acres.
He characterized 2006, bookended by other ballyhooed vintages, as very good. He took in the Riesling that year at 21 or 22 degrees Brix with a yield of between 2 and 2.5 ton per acre. He believes in wild yeast, but isn’t willing to put his fate in them entirely. He cold soaks the crushed grapes for two days, giving the indigenous yeast time begin their work while extracting some texture and flavors from skin phenols. Then he inoculates with a commercial yeast and keeps the fermentation below 85 degree to preserve fruitiness.
The addition of sulfite preservatives are kept low as well, he said, to protect fruitiness and spare sensitive customers headaches.
Reviewed April 30, 2008 by David Falchek.
David Falchek writes a weekly wine column for several newspapers in Pennsylvania, including the Scranton Times-Tribune. He also contributes regularly to trade publications such as Vineyard & Winery Management and Beverage Media. David has judged regional, national, and international wine competitions where he likes to think he lauds outstanding Seyval or Foch just as readily as Cabernet or Riesling.