8 Delicious and Budget-Friendly Rieslings

 I’ve declared it riesling week, so instead of the weekly link round up, I have some Washington rieslings rounded up for you! I know we’re all on a budget these days, so I picked a few of my favorite grocery store wines and then a few of my favorite local wines.

Awesome Grocery Store Rieslings

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2011

I tend to think that Charles Smith’s wines are good, but often overpriced. Not this one! This riesling is crisp and refreshing, with a touch of residual sugar (about 1.8%). $12 at the winery (located here in Walla Walla), where it’s sold out, so grab some at the grocery store, where you can find it for around $10. Or, if you have your heart set on going to the winery, you can try the 2012 Kung Fu Girl Riesling!

Willow Crest 2011 Riesling

This riesling is a little sweeter than the others on this list (4% residual sugar), but still pretty refreshing. A little unbalanced in the sweetness vs acidity, but a good choice for those who prefer their rieslings sweeter. Tropical fruit and honey notes make this a good summer riesling; I enjoyed the first glass, but couldn’t get through a second. Buy for $12 through the winery or $11 in grocery stores.

Waterbrook Riesling 2011

Waterbrook produces a lot of riesling every year (they produce a ton of everything, but more riesling than almost any other wines they make). With light pear notes and tropical fruits, this is an easy-to-drink off-dry riesling that goes well with curries and spicy foods. This one is also widely available in grocery stores for around $10 and goes for $12 at the winery, which is also in Walla Walla.

Chateau Ste Michelle Columbia Valley Riesling 2011

Chateau Ste Michelle produces even more riesling than Waterbrook does, and is probably the largest wine producer in Washington State. They were one of the first big wineries in Washington and have a focus on riesling. Their 2011 Columbia Riesling has a little more residual sugar (about 2%) than either Charles Smith or Waterbrook, and will run you $9 through the winery, and probably $7-9 at a grocery store.

Awesome Fancier Rieslings

These wines will be less widely distributed in stores, but you might be able to find or request them in a wine store. Alternatively, you can almost always order wine directly from the winery, either by phone or their website.

Mackey Vineyards 2010 Riesling

I loved this riesling, which was nice and crisp. Drink this one on a hot day in the summer or by a fire in the winter. I had it over Christmas break with my family; we all loved it, even though it wasn’t white wine season! It has a slightly higher residual sugar than I usually like (about 3%), but that gave it enough body to stand up to the cold weather. $15 through the winery.

Dunham 2011 Lewis Vineyard Riesling 

This is another fantastic Washington riesling; off-dry, with about 1.3 % residual sugar, very crisp and tart, with some wonderful tropical fruit notes. Really well balanced acidity, so it’s a refreshing wine, even with the hint of sweetness. Think summer picnic with some pasta salads, blue cheese, and crackers. $19.50 through the winery.

Walla Faces 2010 Verlynn Riesling

I’m not going to lie; this is one of my favorite rieslings in Walla Walla. It’s my go-to curry-and-riesling wine. I’ve stopped drinking it as much, since it is on the pricier end of the scale, and I’m on more of a budget right now. If you’re looking to splurge on a riesling, though, I’d recommend this one, especially if you’re going to be having curry. Balanced acidity, honey and apple notes. $20 through the winery.

Long Shadows 2011 Poet’s Leap Riesling

This is where we get really fancy. Long Shadows is a winery that has a different winemaker for each wine (technically, it’s a collection of many wineries, since each wine is its own label). The Poet’s Leap Riesling is their least expensive offering at $20 for the bottle, but it’s balanced and bright with pleasant minerality. I’d venture to say that this is one of the best-regarded rieslings in Walla Walla right now, and Long Shadows has been getting a lot of good attention from wine people lately.

So there you have it: eight great rieslings from Washington, all $20 or under. Four are so budget-friendly that they’re under $15!

Try them yourself and let me know what you think!

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