October 2014

Originally a German Rhine region varietal, (some references mention it as early as the 15th century), Riesling, a cool climate grape that is extremely food friendly, is also a versatile varietal as it is easily fermented to a dry, off-dry or even a dessert sweet wine. The key to a delicious Riesling is a balance of sugar and acid, not whether it is dry or sweet. Once one has tasted a well-balanced Riesling, one will never look at the varietal the same.

One of the oldest white wine varietals, its popularity diminished with the release of mass market California ‘Rhine’ jug wines in the 70’s. Rieslings have had a revival in popularity, a ‘Renaissance’ in the Northwest due to the education and marketing of its versatility.

The unique micro climate of the Hood River Valley, with its warm dry summer days and cool evenings, produces an abundance of pears, apples, cherries and grapes. Our Riesling was planted in 2007. Winemaker Rich Cushman, studied in Germany and claims the varietal to be one of his favorites to work with. Between the microclimate, experienced farming techniques and Rich’s expertise, what could be a better combination for making our Rieslings the best of the best?

WINE SNIPPETS: Balance in action
For firsthand experience of how the principle of taste balance works, try this. Make a very strong cup of tea. When you sip it, the tea will taste bitter, because it’s very tannic. Now add lemon juice; the tea will taste astringent (constricting and drying out your mouth), because the acid of the lemon and the tannin of the tea are accentuating each other. Now add lots of sugar to the tea. The sweetness should counter balance the acid tannin impact, and the tea will taste softer than it did before.
~ WINE FOR DUMMIES, 2nd Edition

Featured Fall Recipe

Chicken Piccata
(4 servings)

4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves
2 ounces all-purpose flour, divided
(about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, divided
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup MHW Dry Riesling
3/4 cup chicken stock, divided
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. drained capers
3 Tbsp. coarsely chopped
fresh Italian parsley

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch
thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Place 1 tsp. flour in a small bowl and place remaining flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour in shallow dish; shake off excess.

2. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan; sauté 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

3. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in pan; swirl to coat. Sauté shallots about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add wine, bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook until liquid almost evaporates, stirring occasionally. Add ¼ cup broth to reserved 1 tsp. flour; stir until smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup broth to pan, bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Stir in flour mixture and cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter, lemon juice and capers. Place 1 chicken breast half on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 2 Tbsp. sauce. Sprinkle each with parsley.

Serve this dish with our 2013 Estate Dry Reisling!

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