Riesling is one of the most under appreciated and yet loved grape varietals. People who know it, love it, and other’s assume it’s all sweet. While some rieslings can be sweet, there are plenty out there that are half-dry and dry as well. This grape is one of the most diverse of all the noble grapes out there, and can age sometimes longer than red wines!
In Washington’s Columbia Valley, Pacific Rim is a winery who produces rieslings from dry to sweet. The ideal soils and growing conditions in the Columbia Valley make Washington state one of the number one riesling producing regions in the world (besides Germany, of course). Master Winemaker Nicolas Quillé is a pioneer of riesling and a student of the Master of Wine program, which is an extremely high and honorable title to hold.
Pacific Rim has a line of classic Rieslings from dry to sweet, that cover the residual sugar spectrum in full. Incredibly well made and balanced wines, these are perfect for any entry-level riesling drinker who wants to learn to appreciate this versatile and misunderstood grape varietal. Paired with all three of the Pacific Rim classics were: Cold Egg Tofu with sea urchin and yuzu dashi, Japanese Red Snapper, Seared Blue Fin O-Toro with garlic chips and wasabi, Takoyaki, and Foie Gras Torchon. The menu was designed to pair perfectly with all three of the rieslings as a tasting by Chef Toshi Ueki of Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya. One of my favorite pairings happens to be Foie Gras with sweet wine, and the Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling totally hit the spot!
This “Riesling Crawl” hosted by Pacific Rim had three delicious stops that all served up some incredible pairings with the wines. Stop number two was at a NYC staple called Ivan Ramen, where Chef Ivan Orkin and his culinary staff wowed us with some fantastic riesling and ramen pairings. The Wallula Vineyard Dry Riesling, one of Pacific Rim’s vineyards in the Horse Haven Hills section of Washington State is a single vineyard wine expertly crafted to portray the finest expressions of this grape varietal. This wine is dry and complex balanced by striking acidity, citrus flavors, and apple notes. Paired were three options: Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen, Chilled Yuzu, and Spicy Red Chili Ramen.
I decided on the Triple Pork which, for any bacon lover is a dream come true. Fried Pork Cutlet, Bacon, and a pile of Whole Wheat Noodles in a Tonkotsu Broth paired with this dry and crisp riesling is a one of a kind pairing that you absolutely must try!
The third stop was a pairing of Riesling and South East Asian cuisine at Pig and Khao where Chef Leah Cohen served a family style menu of P+K Baby Back Ribs, Turmeric and Lemongrass Cod, and the famous Coconut Rice. The bbq ribs and rice paired beautifully with the Solstice Vineyard Riesling, which is a mineral driven and complex riesling from old vines . This wine is broad and masculine with pear and lemon notes, which is also why it paired beautifully with the cod as well.
If you’re new to riesling or are already a fan, I recommend trying Pacific Rim Rieslings for their versatility when it comes to food pairing, pleasing palate abilities, and overall freshness. These wines are wonderful and will entice your taste buds and are perfect to drink year round.
Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love… please pair responsibly!