Riesling Rules at Pacific Rim



By Kori ~ April 26th, 2010.

Pacific Rim Winery, located in West Richland, Washington, is almost exclusively a Riesling producer. The first Pacific Rim Riesling was produced in 1992 as a brand within Bonny Doon Vineyard in Santa Cruz, California, and used grapes from California, Washington, and Germany. In 2007, owner Randall Grahm decided to downsize Bonny Doon and spun off Pacific Rim as a stand-alone winery dedicated to Riesling. The entire Pacific Rim operation relocated to Washington State with general manager and winemaker Nicholas Quille running the operation. In three short years, Pacific Rim has already made its mark, consistently producing good wines at great prices that are widely available.

Consistent with Grahm’s commitment to sustainability, Pacific Rim is a certified Organic producer by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and produced the first and only Demeter certified Biodynamic wine in Washington State.

Pacific Rim is not shy about its dedication to Riesling. The winery’s website address is www.RieslingRules.com. They are not only committed to producing exceptional Riesling but also to educating wine consumers about the variety. A section of their website, called Crush Pad, claims to be “the ultimate Riesling resource.” They have written a book called Riesling Rules (surprise!) that is available online (a free hard copy available upon request). With its Fourth Edition due out this spring, Riesling Rules covers just about everything you could possibly want to know about the variety.

Annual production at Pacific Rim is 140,000 cases with about 90 percent being Riesling. Producing a total of fifteen wines, Pacific Rim makes ten different Rieslings which run the spectrum from dry to sweet to organic to sparkling and just about everything in between. Recently, we had the opportunity to taste a number of Pacific Rim’s current releases in a blind samples tasting. We were able to try eight of their fifteen wines, including six different Rieslings. Given their quality, value, and availability, I encourage you to pick up any of these wines if you see them on the shelf at your local wine shop.

Rieslings:

2008 Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish yellow. Very aromatic with apricots and honey on the nose; honey, dried apricots, white peach, and pineapple on the palate. Medium sweet and medium-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 8.4%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $10

2009 Pacific Rim Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish yellow. Very aromatic with candied peaches, honey, and fruitcake aromas. White peach, pear, and tropical flavors show through on the palate. Off-dry, medium-bodied, and crisp. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 2.3%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $10

2009 Pacific Rim Organic Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale, greenish yellow. Nose is a bit tight at first but then pear and floral aromas come through. Flavors of pear and hibiscus. Off-dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 3.6%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14

2007 Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling (Selenium Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Washington): Sweet dessert wine made from post-harvest frozen Riesling grapes. Medium goldenrod yellow. Aromas of cotton candy and honey; flavors of pears, apricots, and honey. Very sweet, medium-bodied, lively acidity, and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 16%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14 [375ml]

2007 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Medium yellow-gold. Aromas and flavors of grass, pears, green apples, and citrus fruits. Dry, light to medium-bodied with crisp, almost tart, acidity and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 0.8%
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $10

2007 Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Golden yellow in color. Honey, minerality, and petrol on both the nose and palate along with hints of apple and citrus. Dry, medium-bodied, and crisp with a long, slightly bitter finish. Residual Sugar: 0.7%
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $20

Other wines:

2007 Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc (Columbia Valley, Washington): Very light greenish yellow. Aromatic with apple, pear, and floral aromas on the nose. Lemon, lime, and grapefruit show through on the palate. Slightly off-dry and light-bodied with tart acidity. Crisp and refreshing with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 1.2%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $10

2008 Pacific Rim Gewurztraminer (83% Washington, 17% Oregon): Medium-deep gold in color and very aromatic. Dried apricot and spice come through on the nose; pear, apricots, and melon on the palate. Off-dry and light to medium-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 1.7%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $10


Filed under: American Wine, Chenin Blanc, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Books, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Vivian Mycroft | April 26th, 2010 at 7:50 am

    At Taste Washington I discovered the Pacific Rim sparkling Riesling, White Flowers. This is a dry bubbler that was aged sur lie. It is thoroughly enjoyable. If you can find it, give it a try.

  2. Kori | April 26th, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Vivian,
    Thanks for sharing. I haven’t had the White Flowers Sparkling Riesling yet. I’ll look forward to trying it. Cheers!

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