Eroica: The Standard-Bearer for Washington Riesling [Wow! Alert]



By Kori ~ September 28th, 2011.

Riesling has become known as Washington State’s signature white variety. Washington is the largest Riesling producing state in the United States. And, Washington State’s own Chateau Ste. Michelle is the largest Riesling producer in the world. While Washington Riesling has been around for many years, the big leap forward came in the late 1990’s when Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Ernst Loosen of Germany began collaborating on an effort to produce truly great Riesling in Washington’s Columbia Valley. Eroica is the result of that partnership, and it has raised the bar for the entire Riesling category in Washington.

Winemakers Bob Bertheau and Ernst Loosen work together every step of the way to produce world-class Riesling from Washington State grapes. The partnership launched in 1999, and the 2010 vintage, the current release, is Eroica’s 12th vintage. Eroica is named for Beethoven’s Third Symphony.

We have found Eroica to be consistently excellent from vintage to vintage. Recently, I had the pleasure to attend an Eroica tasting and lunch with Bob Bertheau and Ernst Loosen at Wild Ginger in Seattle. It is obvious that these two gentlemen work very well together.

Riesling is one of the most versatile grape varieties. It can be made in many different styles from bone dry to very sweet, reflect the regional character of where it is grown, and is extremely food-friendly. And, it is probably the most age worthy of all white wine varieties. At the tasting at Wild Ginger, we tasted three vintages of the off-dry Eroica Riesling (2005, 2007, and 2010) and two vintages of the very sweet Eroica Single Berry Select Riesling (2001 and 2007). All five wines were excellent, but the 2001 Single Berry Select was absolutely phenomenal. The Single Berry Select is made in the traditional German Trockenbeerenauslese style and is one of the few TBAs produced in North America.

2005 Eroica Riesling [Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Golden yellow. Nice nose with honey, pear, white peach, and peach blossom aromas. Pear, white peach, minerality, forest floor, and a hint of honey come through on the palate. Slightly off-dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long finish. Residual Sugar: 1.6%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail: $20

2007 Eroica Riesling [Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Golden straw yellow. Gorgeous nose with lime, white peach, and minerally aromas. Orange peel, lime, and minerality come through on the palate. Slightly off-dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long, refreshing finish. Residual Sugar: 2.15% [Note: In 2012, it will be re-released for on-premise sales.]
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail: $20

2010 Eroica Riesling [Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen] (Columbia Valley, Washington): Medium straw yellow with golden tinges. Gorgeous nose with white peach, lime, and floral aromas. Lots of lime, orange peel, and minerality on the palate. Slightly off-dry and light to medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long, refreshing finish. Residual Sugar: 1.64%
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail: $20

2001 Eroica Single Berry Select Riesling [Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen] (Horse Heaven Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Deep, dark amber in color. Gorgeous nose with honey, butterscotch, and dried apricot aromas and flavors. Very sweet and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced and extremely smooth with a long, lingering finish. Wow! Amazing! Residual Sugar: 38.7% [Note: In 2012, about 1,000 bottles will be re-released.]
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail: $200 [375ml]

2007 Eroica Single Berry Select Riesling [Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen] (Horse Heaven Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Golden, orange amber color. Nice nose with honey, dried apricot, and a hint of pineapple aromas. Honey, dried apricot, and orange peel come through on the palate. Very sweet and medium-bodied with crisp acidity. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish. A rare treat! Residual Sugar: 37%
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Suggested Retail: $200 [375ml]


Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Riesling, Washington State Wine, White Wine, Wine Activities/Events, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Renee | October 1st, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I also love this wine! Amazing value and always amazing! In fact it is currenly my house white wine. Great post and tasting notes!

  2. Kori | October 1st, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Renee,
    Excellent choice for a house white. Cheers!

  3. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy | October 9th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Sounds like an excellent choice of wine, have not tried yet but your post is very convincing to do so…

  4. Kori | October 10th, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    CoffeeGuy,
    It is an excellent wine. I hope you have a chance to try it. Cheers!

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