Pacific Rim: Five Rieslings and a Chenin Blanc



By Kori ~ January 8th, 2013.

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, 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 Nicolas Quillé running the operation. In 2011, Pacific Rim was sold to the Mariani family of New York, which owns Banfi Vintners. Later that year, the Mariani family launched a new venture called VinMotion to focus on their Pacific Northwest brands that include Pacific Rim, Sweet Bliss, and Rainstorm. Pacific Rim is a certified Organic producer by the Washington State Department of Agriculture and produced the first Demeter certified Biodynamic wine in Washington State.

Pacific Rim consistently produces good wines at great prices that are widely available. Its annual production is about 160,000 cases with about 95 percent being Riesling. Riesling is one of the most versatile grape varieties. It can be made in many different styles from bone dry to very sweet, reflects 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. Washington is the largest Riesling producing state in the United States.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste a number of Pacific Rim’s current releases in a blind samples tasting, including five Rieslings and one Chenin Blanc. 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.

2011 Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Medium to deep gold in color. Very aromatic with honey and dried apricot on the nose. More dried apricot and honey as well as orange come through on the palate. Sweet and medium to full-bodied with lively acidity. Well-balanced with a very long, luscious finish. Residual Sugar: 18.5%
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $14 [375ml]; Available elsewhere, $13 to $16

2011 Pacific Rim Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale to medium greenish straw yellow. Nice nose with floral and peach aromas. Peach, apricot, and a touch of honey come through on the palate. Off-dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity and 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 $11; Available elsewhere, $8 to $11

2011 Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Medium yellow. Aromatic with dried apricot and floral aromas. Dried apricot, peach, honey, and floral notes come through on the palate. Medium sweet and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 7.0%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $11; Available elsewhere, $8 to $14

2008 Pacific Rim Chenin Blanc (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale greenish straw yellow. Aromatic with honeysuckle and honeydew melon on the nose. Honeydew melon, white peach, and floral notes come through on the palate. Slightly off-dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 1.1%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $11; Available elsewhere, $8 to $13

2011 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): Pale greenish straw yellow. Lime and white peach come through on both the nose and palate. Dry and light-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, slightly bitter, finish. Residual Sugar: 0.9%
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $11; Available elsewhere, $7 to $13

2011 Pacific Rim Biodynamic Wallula Vineyard Riesling (Wallula Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills, Washington): Pale to medium greenish yellow. Aromatic with honey and minerality on the nose. Apricot, peach, minerality, and lemon zest come through on the palate. Dry and medium-bodied with lively acidity and a medium to long finish. Residual Sugar: 0.8%
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $24


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

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