A Wine for Tonight: 2009 Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling

By Kori ~ March 3rd, 2011.

Would you like a quick suggestion for a good wine to drink tonight (or this weekend) that won’t break your budget and is widely available? Many of our readers have said this is something they would like, so here is this week’s selection, the 2009 Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling from the Columbia Valley of Washington State.

Our selection criteria include:

  • A very good Quality rating of >=3.5 stars (out of 5)
  • A price tag of <=$15
  • Must be widely available

Columbia Winery, located in Woodinville, Washington, was founded in 1962 by ten friends, six of whom were University of Washington professors. Originally known as Associated Vintners, it was the first premium winery in Washington State. The late Master of Wine David Lake was the founding winemaker; Kerry Norton, who now serves as Director of Winemaking, succeeded him. In 2008, Ascentia Wine Estates acquired Columbia Winery.

The Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling holds a special place in my “wine” heart. My first real exposure to wine was visiting the nearby wineries in Woodinville with friends during my days at the University of Washington. Back in 1998, there were not nearly as many wineries in Washington State. A wine tasting trip to Woodinville generally consisted of two stops, Chateau Ste. Michelle and Columbia Winery, which are located across the street from each other. Of the wines we tasted in those early days, the Cellarmaster’s Riesling was my clear favorite. As a wine newbie, I was drawn to this sweet white wine. These days, I don’t drink sweet whites very often. However, I was glad to see this wine do well in a recent blind samples tasting.

“On the nose are notes of pears, apples, and a hint of nutmeg. The sweetness is balanced by the zing of vibrant acidity that makes this such a food-friendly wine.” –Director of Winemaking Kerry Norton

2009 Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling (Columbia Valley, Washington): 97% Riesling and 3% Gewurztraminer. Pale, greenish straw yellow. Nice nose with honey, melon, and pear aromas. Cantaloupe, honeydew melon, honey, and apricot come through on the palate. Medium-bodied and sweet with crisp acidity and a long finish. Residual Sugar: 6.1%
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $12; Available elsewhere, $10 to $12

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

Reader's Comments

  1. Renee Keele | March 3rd, 2011 at 11:18 am

    That is a nice wine, and in Arizona I can get it for under 10 bucks many times. Easy wine to drink and perfect for the upcoming summer. Thanks

  2. Mike Veseth | March 4th, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve only eaten at The Herbfarm twice, but both times this wine was served, paired with a smoked fresh corn chowder. The match was fantastic, dynamic and memorable. It changed the way I think about this wine.

  3. Kori | March 4th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    You are absolutely right; this wine is often found for under $10. Excellent QPR!

    Wow, that sounds like an amazing pairing. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  4. TheGourmetCoffeeGuy | March 6th, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Columbia Winery seems like a very interesting one to visit. Thank you for including the link in your post, always good to know about great places to visit when traveling around Washington state. Appreciate your insights.

  5. Kori | March 6th, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Columbia is a fun place to visit. It is one of many great wineries in Woodinville these days. Cheers!