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December 19, 2007

06 J. Christopher, Willamette Valley Riesling

If you are one of the ones who don't know what I mean when I talk about "Old World" and "New World," consider yourself lucky and pour yourself a glass. This wine celebrates you. And I'm beginning to think maybe all of Oregon does. Those two distinctions have long been our only options. Does the riesling taste German/Alsatian? Maybe it has some semblance of "minerality" or "diesel" (code for secret Martian flavors that taste nothing like fruit, yet make people think of some distant land they've never visited and probably never will). Or maybe it's just all fruit, a "fruit bomb." Hm, must be Australian. Those guys try so hard--don't they get what a waste of time their lives are? This would never go with Comte cheese, and God knows all I ever eat is Comte cheese. But then you have Oregon, where whites have flourished on their own since before the increasingly cultish pinots even, and Oregon could give a damn about your Comte. I have for years been convinced that the Willamette Valley has more potential for white wine than any other region in the world, and J. Christopher (Jay Somers) could easily be my star witness. This riesling does what is so classic--yes, the new "Old World"--about the region; it takes the rich fruitiness that seems so out of whack everywhere else on the planet and tones it down just a hair, so all the grape's natural characteristics show. No, you don't get the sharp, peppery bite of zeltinger sonnenuhr, the breathtaking depth of Clos Ste. Hune (oddly enough, it's most like Jay's own sauvignon blancs). What you get is something unmistakably Oregonian--a witness to pride and the completely adulterated, unforgiving rebirth of classics. It's encyclopedic in complexity--fuming with a gravelly lime aroma and full of flavor--first pineapple, then tangerine, key lime, cilantro stems, starfruit, rock salt, goat cheese extract, and whatever that taste is when the dentist scrapes your teeth with a hook. Riesling comes from Oregon. I don't care what you say. That's where it is from.


Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

I could go back to being vegetarian (okay, I admit it) and eat cauliflower for the rest of my life. Tonight, it's cauliflower in homemade chicken korma on saffron basmati, but this could just as easily go with orecchiette con cavolfiore. If there is a cauliflower council somewhere, this should be its house wine.

9:40 PM  
Anonymous drew said...

I think a lot of Oregon is beginning to realize aping other regions like Burgundy or Alsace is a good way to be a really great second place finisher. Billy Corgan once replied to an inquiry if Chicago was the next Seattle, "it's still the first Chicago." Oregon should just ante up the sack and do what they want to do.

7:59 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

I wouldn't write off Aussie riesling.
No big fan of Aussie wine but not all riesling from down under is a big fruit bomb. Many of these wines have a petrol nose with citrus and slate on the palate and are worth drinking.
Semillon is underrated from down under too.Happy holidays Nilay wish I had a bottle of J's riesling

11:26 AM  
Blogger Nilay Gandhi said...

I'd hate to write off any wine. In fact, most Aussie riesling I've had have not been fruit bombs. Quite the opposite, they've come at you with really dieselly/minerally aromatics, but very thin flavor. The J. Christopher's a little deceptive--and really not even identifiable as riesling unless you drink a lot of Alsace--but there's a lot of integrity to it.

Send me your email address sometime. I finally got a KitchenAid a few weeks ago, which means fresh sausage galore.

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nilay my email is hoopmas@msn.com
Todd at Farrens

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