Charles & Charles Riesling 2015
2015 was the warmest vintage on record in Washington State, though this higher elevation vineyard was a crucial counter-balance to the heat and enabled us to pick in late-October. The site received a lot of water, maximizing the canopy and shading the Riesling fruit, which delayed ripening and preserved lots of natural acidity.
This Riesling was the last fruit in the door (not just for us, but for everyone we know across the state), though it still had wonderful chemistries. At 22.5 Brix, it retained nice bright acidity despite the heat. Upon arrival, we gently pressed the grapes then allowed the juice to settle out for 48 hours at 40°. After clean racking off the heavy lees, we treated it to remove tannins picked up in the pressing, while still retaining a full mid-palate. The juice was then separated into two lots so that each could be fermented with a different yeast strain. Both tanks were then cold-fermented to extend the fermentation. When the wine reached a balanced RS to acid level, the fermentation was stopped. The result is a gorgeous, full-flavored Riesling with aromas driven by honeysuckle, linden, spice, citrus-lime, apricot, white peach, slate, and great minerality. It’s taut on the palate but with beautifully focused fruit. pH – 3.05, TA – 7.5g/L, RS – 1.3%, Alc – 12%. 15,000 cases produced.
This Riesling is 100% from grapes grown on the Art Den Hoed vineyard, right on the outside edge of the Rattlesnake Hills AVA, in the Yakima Valley. Aside from Art’s great farming, what makes this vineyard special for world-class Riesling is the gently sloping, high elevation (1,250 feet) and shallow, well-drained Warden Series silt loam soils. The higher elevation maintains a mountain climate with much more moderate summer temperatures.
Charles Smith’s long-time friend, label muse, and artist, Rikke Korff, made this decidedly lo-fi label for us. We wanted to project a distinctly Northwest feel and illustrate the incredible diversity of the physical features of Washington State, from sea to mountains.
A collaboration founded in 2008 between Wine Enthusiast Magazine 2014 Winemaker of the year, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, BIELER Pere et Fils & Gotham Project). We make just four wines together. The Rosé, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend, a Chardonnay, and this single vineyard Riesling.