RECOMMENDED/HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: Madroña Riesling

2010 Madroña Riesling. El Dorado. 13.5% ABV. About $14. Pretty color; soft gold. Gentle nose; green apple and citrus. Honeysuckle, “petrol,” a hint of yeast, and minerals on the palate. Soft, round, and slightly creamy; gentle acidity. I would pair this with Tom Ka Gai.

2010 Madroña Dry Riesling. 13.5% ABV. About $14. Soft golden. Balanced, citrus. Perfect summer wine.

LABEL (for both of the above): Situated at 3,000 feet in the El Dorado appellation of the Sierra Foothills, Madroña’s hillside vineyards offer ideal growing conditions for the wide range of classic wine grape varieties we harvest. Years of growing grapes on this land have led us to a deep understanding of which varietals will thrive in the varied microclimates of this exceptional place. Each wine we produce exhibits a distinct character that comes from the perfect marriage of family, terroir and tradition. Our Hillside Collection wines are estate-grown varietals, perfect for everyday meals and special occasions. Madrona Riesling is fresh yet inherently complex, balancing both fruit and spice.

2008 Madroña Late Harvest Riesling, dessert wine. 11.5% ABV. 375ml, $24. 30% Brix, 10.4% residual sugar. Mid- to deep gold. A light-handed touch again on the nose and impression of acidity. The wine’s intensity comes from long hang-time and its dehydration from “Noble Rot” (see label notes, below). This is like drinking wild local honey, yet it is balanced and it is not “too sweet.” Enchanting and highly recommended. 127 cases made; this is produced only one out of every five years on average, depending on certain weather conditions.

LABEL: A richly concentrated dessert Riesling produced from botrytis-affected grapes.

Madroña is a family-run vineyard that was planted in 1972 by Dick and Leslie Bush, in the halcyon days just before California’s emergence as a leader in the wine world. Their son Paul, one of their four children, has been winemaker since 2002, with Hugh Chappelle serving as consulting winemaker since 2003. Paul’s wife, Maggie, serves as Madroña’s General Manager. Another son, David Bush, has been in charge of the associated 40-acre Sumu-Kaw parcel since its purchase in 1991. A graduate of UC Davis with a degree in meteorology, he is a consultant in the field of air quality monitoring. His wife, Sheila, is actively involved in the farming and management of the Sumu-Kaw vineyard.

WEB: www.madronavineyards.com

Samples received for review.

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