Riesling has a special place in my heart. Not only do I consider it to be the second most profound and exciting white wine varietal, after chardonnay, but its history at Talley Vineyards dates to our origins.
There’s consensus in the fine wine world that riesling is one of the truly noble grape varieties because, along with pinot noir, it is considered to be the most reflective of the place it’s grown. It also produces a wide variety of wines, from low alcohol/high acid German Spatlese, to the dry and moderate alcohol wines of Alsace to the legendary Trockenbeerenausle produced entirely from botrytis affected grapes. Riesling is also incredibly ageworthy.
One must ask, why doesn’t riesling enjoy a better reputation in California? I think it’s because the traditional wines produced here were made in a softer off dry style produced from grapes grown in warmer regions. In fact, this is the kind of riesling my grandfather loved and the kind of wine he encouraged my father to produce way back in the early 1980s when we started planting our vineyards. Consequently, my dad included riesling in the original plantings in 1982. We have made riesling at Talley Vineyards ever since our first vintage in 1986. Most of the wines have been made in the off dry style that my grandfather liked.
Brian, Oliver and Don Talley
After thinking carefully about our Riesling program, and especially about the wines we really like, Eric Johnson and I decided that we would prefer to make a more “serious” dry style. The 2014 has classic aromas of peach, tangerine with the typical riesling touch of kerosene. It has steely minerality and crisp acidity and will taste great with Thai food or shellfish. Think of my grandfather, Oliver Talley, as you enjoy it.