Log In / Join Now

what we're drinking now

Editor at large Harvey Steiman joined Wine Spectator in 1983.
Harvey Steiman

A Juicy Riesling for Pasta and Asparagus

Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica 2005

Harvey Steiman
Posted: July 2, 2010

Although most Americans like to drink Riesling young, the grape can make wines that age gracefully. And not just in Europe, where fans of the varietal happily pop the corks on German, Austrian and Alsatian wines five, 10 or 15 years old—the good ones keep a lively core of fruit while adding extra layers of complexity from time in the bottle. For my money, the tart, citrusy style of Australian Riesling actually gets better with age as the wines flesh out.

But what about Washington, which produces heaps of good Riesling? I find the off-dry, floral, fruity style of most of the state’s Rieslings so beguiling that it’s hard to keep hands off. But every year I stash a few bottles of Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica to open a few years down the line, and I have never been disappointed in how they develop.

Most recently, I popped a 2005 for guests to drink before dinner and through a first course of spaghetti dressed with asparagus pesto (Mark Bittman’s recipe from a recent New York Times article). Under its top layer of white grapefruit and floral character, the wine showed plenty of minerality, which rose up more prominently against the mild asparagus flavor. 90 points, non-blind. It was a hit.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Chateau Ste. Michelle-Dr. Loosen Riesling Columbia Valley Eroica 2005 (90, $22 on release).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Rieslings from Washington.

Morewine Bishar
Del Mar, California —  July 3, 2010 1:59pm ET
Sounds like a nice bottle with a bit of age. That slightly off-dry style is my own personal preference. I have found over the years that when I open a three or four year old German Kabinett, I want to kick myself for not having bought more if it! Spatlesen are great in their own way, and they tend to get the bigger scores and flashier write-ups, but when it come right down to real world wine drinking, Kabinett is just the right weight and sweetness level for so many meals and occasions! And they undergo handsome bottle development much sooner than their more expensive brethren.

David Clark
for The Wine Spectator
Dave Reuther
Deerfield, Illinois —  July 3, 2010 5:02pm ET
Just enjoyed a bottle of the 2005 Eroica a few weeks ago. I completely agree the Eroica is food friendly and ages well. I have a couple bottles left. Your original review had the drinking window ending in 2010. Do you think it will continue to please for a few more years?

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.