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Senior editor James Laube, Wine Spectator's expert on the wines of California, joined the magazine in 1983.
James Laube

An Ideal White for Picnics and Parties

Spy Valley Riesling Marlborough 2008

James Laube
Posted: May 30, 2011

An off-dry Riesling is often a great go-to wine for those occasions where you have a smorgasbord of food. Picnics and family gatherings—such as Easter brunch, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day or the Fourth of July—often feature multiple salads, deviled eggs, cheeses, barbecued chicken or ribs, vegetable platters, dips, chips, salsa or guacamole and the like.

Recently, I took a 2008 Spy Valley Riesling, from the Marlborough region of New Zealand, to a Sunday brunch gathering on a breezy afternoon. Light yet intense and vibrant, this white had the acidity to offset the slightly sweet white peach, ginger and nectarine flavors.

At first, a couple of my friends were curious about my choice, yet after one sip they too realized how refreshingly delightful, versatile and easy to drink it is. This Riesling merited the 90-point rating Harvey Steiman gave it in his blind tasting.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Spy Valley Riesling Marlborough 2008 (90, $21).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Top Values among New Zealand whites.

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