Review: 2010 Poet's Leap Riesling Columbia Valley

Photo: 2010 Poet's Leap Riesling.

The Poet’s Leap Riesling is made by German winemaker Armin Diel, proprietor of the renowned Schlossgut Diel. Mr. Diel makes the Poet's Leap Riesling at the Long Shadows Winery in Walla Walla, Washington. I first tasted this wine in February at the Long Shadows winery, then again in July during a virtual tasting (I had my bottle at home and tweeted about it). I believe this wine has improved in bottle.

This time at opening, the wine was steely, it reminded me of polished steel. It was crisp, bright with wonderful minerality. It was not austere, it was tantalizing. Wow!

After 2 days in the refrigerator, it was even better. Tonight, it was beautifully integrated, sublime, full of introspection. Pale gold in color, with a lively aroma of soft petrol, nectarine, toast and river rock. Bright, round and spiky flavors front palate, crisp, with lovely apple-pear and honey flavors mid-palate, exiting with a refreshing tart finish of granny smith apple and hard peach. Long mid-palate finish. This is a beautiful wine – and a wonderful expression of a Washington Riesling. On day one I'd pair the Poet's Leap Riesling with fresh oysters, steamed clams, sashimi, hard cheese and fresh fruit. On day two, three or four, I'd pair with roasted meat; I had leftover leg of lamb tonight, sliced thin, and it paired beautifully with this wine. I suspect this Riesling will age well over the next ten years. Go buy some and find out for yourself. Highly recommended.

The Winemaker

Armin Diel is one of Germany’s most acclaimed Riesling producers.  His family has owned the celebrated estate of Schlossgut Diel, in Burg Layen, in the Nahe River Valley since 1802. Armin and his wife Monika live in Burg Layen with their daughter Caroline who became partner in the winery in 2006. She had completed her studies in enology in Geisenheim – Germany’s UC Davis equivalent. Son Victor is based in Hamburg and responsible for the estate’s export sales.

Vineyards: Long Shadows’ Sonnet Vineyard is the predominant source (57%).  A site planted with German clones in 2004. Yakima Valley’s Phil Church Vineyard (22%). Equal parts Weinbau Vineyard and old-vine Dionysus Vineyard Riesling (10% each).
ABV: 12.9%
Residual Sugar: 1.31g/100ml
Closure: Natural cork
Purchased locally $19

Long Shadows
Distinguished Wineries and Vineyards
Walla Walla, Washington

You must contact the winery to arrange a tasting visit.

What is Long Shadows?

Long Shadows was founded in 2002 by Allen Shoup, former CEO of the Stimson Lane wine group (Chateau Ste. Michelle, Columbia Crest, etc.). Long Shadows is the realization of Mr. Shoups vision to bring together the best winemakers from around the world, to Walla Walla, to make wine which showcases the excellence of  Washington viticulture.

Each individual wine project is headed by a world-famous winemaker who has partnered with Mr. Shoup in a winemaking program aimed at producing unique, ultra-premium wine under a unique label. Each winemaker-partner has their own style and approach. The goal at Long Shadows is to make each individual wine reflect the style of the partners native wine-region.
Photo: Gilles Nicault.

Gilles Nicault, Director of  Winemaking & Viticulture at Long Shadows, has different grape allocations for each of the winemakers and knows which technique is required for each varietal that comes to the facility. His great fortune is to work and learn alongside some of the world’s foremost winemakers. Long Shadows is so named in tribute to the stature of this esteemed group of individuals.

You can read about my visit to Long Shadows in February 2012.


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