The Wino Squeezes The Last Sweet Drops Outta Summer

Illustration by Andrew Saegar, tHEARTdept.
Hey fellow lushes! If you could look into my bloodshot eyes, you'd notice a batch of tears welling up. I'm in mourning about the waning days of summer! Damn, why does this hotly anticipated season always go by so quickly?

Before falling into full-on autumnal funk, I'm going to dive into a cool pool of Riesling and drink deeply, until the calendar becomes a meaningless blur and I begin to sing the om-pah-pah songs of my youth. (Which was spent in the Bavarian Village known as Leavenworth. Ah, so many happy hours spent mocking tourists.)

Riesling was one of the reasons I first fell in love with wine because, well... it is the absolute best varietal in the world. Oh, The Wino knows that brash statement is going to cause Cabernet fans and Chardonnay lovers to roll their eyes and scoff, but let me make my case.

This grape, with roots in Germany, is as versatile as Jeff Bridges. (He can act! He can sing! He can pimp cars in super-sexy-sounding voice overs!!) There are bone-dry Rieslings and sticky sweets and everything in between. What makes great Riesling so lip-smacking good is their tart quality, the high levels of acid in the grapes that keep the sweetness in check.

Think about the best apple you've ever eaten, equal parts juicy-sweet and tangy-tart, right? That's Riesling.

That yummy fruit and the zippy edge add up to a perfect food wine. It's especially good with grilled stuff like chicken and pork chops and salmon and, hell yes, The Wino would sure welcome a wiener alongside a glass of Riesling!

Here are a few of my all-time faves from Washington state:

Seven Hills Winery in Walla Walla, where Casey McClellan does swell job with fruit that's from old vines. Which is a good thing, because, like Jeff Bridges, vines get better with age.

Badger Mountain's Riesling comes in a cobalt blue bottle, which stands out when you BYOB to a summer cookout. That pretty bottle is filled with wine made from organic grapes and when you take a sip it's like forest nymphs are having a party on your tongue. OK, The Wino should know better than to drink and type. Scratch that. All you need to know is that it's just so freaking delicious.

Latah Creek in Spokaloo makes a Huckleberry Riesling that's purple-tastic! Seriously, you can sneer all you want Mr. Wine Geek, but it's berry tasty.

A few glasses of Poet's Leap from Long Shadows inspires me to rhyme: So crisp, so fruity, this wine's a real cutie.

Kiona's been making awesome Riesling from fruit they grow right at the winery since way back when Mr. Bridges starred in The Fabulous Baker Boys. (OK, I swear that's the last reference to JB... who The Wino gets to go see next weekend at Chateau Ste. Michelle. So sue me for being amped up!)

Also gotta whole lotta love for Rieslings from Woodward Canyon, Olsen Estates and Dunham Cellars. Such beauties!

So, let's drink up, fellow lushes, to the final days of a too-short summer. If you need me, I'll be over by the pool.

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