the vine yard 2009 Columbia Valley Late Harvest Riesling - ~$7

Perhaps because I had markedly poor experience with its Cabernet Franc label-mate, I'd put off reviewing the vine yard's Late-Harvest Riesling (LHR). Turns out I needn't have worried. This is a good little off-dry (i.e. sweet) white wine.

Now, there are those who would contend that this wine - off-dry, low (at 9% ABV) in alcohol and associated with funding for breast cancer research - is being marketed unabashedly to women. Women, say, like my mother, who I'm pretty sure would like this wine.  I would counter that this marketing effort doesn't in itself compromise the quality of the wine itself. I'm not a frequent consumer of sweet wines, but I can give respect where respect is due, and it is due here.

Given the low alcohol level and relatively low residual sugars, this is a LHR on the lighter side. The nose offers aromas of baked apple, pineapple, citrus and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is slightly viscous and the flavor is shaped by elements of Macintosh apple sweetness, dried apricot, lychee, and a cinnamon note that reasserts itself on the finish.

If you like off-dry (i.e. sweet) white wines, this will likely do nicely for you. It's sweet in soft, pleasant manner, and while it lacks the balancing acidity of its more distinguished peers (say, an off-dry German Auslese - which would be significantly more expensive as well), it also avoids the cloying, one-note syrupy simplicity of its domestic cousin, white zinfandel.

At ~$8, the vine yard's LHR is playing the same ballpark, price-wise, as similar Washington state bottlings by Hogue and Chateau Ste. Michelle.


Drinkability: 8/10
Price: 3/5
Total value: 11/15


  1. You reallly need to wait for the wine to open up ... As soon as you open and swirl it in your glass there is a funny smell of blood .

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