Riesling has been called the wine for all occasions, and luckily, there’s plenty available in Washington.
It’s one of the most versatile white wine grapes and can be made in styles to fit almost any mood or occasion and to match a wide range of foods.
You can find a good one for under $6 a bottle retail, and it is often the lowest-cost wine on restaurant wine lists.
Rieslings are versatile because they come in all measures of sweetness — from bone dry to syrupy sweet. The most popular seems to be off dry, with about 2 to 3.6 percent residual sugar.
Nat’s Decants, www.nataliemaclean.com says wine and food matches for riesling include Muenster cheese, spicy chicken wings, mild coconut curry, many Mexican dishes, Hawaiian pizza, poached salmon, the turkey holiday dinner and Greek salad.
Here are a few of the better ones now on the market:
Pacific Rim 2007 dry riesling, Columbia Valley, $10 — This offers great balance and flavors, like taking a bite of apple crisp with a peach on top.
Washington Hills 3-liter nonvintage box riesling, Washington state, $16-$20 — This is equivalent to about four bottles at $4 to $5 a bottle and just right for a wedding shower. Fragrant peach aromas and bright acidity.
Kiona Vineyards 2007 Dry white riesling, Red Mountain, $11-$13 — It opens with floral aromas followed by wonderful fruity peach flavors and is good as it gets.
Columbia Crest 2007 Two Vines riesling, Washington state $5-$7 — Juicy and refreshing with excellent acids, it’s like sampling a fruit orchard at harvest time. Widely available.
Barnard Griffin 2008 white riesling, Columbia Valley, $7-$10 — Wine Enthusiast put this one on its top 100 wines in America and its personifies a Washington riesling, with ripe apple aromas and creamy peach flavors.
Hogue 2008, late harvest white riesling, Columbia Valley, $8-$10 — Honeysuckle, apricots and sweet lemon dominated this wine’s aromas and flavors, with its 5 percent residual sugar perfectly balanced for a dessert wine.
Ste. Chapelle 2006 Winemakers Series, Idaho, $6.50 — Delicious semisweet apricot and peach flavors, with yet crisp acids to make it enjoyable.
Erath 2006 dry riesling, Oregon, $10 — Lemon-lime flavors with a hint of sweetness in its Germanic style.
14 Hands 2008 riesling, Washington state, $10 — Minerality, apples and peaches balanced with bright acidity.