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  • Writer's pictureThe Unassuming Wine Bros

USA Dry Rieslings 

If you are like most wine drinkers, when you hear the word "Riesling" you think of sipping overly sweet wine while doing one of two things: yodeling through a Central European valley in Lederhosen humming melodies from The Sound of Music or watching a cardboard cutout going over the cliff in an episode of the Price is Right. And while European style Rieslings are generally the more well-known kind, crisper, less sweet Dry Rieslings from the United States have recently exploding onto the scene with a cult-like following and growing popularity to give their more traditional and sweeter European counterparts a serious run for their money.

We are The Unassuming Wine Bros (UWB) – Patrick and Vigo - two regular guys who love everything about wine, including writing about it. Our goal is to explore the nuances of wine, share our adventures with you, and have a little fun along the way.

This month's article's original concept was a "Battle of the (European vs. the USA) Rieslings" in full disclosure. In furtherance, we sampled five different Rieslings - two traditional European Rieslings (one from Alsace, France; one from Bernkastel, Germany) and three USA Dry Rieslings (from New York's Finger Lakes region (2) and Columbia Valley, Washington, (1), respectively). And after doing so, because we were shocked at how much more we enjoyed each of the USA Dry Rieslings, we decided to ditch what we each believed were inferior European selections and write about just the USA Dry Rieslings. With surprise, enthusiasm, and while patriotically draped in the Stars and Stripes, here are our thoughts:

2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington State,

$9.00 U.S; 12.5 % Alc. by Vol.

Vigo: This wine should have been in our under 15 dollars article, but as we all know, "wine hindsight is 20-20". After my first taste of this wine, I discovered something: I like (not love) Dry Rieslings. The wine's bouquet is of roses, oranges, and green apples. The favor is dry and acidic, with lemons, green apples, oranges, and pears lingering on your palate. Altogether, delightful, and the price point makes it even better.

Vigo's Rating: 3.5 Bros

Patrick: I found the 2018 Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling to be refreshing, easy-to-drink, and enjoyable. This bottle was tangy, dry, and crisp with notes of peach and apple. It exhibited a present but not overpowering sweetness combined with this wine's minerality to make a flavorful taste. At $9.00 per bottle, you could have two and still feel you were getting your money's worth.

Patrick's Rating: 3.5 Bros

2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, Seneca Lake, New York State: $14.00 U.S; 12% Alc. by Vol.

Vigo: Of the USA Dry Rieslings we tasted, this is the one Patrick and I disagreed on the most. If you research this wine, you'll find it is the highest-rated and most acclaimed of the three bottles. My first observation after tasting this wine was that this is a Dry Riesling for those who want a different type of Riesling. The bouquet is different from most Dry Rieslings with wildflowers and a hint of apple. The flavor is dry but not acidic with the profile of apples and wax on the palate. The smoothness may be from being fermented in oak initially before being transferred to stainless steel to finish the fermentation process. The 2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling is a well-balanced wine, but it confused me because of its lack of acidity. If you're looking for a less sweet, not acidic, Dry Riesling, then the 2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling is for you.

Vigo Rating: 3 Bros

Patrick: As usual, Vigo is wrong, and I am right. This is the second time I have sampled this bottle, and I enjoyed it thoroughly each time. The 2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling is a perfect blend of fruit, minerality, and a long, interesting finish. Apple is the predominant fruit in this delicious wine and was far and away the best of the three wines sampled. I can't wait to pick up another bottle.

Patrick's Rating: 4 Bros

2018 Wagner Vineyards Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York State; $13.00 U.S; 11.9 % Alc. by Vol

Vigo: The bottom line on the 2018 Wagner Vineyard Dry Riesling is it's a reliable representation of a Dry Riesling. A beautiful bouquet, citrus, green apples, and flowers fill your glass after a few swirls. The flavor profile is dry and acidic, with citrus, green apples, and orange peel on the palate. The Wagner Dry Riesling is an excellent representation of a Finger Lakes Riesling and should be a go-to for those who love traditional Dry Rieslings.

Vigo Rating: 3.5 Bros

Patrick: I enjoyed the 2018 Wagner Vineyard Dry Riesling. This wine was the least sweet of the three USA Dry Rieslings we sampled, and its minerality was its dominant feature. It exhibited more pronounced citrus and less but still present apple notes. I thought this wine was a solid dry option. This will pair perfectly with shellfish.

Patrick's Rating:3.5 Bros

Patrick's Overall Impressions: I went into this month's tasting with a low expectation and ended up being blown away by the quality of these three samples of this often-overlooked grape varietal. My favorite was the 2018 Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling, although I liked each for different reasons. If you have not tried these Dry Rieslings, check them out and let us know what you think. Each can be purchased at the UTC Total Wine.

Vigo's Overall Impressions: USA Dry Rieslings should be given serious consideration when thinking about choosing a white wine for your next meal or wine get-together. If you're not a lover of a sweet Riesling, then one of these USA Dry Rieslings is the way to go. I was very impressed with this month's selections, with the 2018 Chateau St. Michelle, Dry Riesling being my favorite.

Although this month we focused on USA Dry Rieslings, an honorable mention shout-out goes to the 2018 Alberechi Traditional Alsace Riesling. This French Riesling was sweeter than each of the three USA Dry Rieslings, which should be expected given its traditional European roots but was clean and flavorful. It is worth a try if you are looking for a sweeter wine.

Attention Fans and Readers:

We have thoroughly enjoyed the overwhelming response to our recently launched social media presence. It gives us other ways to communicate with our readers about our passion for all things wine. Amazingly, we have already interacted with followers in Asia, South America, and Europe about some of the wines we have sampled in the short time period since we launched. Like our Facebook page "The Unassuming Wine Bros," follow us on Instagram @theinassumingwinebros, or email us at Let us know what you think about this article, these bottles, or suggestions for upcoming articles.

This article was originally published in "Around the Ranch" on March 17, 2021

Rating System:

Vigo – / Patrick – UWB symbol. Ratings are given on a 1-5 scale, with five being the highest

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