Storyteller Wine Company
In the last newsletter I introduced many of you for the first time to the dynamic winemaking duo of Barnaby and Olga Tuttle. I normally don't feature the same winery in two straight newsletters but this wine demands immediate attention. The wine in question was released 10 days ago and the response has been so strong I was beginning to fear all 100 cases would disappear before I could offer it up in a newsletter. So without further adieu, to paraphrase the late, great James Brown, "Bobby, let's take 'em to The Bridge!"
NV Teutonic Wine Co. "The Bridge" Riesling (32.00)
The Bridge is a 50-50 blend of Riesling from the Crow Valley Vineyard in Oregon's southern Willamette Valley and an area near Enkirsch in Germany's Mosel Valley. That's right, a blend of Riesling from opposite sides of the planet! The Oregon Riesling was made by Barnaby and Olga Tuttle and the German side was handled by Daniel Immich, the winemaker at Weingut Immich-Anker. Barnaby, Olga and Daniel aren't the first to come up with this idea as Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon fame launched his Pacific Rim Riesling (a blend of Riesling from California, Washington and Germany) back in 1992. Which is perfect as Barnaby and Randall, with their manic energy, off beat personalities and quirky senses of humor, have a lot more in common than a love of Riesling.
The Bridge is made entirely with fruit from the 2012 vintages in Oregon and Germany but due to the fact they are blending grapes from two different growing regions the federal government requires the Tuttles to list it as (a) non-vintage and (b) leave the word "Riesling" off the label. Wouldn't want to confuse anybody into thinking there was actually Riesling in the bottle I guess. I first started hearing rumors about this project about a year ago and I have been awaiting its release with great anticipation. The Tuttles know how to make great white wines (especially Riesling) and I've enjoyed the Immich-Anker wines for many years now, so how could The Bridge be anything but great?
The Bridge managed to exceed my expectations. It has a pale moonbeam color and one of the more exotic sets of aromas I have encountered in quite some time. The first thing I picked up on was a fruit scent that waffled back and forth between peach skins and quince. Then there was this dusty mirabelle plum note mixing it up with something that smelled like the house after boiling wort back in my home brewing days. That malt-fruit combination was pretty nifty. Finally there was a nutty note, something like pistachios. All of that a nice bit of chalky minerality made for quite the aromatic acrobatics.
The palate surprised me as it was creamier, more round-in-the-mouth than I was expecting. I checked the label and it said 12% alcohol but this seemed a bit fuller bodied than that. Then I saw the note the Tuttles wrote for the wine and it made a bit more sense. According to Barnaby and Olga, "this wine sat on the gross lees a lot longer than our white wines typically do, so it has such roundness in the mouth that you might ask yourself 'I wonder if this wine went through malolactic fermentation?' No, it didn't. We weren't sure ourselves so we took it to the lab and had it analyzed. 100% certain it did not."
Flavor-wise, there's a lot going on here. The fruit is of the citrus variety, with lime zest and lemon verbena flavors spanning the palate. The Bridge comes across as nice and tart with a distinct mineral quality that's a combination of freshly starched dress shirts and the backyard slate patio after a warm rain. This is a very nice Riesling, one that accomplishes the Tuttles' goal of making a wine that bridges the German and Oregon growing regions, a wine not quite Mosel and yet something more complicated than your average Willamette Valley Riesling.
As I mentioned earlier, this wine is about to become The Bridge to nowhere as supplies run out. At 32.00 a bottle (the same price the wineries are asking) it's a nice buy. A six-pack, however, may be had for 180.00 with a 12 bottle case going for 340.00.
Barnaby, Olga and Daniel aren't sure if this project will continue (the government red tape was evidently quite a hassle to contend with) so these 100 cases might be all we ever have. Please let me know by responding to this email as quickly as you are able if you are interested in bottles of this wine.
Friday April 4th, 6:00PM-9:00PM: Sekt Haus II
Barnaby and Olga don't just make wines, they also import a nice selection of wines from Germany. Last year we hosted a tasting event to honor the Tuttle's new portfolio of sparkllng, or sekt
as it is called in Germany, and it was a big hit. So we have decided to do it again, this time seriously upping the ante!
If you drop by between the hours of 6:00 and 9:00PM this Friday Barnaby, Olga and I will pour you samples of the two Teutonic sparkling wines mentioned in the last newsletter, along with sparkling wines made with Riesling and Pinot Noir from Immich-Anker, Anna Lioba and Schwaab-Dietz. In addition to Barnaby and Olga, we will be joined by Daniel S. Immich, winemaker at his family's Immich-Anker winery. In addition to all the bubbles, Daniel will be pouring a few of his family's still Rieslings.
All of that wine, all of those special guests for a mere 5.00 tasting fee. And we will happily refund that tasting fee with a purchase of any of the wines from the tasting! This was so much fun last year, I hope you are able to join us.
PS British wine writer Jancis Robinson once remarked her anecdotal observations have led her to conclude Riesling drinkers tend to be more intelligent and more attractive than the average wine drinker. Is it because smarter, more attractive people seek out Riesling or can Riesling consumption actually improve your looks and boost your IQ? These are interesting theoretical questions that will require more "research." Lots more research.