Kung Fu Girl Riesling, 2009 Columbia Valley

Man oh man am I loving life right now!  It’s gorgeous out, it’s not even noon, and I am sipping on one of my all time favorite wines!  And as an added bonus, I get to go pour wine at an art show opening at Frame of Mind (1520 Main St) http://www.artofeyewear.com/ from 6-9 tonight!  Thus today is off to a good start.  Unlike yesterday, when I ran out of gas on the way to work.  Could’ve used a glass of wine then. 

I have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of this wine all week! 

And here she is!  I’m fairly certain many of you will recognize the label on this one- as I’ve said before, I love a great wine label and genius marketing, both of which are at work here.  So many people remember the Charles Smith wines, and in particular the Kung Fu Girl, because of the sleek, sexy packaging.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that- especially when the wines are awesome, so it’s not like you’re being tricked into buying something because of the label- which I detest.  And I’m sure most of you would agree.  No one likes to be tricked.  Here’s a better look at Miss Fu:

And yes, I’ve done it again- chosen a summer white to write about this week.  To all you people who think you don’t like white wine, or think that white wine is for sissy’s- hopefully you’ve been reading this blog for a while now you’re starting to get over it.  White wine is fantastic.  And if you live in South Carolina and you don’t like white wine- well, have mercy- because nothing gets you through a hot SC summer quite like a refreshing white.  Kung Fu Girl is no exception.  A lovely, aromatic riesling with a nose of white peaches, tangerines, flowers, and a handful of wet stones that you have just plucked out of a body of water in the Columbia Valley that looks something like this:

I stole this picture off of a “hike of the week” website for the Washington Trails Association.  Now, I do not hike- but if I did, it would be in a place like this!  And to all those outdoorsy types that I went to college with that made me feel guilty for not really enjoying hiking- let me say this; I love to be outside.  And I have nothing against exercise- I do it with frequency, actually.  But if I want to enjoy a lovely day outside, I don’t want to have to work hard.  I just want to chill.  So that’s why I don’t hike.  I’m not ashamed of it anymore.  I think Nalgene bottles are sort of gross (but I like reusable water bottles made of other materials), and the stickers that cover them that are supposed to show off all your pursuits, hobbies, passions, etc. are irritating to me.  I hate roof racks, I hate huge backpacks, and I think clothing made of special materials to wear outside are a rip-off designed for elitists.  Phew- that was something of a rant that had aboslutely nothing to do with Riesling… sorry about that!  It’s who I am. 

So more tasting notes would be helpful, I suppose- since this is a wine blog!  This is the third vintage that I’ve tasted of the Kung Fu Girl, and I’d say it’s definitely the best.  2009 was apparently a “near perfect” year in Eastern Washington, and in my humble opinion, this is as close to perfect of an expression of Washington state Riesling that you can purchase for $13.  Most of the fruit is up-front and on the nose, so by the time you get to mid-palate, you’re left with a fantastic dose of lemony-lime tartness, with perfect minerality and an edge of slate.  It’s light and racy, much like a Mosel-style Riesling from Germany, but softer.  It’s an extremely clean wine, that might fool you into thinking it’s wimpy based on it’s near-translucence- but definitely don’t underestimate- she has a-plenty of sophistication.  It’s like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Riesling.  This is how I picture her:

My gosh Michelle Yeoh is beautiful, isn’t she?  But she kicks ass, too.  At least she does in that movie.  Much like Kung Fu Girl Riesling!  So give ‘er a try!  She will be at the Wine Sale at Cellar this Saturday April 3rd from 12-2.  Yes, the free one!  They’re all free!  So stop in, say hi, taste wine, and enjoy your Saturday.  Hope to see lots of you then!


Can I get a taste of Riesling? Dr. L Riesling, 2008

This post might only hit home to a few of you.  If you just happened to stumble into my blog from a search engine, you might find another review that is more informative elsewhere.  That’s fine.  But if you care to read on, I will of course touch on how great this wine is, share a few tasting notes, and give it my ringing endorsement.  It’s awesome.  It’s an amazing value at $12.  It got 90 points from Wine Spectator, and was the number 62 wine of last year.  It rocks!

But I also want to share the reason why I chose to write about this particular wine on this particular day.  We, my “family” at the restaurants, and the 5 Points community, lost our favorite drinker of fine German Riesling this past week, James “Stump” Johnson.  I will never be able to see Riesling, think about Riesling, or drink Riesling again without thinking of him.  That is only a drop in the bucket.  There are countless other things that I will see, hear, and think about that will remind me of him and his sweet smile.  I hope that sometime soon those things will make me smile, because right now they only make me hurt.  I’ve never lost someone that I saw every single day, that I relied on every single day… that was just such a part of my life every day.  He’s just gone.  He is so gone.  When I say the words “James died on Thursday,” or “we lost James this week,” it still doesn’t feel real.  I can still hear his voice.  I can still see him walking.  It doesn’t feel right.  He is missing.  I miss him.  I feel alone without him around.  There is an empty space lingering in the air at Cellar, it’s tangible and I feel it all the time.  We all do.

Here he is, having his taste of Riesling.  He always asked for it in the same way, too… “Can I get a taste of Riesling?”  A taste is a technical term for about half a glass, or sometimes a full glass, depending on our mood.  James preferred German Riesling, which is why the Loosen Brothers “Dr. L” Riesling is such a good choice for today’s post…

The Dr. L  is a light, racy little Riesling.  It is tangy and perfectly balanced.  It smells like a warm summer day.  Baking spices, honey, honeysuckle, and peaches with a nice clean aura.  It strikes me as a very excitable wine- very eager.  Lovely, fresh tastes of nectarines, apricots, lemon and lime zest, and minerals are quite up front and boisterous.  A perfect freshness and zap of acidity finishes it off quite nicely.  This wine will please a Riesling afficianado, as well as serve as a lovely introduction for someone who doesn’t think they like Riesling- or doesn’t think they like wine in general!

My most favorite food and wine pairing in the worrrrld is Riesling and spicy food, especially Thai!  It just doesn’t get any better than that.  Anything light and spicy is perfect with this- ceviche, nachos, even a spicy sashimi preparation.  Or just a simple grilled white fish with lime, cilantro, ginger, etc etc.  This is making me crave my favorite Red Curry Duck from Basil in Charleston.  It is the epitome of refreshment to sip on a glass of Riesling like the Dr. L while chowing down on something that has a little heat. However, if you want to make a full tribute to Stump,  you would drink it while eating Fried Fish & Grits, or maybe the Spanish Chicken from the Blue Cactus (if you 86 the nuts, it is known as Stump Chicken), OR the Peach-Mustard BBQ Salmon from Mr. Friendly’s.  Or maybe KFC.  Although please choose the former… KFC is pretty gross.

But whatever you’re dining on, if you had the good fortune to know James, please raise a glass of Riesling and toast to the most kind-hearted, funniest, most loyal friend that many of us have ever known.  There will never be another James Johnson.  He adored me and would have done anything for me and I feel so lucky to have had him in my life.  I wouldn’t trade the pain I feel now for the time I spent with him.  It was worth it, James.  You were worth it.  All the messes, tastes of Riesling, Budweisers, $2, needing to buy air freshener for the bathrooms, and all the other inconveniences.  They were worth it just to know you.  Your best boss lady loved you lots.