Columbia Winery 2007 Cellarmaster’s Riesling

When I started my foray into wines, I started off easy, with white wines. Even the driest white tended to have some fruit flavor that would latch onto my soda-pop tainted taste buds. There was never the risk of tannen overload, which would turn my tongue leathery and drier than sandpaper. But when I began to run into tasty and palatable reds, whites soon became boring.

I was only exposed to Chardonnays and the occasional Pinto Grigio, though. Their flavors weren’t as robust as cheap table red, and I let my flawed understanding of wine cut off a huge portion of my potential enjoyment of great wines.

That changed when I picked up my first bottle of Columbia Winery’s Cellarmaster’s Riesling. The difference from a Chardonnay was immediately apparent when I poured into a glass. The Riesling was so yellow that it was almost green. It looked like the color of a white grape, instead of that pale, wan yellow I was used to. It was thick–swirling it produced long-lived legs. I was delighted from the first sip of strong honey and pear flavor. It is a sweet wine, almost to the point of standing as a dessert wine, but the flavors underlying it are so strong and complex that the sugar complements them. It’s a soda-pop drinker’s wine.

Alas, that may turn some people off to this wine, but I think a generation of people know what I’m talking about. This wine is enjoyable to drink.

I originally started drinking the 2004 vintage, and now I’m finding 2007s in my local. Columbia Winery is located in Washington state, and I’ve since found that many Washington whites are robust and worth a look. But the Cellarmaster’s Riesling, when available, is my first choice. It’s a great wine for those who are transitioning into drinking wines. Because of the complexity of the flavors, beginners will become accustomed to the subtle flavors that lurk in other wines. There is nothing subtle about this Riesling, though, other than it’s unpretentious label and exceedingly affordable price ($11–13).