Fourth of July celebrations call for an excellent American wine like the 2007 Mercer Estates Yakima Valley Riesling.
Founded in 2006, Mercer Estates is the creation of two Washington State farming families, Hogue and Mercer. Consumers of American wines are familiar with Hogue Cellars, the second largest winery in Washington state. The Mercers, who settled in the state in 1886, are less well known, but have been farming grapes since the 1970s in Washington’s best vineyard areas.
Recently, members of the Hogue and Mercer families, along with winemaker David Forsyth, presented their second vintage of Mercer Estates wines. A clean, fruit-filled 2007 pinot gris and a significantly over-oaked 2007 chardonnay provided bookends, so to speak, for a delicious 2007 Riesling.
Forsyth, who was the winemaker for 23 years at Hogue Cellars, sourced his Riesling fruit from the cool Yakima Valley. Riesling is a grape that thrives in cool climates; Germany and Alsace produce the world’s best Rieslings. Mercer Estates’ 2007 Riesling has not reached that level, but its apricot and white peach aromas and flavors are just as appealing as Rieslings from Germany’s Mosel region. A minuscule amount of residual sugar distinguishes this wine from many American Rieslings and places it in the classic, drier French and German style.
After the whites, Forsyth directed my attention to the Mercer Estates 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon from Horse Hills Vineyard. Blended with 18 percent merlot, the wine’s blackberry and cedar aromas introduce the pleasant blackberry-flavored fruit. Soft tannins give the wine an immediate likability as the tasty fruit courses around the palate. This is a wine to keep in mind for fall when cooler breezes suggest bigger wines.
The 2007 Mercer Estates Riesling can be served as an aperitif or with a plate of German-style potato salad, grilled chicken and corn on the cob. It will also be enjoyable while sitting in a lawn chair watching the fireworks.
The 2007 Mercer Estates 2007 Riesling retails for approximately $16.