Cost: Average price $12
Where buy now: Elevated Wines & Spirits ($10 at Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale)
Region: Washington State
I can’t believe I’m writing about an American Riesling. Not because I’m a hater-I look at every wine I dislike as a missed romance- my palate is just not about syrupy, sweet wines. American Rieslings have a reputation of being sweet and thick. While “sweet” and “thick” can be very desirable adjectives for certain things in life, wine is not one of them.
I checked out the new(ish) Elevated Wines & Spirits in South Mpls off Hiawatha Ave. I was welcomed by warm employees as I walked into this great space full of craft beer and wine. The New France [local distributor] rep, Erin, was pouring delicious wines. I told her I was going to make some spicy Mandarin chicken and she asked if I’d tried Kung Fu Girl Riesling. At first I balked at it, seeing it hails from Washington State. Erin told me that she’s not a Riesling drinker by nature but loved this one. So, I took her advice and off I went.
Kung Fu Girl is bursting with zingy apricot, tart apple and peachy floral aromas and tastes. It’s smooth and silky with a layer of lime balanced by minerality. It’s truly an off-dry Riesling and I haven’t had an American one that mimics a German Riesling.
‘Tis the season for corned beef and cabbage, so, on a hunch, I bought another bottle. Constructing the perfect Reuben is quite important to me. The corned beef must be shredded, topped with Frank’s sauerkraut, thick swiss cheese & a healthy dollop of Thousand Island dressing. Oh, and it had better end up between marble rye. I must tell you the Kung Fu Girl Riesling was a pleasant surprise. The zing and tart, balanced by sweetness and minerality, cut through the thick beef/kraut/dressing veil- complimenting it rather than competing with it. This was wine/sandwich perfection. Get your corned beef on for St. Paddy’s Day and I defy you to go against the norm and pair it with this Riesling.
Corned beef aside, this will be my go-to wine for spicy food. it paired swimmingly well with Mandarin Chicken (kissed with Sriracha). I can also see this pairing well with a burrito al pastor, possibly Pad Thai. It’s also going to be a superb Summer sipper. Erin, you vino matchmaking genius, I can’t thank you enough for persuading me to take this girl home.