Several months ago on one of my many weekend jaunts to San Diego to visit my good friend and fellow wine geek Beau, he had given me a bottle of Riesling. I promised him that I would pair it up with something fun and write about it and I will never break a promise to a friend, no matter how long it may take. I know I have been sitting on this wine for several months but the opportunity for a fun pairing finally presented itself.
Every December, my mother takes a weekend before Christmas to make an outrageous batch of homemade tamales which the family eats for Christmas Eve. This year I helped her with this daunting task because it was time I learned how to make them to carry on the family traditions. We made the traditional spicey pork variety, a green chile and cotija cheese variety, and a sweet variety. Her tamales are in a word, epic! This is one thing I truly look forward to all year. She makes so many of them that she will often give some to friends and I give some to mine as well. They make one hell of a breakfast on Christmas morning with a Bloody Mary or Mimosa. That was one of my own traditions that I started.
At long last, Christmas weekend came. It was Christmas Eve and family and friend’s were gathered at my parent’s house, just like every other year. The collection of wines that would be consumed that evening was phenomenal. Among the collection was the bottle of Riesling Beau gave me, a Dauenhauer Vineyard 2007 Pacific Rim Riesling from Oregon.
This wine comes from Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley. This particular Riesling is considered medium dry and has an abv of 8.6% and 3.9% residual sugar. In the glass it pours a light, but golden straw color. On the nose, I got faint scents of pear and tropical fruits. On the palate, I got huge flavors of white peaches and honey, along with tropical fruits such as pineapple and guava. I also got a lot of hints of apple and some citrus such as lemon on a medium finish. All the flavors along with the crisp acid made this wine very balanced and refreshing. The sweetness of the wine and the vibrant acidity were the perfect compliment to the heat and spiciness of the pork tamales. This wine was so much fun to pair with our traditional Christmas tamales. It was evident that this native Latin American and native German pairing was a hit! This wine would also pair beautifully with spicy Thai or Chinese cuisine or even Indian curries.
Searching for this wine on Google brought up several online retailers that carry the wine for around $22 per bottle. Definitely a great price on a solid Riesling that is very food friendly and a lot of fun to pair with spicy foods. A very special thank you to Beau for giving this wine to me. I typically prefer my Rieslings on the dry side but he introduced me to this sweeter style of Riesling that was a perfect compliment for the tamales. I would like to pair this up with some Indian Curry next time. I definitely recommend this wine and encourage you to experiment with a fun food pairing like I did. You will be pleasantly surprised.