Brand Name: Eroica
Vineyard: Chateau Ste. Michelle (& Dr. Loosen)
Appellation: Columbia Valley, Washington State
The cold temperatures experienced in Los Angeles during the second week of the New Year brought also a desire to enjoy a warm and hearty meal. Accompanied by my family, I decided to visit a Japanese Restaurant known for ramen, a Japanese noodle soup. The particularity about the ramen in the restaurant visited is that it follows the style of Hakata, a city in Japan, where the broth is made from pork, thus creating a thick and rich consistency to the broth. Thin noodles are placed in the broth and then the soup is decorated by slices of braised pork, chopped scallions, bamboo, flavored egg, red colored ginger, and sesame seeds. The food creates a salty, unctuous, and savory experience requiring a wine with high acidity to cut through unctuousness of the meal, with enough fruit to balance the saltiness, and with a crisp and bright structure to clean the palate between each sip and at the end of the meal. The selected wine to accompany the meal was a 2011 Eroica Riesling.
|Family dinner accompanied by Riesling|
Eroica is a wine developed in a partnership with the oldest winery in Washington State, Chateau Ste. Michelle , and a world-renowned wines estate in Germany, Dr. Loosen. As a result of cheap, syrupy, low acidity, and poor quality Riesling wines produced in the 70’s and 80’s by certain producers the image of rieslings was tainted; ironically, 100 years ago the top German rieslings were found to be the most expensive and finest wines available in the market. Today, the goal of the partnership between Chateau St. Michelle and Dr. Loosen is to increase the image of Riesling as noble variety by producing high quality Rieslings in the New World.
Riesling is a diverse grape producing wines with a wide spectrum of styles: bone-dry, off-dry, sweet, ice wines, etc. The grape is very reflective of its terroir, highlighting the characteristics of its environment. Riesling is notorious for the lack of oak or high alcohol content, allowing the consumer the opportunity to focus on the fruit and the terroir nuances.
Eroica is a Riesling wine produced in the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington State. The Columbia Valley is analogous in weather to Riesling producing regions in Germany such as the Palatinate (Pflaz) due to similar latitudes which create similar temperatures. The weather in Columbia Valley is characterized by warm days which provide enough heat and sunshine to gently ripen the grapes and cool nights to retain the acid content in the grape.
Visually the wine has a light golden complexion with green undertones. On the nose the wine displays bright notes of lemon, orange blossom, white peach, and a vibrant minerality reminiscing of white stones. In my opinion a wine embodies minerality when its overall taste transcends the expression of the grape variety and winemaking techniques, creating a synesthetic expression of the geological characteristics of the wine’s environment. On the palate the wine offered three-dimensionality: delicate residual sugar (slightly off-dry), vibrant acidity, and fruit balance. The palate is immersed in citrus fruit, lime and grapefruit notes, which are then followed by white stone nuances and a hint of a white pepper. On its own, the wine is a luscious and enjoyable drink to be enjoyed chilled (± 46°F - ± 8°C) during a hot summer day or in the case of this paring, with an unctuous or spicy meal.
Ramen & Riesling
Eroica 2011 coupled wonderfully with the ramen. The vibrant acidity of the wine and the delicate citrus, grapefruit, and peach notes made an ideal foil for the rich, salty, and unctuous ramen. Eroica met the criteria of a wine required for the ramen: the vibrant acidity cut and cleansed the inherent oiliness of the Hakata ramen, the elegant fruit profile balanced the saltiness, and the minerality and structural components of the wine left the palate cleaned and ready for each new sip of ramen. At the end of the meal, the last glasses of Eroica were enjoyed to replace the creamy and salty after taste typical of ramen with a bright, fresh, zesty, and brisk sensation.
|Hakata Ramen & Riesling|
It is unknown to me why Eroica was chosen as the name for the wine. Could it be because of the heroic attempt to enhance the image of Riesling in the world? Or could it be due to the arrangement of aromas and flavors, that like Beethoven’s first movement of his Eroica symphony, are “brisk, and lively, with spirit.” Regardless of the reasons for the name, Eroica proved to be a wine to be enjoyed chilled on its own and with meals contrasting in flavor and structure.
Synesthetics in music