When you taste a superb Riesling, such as the one made by the newly opened Integrity Wines, it’s as if the clouds parted and delicious nectar rained down. Integrity’s Riesling impressed me greatly when I tried it at a food and wine event in October.
Riesling can be a bit of a black sheep—and its reputation got rather ruined some time ago with lots of tawdry stuff on the market, but this one made by winery owner Mark Hoover is one of the best Rieslings I have tasted in a long time. I contacted Hoover and he tells me that his wines have just gone into Deer Park Wine & Spirits—a top-flight liquor store in Aptos which holds wine-tasting events with guest winemakers—usually for around $3. From 4-7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 the winemaker will be Mark Hoover of Integrity.
Grapes for this 2016 Riesling ($20) were harvested from Santa Lucia Highlands, and the beautiful flavors and aromas result from two different pickings. “During fermentation,” says Hoover, “both lots gave off an amazingly Jolly Rancher apple candy aroma, and I was worried I had screwed the wine up. Fortunately, that aroma gave way to a much more complex set of aromas which we get to enjoy.”
Rieslings can be rather sweet, but that sweetness means it pairs well with spicy food such as Indian or Asian. But for me, this honeysuckle beauty is perfect just by itself.
Integrity Wines, 135 Aviation Way, Suite 16, Watsonville. 322-4200. Tasting room is open Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Holiday Open House on the Summit
Celebrate the holidays at Burrell School, Loma Prieta and Wrights Station wineries—complete with live music, food vendors, wine specials and artsy crafts. Fashions by Lula Roe, Shelley’s Biscotti and live music at Burrell School. At Loma Prieta Winery, there will be light complimentary appetizers, a chance to taste a vertical trio of Karma Vineyard Pinotage, and a free reindeer cork ornament with any three-bottle purchase. At Wrights Station, enjoy holiday jazz by Bob Burnett, along with food and vendors, including Wine Charms Designs by Steff. The festive event is from noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 10.