Kung Fu Girl + Riesling – rarely such unrelated words come together so well, at least in my mind. Oh, and Charles Smith’s evidently. Let’s talk about him first.
Charles Smith, the father of several wine brands including Charles Smith Wines that features Kung Fu Girl Riesling, became a star winemaker after he proved himself to be a star rocker. The Charles Smith Wines brand, dubbed “The Modernist Project”, delivers on the philosophy of making wines for today – to be consumed right away, while truly expressing the characteristics of both the varietal and the vineyard. Recently, I wrote about another of his wines, The Velvet Devil Merlot.
Maybe he named this wine to give us a hint that it may pair well, as Rieslings do, with Asian cuisine? Maybe not. Still …
Riesling comes in a range of styles from dry to off-dry to very sweet (think icewine), and anywhere in between. Its crisp acidity can support varying levels of residual sugar in the wine, without the wine starting to appear cloying. A little sweetness works well with the spiciness of Asian dishes. And good acidity makes this varietal a very food friendly wine.
As versatile with food as it is, Riesling may be an acquired taste. Case in point — its aroma profile includes petrol (!) which I love but, you guessed it, not everybody else does. Sweetness is another such controversial element. To be perfectly honest, my love for off-dry Riesling developed because my friend Maria liked it, and because of Maria’s divine cooking and fine sense of wine pairing, I gave it another try, and became a fan.
Looping back to the top of the post, Kung Fu Girl and Riesling go well together in my mind, because of Maria. Maria who would entice one of her daughters to hop on a bike and ride more than 100 km (!) in a morning, to come and visit me at the cottage (you know, the one Zinfandel is responsible for). That Maria. A Kung Fu Girl. 🙂
There is much more to be said about Riesling, starting from its origins in the Rhine region of Germany. About its double old-world taste profile – the ‘flowery’ Germanic one contrasted to the weightier style from Riesling’s second ancient home in Alsace, France. About its world travels, and how it took roots and developed a new-world expression in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US, leading us to Washington State, and the Walla Walla Valley, the home of Charles Smith’s wines. But, we will leave it for another time, and jump to the review of today’s bottle.
The Kung Fu Girl Riesling looks bright medium yellow. Lovely mineral, petrol and citrus aromas waft from the glass. Tastes include white peach and a high kick of mouthwatering acidity that, tempered by a little sweetness, carries citrus aromas to a long finish. The wine paired very well with a spicy kabocha squash, corn, and lemongrass soup, and would support even more heat of fiery Thai dishes.