Behold the versatile Riesling grape. It's responsible for some of world's greatest dessert wines as well as lightly sweet charmers that go great with spicy cuisines. Grown in the right environment, it balances that sweetness with crisp acidity and, when made dry, it is a refreshing choice to beat the heat. Riesling originated in Germany but, as this tasting proved, it thrives in the Northwest as well—two from Idaho made the top three.
2015 Coiled Dry Riesling, $17
Opens with beautifully floral aromas of rich peach and tangerine along with just a touch of that petrol so typical of the variety. It's just as rich on the palate where ripe stone fruit flavors are balanced by crisp citrus. Lovely kaffir lime and lemon zest come through on the racy finish. You can visit Coiled at their new tasting room on the river in Garden City.
2014 Colter's Creek Riesling, $12
You get dusty lime and orange zest on the nose with just a hint of Anaheim pepper. The very crisp and tart green apple is nicely balanced by sweet, ripe citrus on the palate. A bit of spice comes through on the silky finish that's long and refreshing. The Colter's Creek vineyards are in the newly designated Lewis-Clark Valley AVA.
2014 Selbach Salmo Salar Dry Riesling, $14
Selbach has been producing wine from their vineyards on the steep slopes that rise above Germany's Mosel River for some 400 years. This intro level wine reflects that pedigree with notes of wet stone and floral orange blossom on the nose. Apple, white peach, soft lemon and nuanced grapefruit flavors are backed by light mineral on the finish.