2012 Trefethen Estate Napa Valley Dry Riesling

SKU #1125063 Connoisseurs Guide

 Trefethen has been making dry Napa Valley Riesling as long as most anyone, and, from the beginning, its wines have favored delicacy over richness and aggressive fruit. This latest very much fits the family mold and is a clean, fairly crisp, if somewhat too mild wine, and, truth be told, it could do with a boost in fruity depth with which to buffer the slight, latter-palate bitterness that holds it back from higher marks.  (9/2013)

Wine Enthusiast

 This Riesling actually tastes off-dry, to judge by the honey and vanilla bean sweetness that accompanies the citrus fruits. It's brisk in acidity and refreshingly low in alcohol. Continues a string of successful, restaurant-fancy Rieslings from Trefethen.  (9/2013)

Wine Spectator

 A vibrant, fresh take on honeydew melon, lime zest, kiwifruit and apple flavors, with a racy finish. Drink now. (Web-2013)

K&L Notes

Do you love Riesling? Are you ready to give California Riesling a second chance? Start here. The Trefethen family planted Riesling decades ago on their Oak Knoll District property, likely because it was one of the Valley's popular varietals at the time. Tastes have changed, but they're still replanting new blocks of Riesling now, in the age of almighty Cab, because it's remained one of their most popular varietals. It's a lovely, dry wine year on year, partly thanks to the vineyard's location on the foggier, southern edge of the valley, and partly thanks to the conscientious approach that Trefethen takes with their Riesling--including multiple picks and specially selected yeasts. The 2012 was the first Riesling to be named a winner at the 2013 Pacific Coast Oyster Wine Competition, and has won the praise of wine critic Dan Berger: "Classic Riesling aroma with a trace of jasmine spice, bright and lilting. Always a phenomenal wine...." (February 2013)

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Price: $17.99
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Staff Image By: James Knight | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 8/18/2014 | Send Email
Is it getting toasty in here, or is it the Trefethen Dry Riesling? This Riesling is just beginning to show its more intriguing side; the 2013 is already coming out, so snap up the 2012 while you can if you want to see what this south Napa Valley Riesling can do with just a little bit of age on it--ideally, you'd want to follow this over a few more years. To read the critics' comments from 2013, above, you'd think this was just another, albeit nicely done, fresh and fruity California Riesling. Well, in a way, but at this point the aromas are of toasty, Meyer lemon marmalade and fresh pear...cast in bronze, with Buddha's Hand citrus infused in honeycomb; off in the distance, the petrol is approaching. Dry-ish but gaining weight. For me, this is respectable Riesling because it's not tutti-fruitti, nor is it an overly restrained, simply crisp and floral/pastry-floury version (although, curiously a second bottle of the 2012 showed less of the marmalade and mineral oil notes and seemed restrained than I note above).

Additional Information:



- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Pr├Ądikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Sp├Ątlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 12.5