2018 Trefethen "Estate" Napa Valley Dry Riesling

SKU #1420353 Connoisseurs Guide

 One of the early proponents of dry Riesling in California, Trefethen has come up again with a wonderfully fresh and well-focused rendition that, while absent evident sweetness, lacks for nothing in the way of convincing Riesling fruit. Redolent of green apples and juicy limes and showing a lightly minerally note or two, it avoids in entirety the compromising bitterness that often appears in drier versions. It will prove a most versatile partner to savory seafood preparations as well as milder chicken recipes, and it is certain to age nicely for several years on the basis of its careful balance and composition.  (9/2019)

K&L Notes

The Trefethen Riesling is a favorite among Riesling fans who know where to find the best California-grown versions of this noble varietal, but that's not the only reason that this family-run winery continues to grow and re-plant Riesling--they also love it themselves. And they've done the extra work it takes to make sure that vintage after vintage, this is no ho-hum California Riesling. The Trefethen family's Riesling is picked in several stages, to preserve both the crisp, citrusy acidity and the rich, tropical fruit flavors that it's capable of producing. Then, they ferment the wine with several different yeast strains that have been specifically chosen for the varietal. They bottle it early, preserving the fresh flavors. While in the bottle, it develops characteristic notes of mineral oil along with golden pear and lemon. The California Riesling fan club is small, but so is the price of admission; this bottle will make you glad you joined.

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Price: $19.95

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By: James Knight | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/4/2020 | Send Email
This is a floral, herbal Riesling with flavors of kiwi and melon. Very typical of the Trefethen Rieslings, if a little leaner this year, and no "petrol" not thus far. Get the Smith-Madrone Riesling from Napa Valley, too, and compare! Pick up a Wittmann from Rheinhessen and have even more fun! I love Riesling Night. It's my favorite night of the week.

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 Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, 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.


- 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.
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