Lengthening days, ever-so-slightly warmer temperatures, and a gradual shift toward drinking more white wine—they’re all signs that spring is just around the corner. But at Pacific Rim Winery, located in West Richland near the Tri-Cities, the focus on white wines isn’t constricted to a particular season. Since its inception, the winery has been on a mission to unabashedly promote these wines year-round, with Washington Riesling leading the way.
Production began in 2006, and Pacific Rim company winery manager and winemaker Tim Henley estimates that the winery now produces a staggering 150,000 cases of wine annually, with Riesling accounting for about 90 percent of that total.
Pacific Rim’s Sweet Riesling label alone tops out at about 70,000 cases each year, and the crowd-pleasing 2018 vintage recently earned a gold medal and Best of Class honors at the 2019 Tri-Cities Wine Festival. Priced at about $10 a bottle, it’s no wonder it continues to be one of the hottest-selling wines in the Pacific Rim portfolio.
Despite the sweeter Riesling’s popularity, Henley is quick to note that the winery also produces the varietal in a number of other styles and sweetness levels. The 2018 Dry Riesling carries a .8 percent residual sugar content while displaying gentle citrus and stone fruit flavors with a slightly round character; the 2018 J Riesling (the J stands for “just right”) falls in the middle between sweet and dry; and the 2016 Solstice Vineyard Riesling resembles a fine European-style Riesling with petrol and brioche aromatics, understated ruby red grapefruit flavors, and a slightly spicy yet dry finish.
Beyond Riesling, white wine lovers will enjoy Pacific Rim’s single vineyard series of white varietals that include Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Grüner Veltliner. They’re all delicious, food-friendly choices for seafood and poultry dishes. Another bonus: they’re nicely priced at about $15 each.
Red wine drinkers shouldn’t feel slighted, as the winery has also branched off into several other smaller-scale production labels that include some full-bodied red choices.
“Our red wine program was launched about 10 years ago,” notes Henley, “and the bright, berry characteristics of the 2019 vintage will be a fantastic component to blend into our [future] wines.”
Current releases include the 2017 Red Blend and 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon under the winery’s Silver Totem label, and the RM Cellars 2015 Thick Skinned Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Verdot sourced from the prestigious Heart of the Hill Vineyard on Washington’s Red Mountain.
No matter the wine or the season, Pacific Rim offers a variety of choices to meet every taste preference and budget. They’re readily available in the greater Bellingham area and throughout Northwest Washington. You can also order bottles online at pacificrimwine.com
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