Charles Smith, Kung Fu Girl, Riesling
On one level this is a bit of a push - style over substance? But at another it is a celebration of an up-and-coming wine region and the talents of a super winemaking team, championing the cooler climate and suitability of this excellent grape variety. I was definitely in the first camp and then quickly moved to the second. Not only is this good value, it is really good wine.
Slightly broader and with more grape skin extracted into the wine, than, say many German Rieslings, it is nonetheless very typical Riesling. Full of apple, lime and greengauge flavours, it has a really engaging texture and a long and mouth-coating finish.
Made by the extraordinary Charles Smith in Washington State, this is one of many unconventional wine names (not to mention wine styles) that he produces; searching out terroir and the ability of his environs to produce wines that add to the panoply of the world of wines, rather than just emulating already existing regions. The Washington climate adds sunshine to cooler climes and comes out with a gorgeous fruit-forward balance but with real elegance and freshness.
Understandably, it is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that have come out top for many other producers; it's really exciting then to look at Smith, who is making wine from pretty much everything else!