Leeuwin Estate Art Series Riesling

There is a reason why Riesling is cultishly discussed amongst sommeliers and wine enthusiasts. Tremendous structure and complexity, wonderful expressions of fruit, and flexibility in pairing. This wine has it all.

An Art Series wine deserves an artsy background…

Producer: Leeuwin Estate

Region: Margaret River, Australia

Grape(s): Riesling

Tasting Notes: Granny Smith Apple, Kaffir Lime, Minerals, Lemon Citrus Zest, Floral

Pairings: Soft cows cheese, sushi/sashimi/nigiri, babaganoush, seared scallops, Vietnamese cuisine

Price (approximately): $16

Buy: Fujioka’s Wine Times


My Musings:

While most may characterize Riesling as a sweet wine, there are plenty of specimens on the dry side of the spectrum that are crisp, mineral- and citrus-driven delights. This wine is a perfect example at a bargain price. 

Margaret River, a coastal region located south of Perth in western Australia, is unequivocally one of my favorite wine regions of Australia. Comprised primarily of small botique wineries and breweries, it can be difficult to procure wines from this appellation outside of Australia, but a diligent search is well-rewarded with tremendous, intensely-flavored wines. Margaret River enjoys extraordinary growing conditions, with a maritime climate providing consistent temperatures throughout the ripening season and a dry growing season. Known for Cabernet Sauvignon, it also produces Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. It is hard to find a more enjoyable region to drink and to visit than Margaret River.  A perfect place for wine and surfing — is there a better combination?! I feel a vacation coming on ...

This wine was dry with floral notes, kaffir lime, and lemon zest bursting from the glass. On the palate, the lemon-lime parade continues and is accompanied by fruit (Granny Smith apple, melon) and a heavy dose of minerality. Strikingly balanced with tremendous focus and clarity. Very expressive wine from its alluring bouquet to the bright acidity and long, dry finish. This is definitely one of my favorite Rieslings in this price range. Truly enjoyable.

As if there isn’t sufficient reason already, this wine comes ready for any environment with a screw cap that won’t have you searching for a bottle opener. As stated in my previous bottle-closure musings, screw caps can deliver the same great tasting wine in many cases while keeping a few extra bucks in your pocket. I’ll take that deal anytime.

In Honolulu, pick up a bottle at Fujioka's Wine Times. Be sure to purchase more than one bottle; you will definitely need it! 


2015 Yalumba Organic Viognier

Year: 2015

Producer: Yalumba Winery

Region: South Australia, Australia

Grape(s): Viognier

Alcohol: 14.1%

Price (approximately): $16

My Musings:

One word: apricot.

The wine is pale straw with green hues. The aromas are strong with ripe stone fruit (apricot and peach), with floral accents of jasmine and honeysuckle. Creamy, rich flavors of (you guessed it) apricot nectar coat the palate, accented by bright citrus flavors and subtle spice on the finish. Tremendously well-balanced with terrific acidity.

Simply a fabulous wine. One of my favorite weekday white wines, and the organic harvesting helps those who suffer easily from headaches. This wine is perfect for summer sipping or taking to the BYOB restaurant.

Speaking of BYOB ... try this wine with shrimp Pad Thai (Thai Issan in Honolulu has great Pad Thai, but be sure to stay within a reasonable spice range to avoid overpowering the wine), fried rice (build your own fried rice at The Rice Place!), or Moroccan vegetarian couscous (Kan Zaman if you are dining in Honolulu). Of course, with such great ripe stone fruit and balanced citrus, you can simply sit back and enjoy on its own.


2013 d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz

Year: 2013

Producer: d'Arenberg

Region: McLaren Vale, Australia

Grape(s): Shiraz

Alcohol: 14.4%

Price (approximately): $18

Winemaker's Notes:

Classic McLaren Vale Shiraz in every sense. Laden with dark fruits, old spices and woody notes on the nose and backed up with thick licorice, blackberry, plum and graphite-like characters on the palate. Striking fruit concentration paired with a bold and chewy, yet integrated tannin structure. Brutish in many respects but somehow manages to remain incredibly balanced. A wine to please even the most cantankerous wine aficionado.

2016 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir

Year: 2016

Producer: Innocent Bystander

Region: Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia

Grape(s): Pinot Noir

Alcohol: 13.5%

Price (approximately): $15

Winemaker's Notes:

Aromas of baked earth, Campari, earl grey tea with dried spice, juniper and fresh bay leaves. The palate shows juicy and brooding dark fruits, a velvety mouthfeel and finishes with soft savory tannins.