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2021 Potter Valley Riesling

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This vintage was the perfect opportunity to explore not just the nuances of Riesling but the manifold dimensions of this expressive variety. In general, the climate in Potter Valley imparts a consistency and stability of flavor to fruit in the vineyard, with significant variation emanating from early autumn rain or in the case of 2021, prolonged drought. It’s in these vintages that the basic character of the fruit is substantively changed; not detrimentally, but fundamentally different.

The 2021 Montelena Riesling stands on its own. In a warm, dry year, when “conventional” wisdom would predict excessive ripeness, plentiful residual sugar, and shallow acidity, instead there is balance, finesse, and freshness. It’s both amazing and humbling that after fifty years of producing this wine, we can still be surprised and awestruck.

The nose is floral and spicy, the intensity here is quite impressive. The ripeness of the vintage is immediately apparent as star jasmine, honeysuckle and fresh apricot are bolstered by cinnamon and clove. The fresh flowers eventually yield to dried peach and mango as the aromas turn tropical with a subtle hint of beeswax. On the palate, the spice is more subdued, uncovering a latent suppleness and viscosity, further enhanced by stonefruit as well as ripe, Honeycrisp apple. It’s a beautiful balance that is polished and punctuated by a firm band of acidity transitioning to juicy pear.


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