John and Ksenia House have been making this wine since 2011 from Cedar Ranch, an older parcel of riesling in the Illinois Valley near Cave Junction, in southern Oregon, set on soils laced with devigorating serpentine. In 2021 they picked the fruit about 5 days ahead of their historical average, goosing the acidity and avoiding too much botrytis. They’ve made modest changes in their elevage as well, working with Austrian casks and concrete eggs, employing a modicum of skin contact and a bit of ‘brown out:’ exposing the must to oxygen prior to fermentation.
Like a night-blooming flower, this starts off quiet and furled, showing admirable structure but just hints of flavor and amplitude, a lemon blossom intimation of citrus, leanly expressed. A day passes, and it’s opened with spectacular completeness, warming to yellow peach, apricot and brown sugar, all of it expressing sweetness even if the wine is not remotely sweet. It’s rare to find any domestic white wine with this level of textural complexity and layering; finding one for $25 is practically a gift.
Ovum 2021 Rogue Valley Off the Grid Cedar Ranch Vineyard Riesling
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
Patrick J. Comiskey covers US wines for Wine & Spirits magazine, focusing on the Pacific Northwest, California’s Central Coast and New York’s Finger Lakes.
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