You’re our only hope

I was quite pleased–and surprised–to see a Riesling in this winemaker’s new line-up. Typically, he produces forgotten or heritage varieties from out-of-the way vineyards, and this is a nice addition. Fairly dark golden and smelling thick and briary. Is there a bit of skin-contact going on here? A little reduction and thick tropical and caramel on the nose, balanced nicely with stemmy citrus minerality and acid. Light apricot and almond combine with kiwi and guava in a rather rich bouquet border-lining on chubby–definitely round–with dense concentration lurking.

In the mouth, more robust intensity waits. Thick and mouth-filling, rich to almost-Chablis levels, it is a giant beast, ridiculously full-bodied and chewy, but the fruit in the nose takes a backseat to watery acidity and massive austerity. Does that make sense? “Massive austerity”? It is huge and intense and concentrated, but in a tannic, acidic sort of way: a sheer wall of structure with shy strawberry fruit in the background. Thin peach and grassy briar usher the middle into sharp tannin. It’s a huge wine, dry with proportionate alcohol. And if you consider it balanced, it could possibly be the longest-living Riesling made in California. I’m hoping someone keeps one of these around for 20 or 30 years.

2019 SABELLI-FRISCH ‘Obie’ Riesling Curtis Vyd Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara California 13.1

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