The weather is stunning, the days are long, and most people want to do nothing more than get outside and begin to explore. Summer is the perfect time to do so many things, including visiting the various Washington wine regions. Washington is nothing short of picturesque. With beautiful vineyards that seem to roll into each other, scenic landscapes all around you, and charming wineries dotting the countryside, you’ll find lots of opportunities to take in the view and create memories in this space that are tough to build anywhere else.
More than that, though, Washington wine country means a deeper insight into the process of how the wines you love are created and lots of opportunities to taste the wines themselves and the dishes so many of them have inspired. If you’re ready to experience summer wine tasting in Washington, though, what regions should you put on your itinerary? Here are the five you simply cannot afford to miss.
#1 - Columbia Valley
If you know anything about Washington’s wine region, you know that this is where 99% of the action happens. Located just east of the Cascades, the hot dry summers are perfect for grape growth. Nearly 80 different wine grape varieties are grown in the region, but the most commonly grown varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, and Syrah. Wines from this region tend to offer pure flavors that are hard to get anywhere else.
That could be due to the weather patterns you’ll find here. The daytime high can be quite hot, but overnight, it gets far cooler, so the acidic base of the wines can further develop. The dry climate helps too. Storms coming from the Pacific hit Seattle, dropping almost 40 inches of rain on the city each year. When the storms hit the Cascades, the rain or snow continues to fall, but that creates a bit of a shadow on the Columbia Valley, so the area gets just eight inches of rain each year.
#2 - Yakima Valley
Established shortly after Napa Valley was named a federally approved winegrowing region, nearly 25% of the grapes grown in Washington come from here. Technically a sub appellation of the much larger Columbia Valley, this is worth the visit because you’ll find Chardonnay, Rieslings, and Merlots being created in this space. In some wineries, you’ll also find Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah being created in this valley.
The Syrah wines created here offer a diversity that isn’t available in other regions, incorporating both aromas and flavors of blueberry and raspberry as well as savory herbs, smoked meat aromas, and olive hints.
Other red wines created in this region mean a softer tannin profile that you won’t find outside of Yakima Valley. Often you’ll find orange rind accents in these varieties and a number of other unique flavors.
#3 - Red Mountain
The smallest appellation in Washington, there are just 4,040 acres of land here. It is a sub appellation of Yakima Valley. The temperatures are quite warm here, so you’ll find mostly red wines being grown in the area. Cabernet Sauvignon is the primary type of wine you’ll see in Red Mountain, as nearly 60% of the planted acreage is devoted to that wine. Merlot and Syrah are also planted extensively here.
From bottom to top, the elevation of this area varies by 1,000 feet, and the heat of the summer and constantly blowing winds mean the grapes are small and have thick skins. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blend that result from those grapes ages well, and that means one bottle you buy from this region could be the perfect choice a few years from now.
#4 - Walla Walla Valley
If you’re looking for true natural beauty, Walla Walla Valley is the single best place to visit. Here you’ll find rolling wheat fields next to the beauty of the Blue Mountains. You’ll also find more than 120 wineries and tasting rooms, making it the perfect place for summer wine tasting in Washington.
This area is primarily known for Syrah, but you’ll also find Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot created here as well. The Syrahs you find here offer an earthy flavor that is both strong and savory. The mouthfeel with these is soft and gentle. The flavor profiles with these wines often include black olive and smoked meat, as well as a fire pit.
#5 - Woodwinville Wine Country
This may not make most lists because it’s not a designated AVA, but it’s absolutely one of the Washington wine regions you should see. Just a half hour from Seattle, there are many wineries in this agrarian center, and it's easy to access from other parts of the state.
You’ll find great blends and lots of different events here, so if you’re planning a trip, this should be a stop that’s high on your list. Numerous wineries in this space import grape grown east of the mountains, and the beauty of the area is unparalleled. Feel free to stroll the streets and enjoy live music and the various tasting rooms.
Stop By and Visit Us!
No matter where you plan to be this summer in Washington, be sure to make a stop at Pacific Rim. It’s the perfect way to taste everything we have to offer.
Two of the most popular white wines in the world today are Moscato and Rieslings. Both offer the perfect level of sweetness, a quality many of those who haven’t previously been fans of wine look for. They’re smooth, easy to drink choices that pair well with many different dishes. Crisp and refreshing, they’re often considered the ideal choice.
Trying to find the next bottle to add to your wine rack, though, can be a little confusing, especially if you love sweet wines. Given that both are so popular, knowing the answer to the question “Which is sweeter: Moscato or Riesling?” can help significantly. It may also help to know a bit about the differences between these two varieties.
First Things First: What is Sweeter - Moscato or Riesling?
In most cases, you’re going to find that Moscato is sweeter than a Riesling. The reality, though, is that it’s difficult to tell you that every Moscato or Riesling you pick up is going to be sweet, which makes it a little hard for these wines to go head to head in terms of sweetness. On the whole, though, if you’re looking for the sweetest option between those two choices, you should get a bottle of Moscato.
Understanding Both Wines
As you consider which wine is sweeter, it may help to better understand both the aromas and flavors behind Rieslings and Moscatos. Both have fairly similar profiles. Citrus fruits like lemons and limes as well as stone fruits like peaches and nectarines tend to be something you’ll notice with both Rieslings and Moscatos. In most cases, you’ll be able to describe either one as floral, as you may smell rose, white flowers, and many other blossoms when you open the bottle. You’ll also find a crisp, refreshing taste with each glass of Riesling or Moscato.
The similarities between these two wines, though, tend to end there. Moscato is made from the Muscat grape. It’s in the same family as a Muscat wine, but the Moscato is much sweeter. A Muscat wine tends to be quite dry and has a fairly high alcohol level. The grape itself was initially grown in the Mediterranean region. Muscat grapes date back to the Ancient Greeks, but they could be far older. Today, they’re grown across the world.
Riesling grapes are from Germany. They date back to the 15th century for certain, but they probably date back a bit further than that. Every year, March 13th is celebrated as Riesling’s birthday because March 13, 1435, is the first documented date that a Riesling wine was sold. As with Moscatos, today, Rieslings are grown across the world.
Rieslings offer far more variety than Moscatos do, though. You’ll find that Rieslings range from quite dry like our 2021 Dry Riesling to intense sweetness like the 2021 Sweet Riesling. The level of residual sugar in them
depends entirely on the winemaker. Crisp and refreshing, though, they maintain a perfect balance between sweetness and acidity levels. As a result, even when these two wines have exactly the same levels of residual sugars, a Riesling may seem slightly less sweet thanks to the acidity that is involved with this wine.
It may feel a bit heavier on your palate as well. Think of the difference between a peach just off the vine and a glass of cool lemonade in the summer. The difference between these two wines is quite similar. The Moscato is more likely to be that peach right off the vine. The Riesling, though, balances the sweetness with the acidity creating a refreshing feel just as lemonade might.
How are Sweet Wines Made?
Wines get the level of sweetness inside them from the grapes themselves. When grapes are ripe, there’s quite a bit of sugar in them, which is essential to the process of fermentation. The yeast eats the sugar, and that makes alcohol. In some cases, though, sugar is left after that process, and the more residual sugar that is left, the sweeter the wine will be. As a result, with sweet wines, the sugar level in the grapes needs to be quite high the moment the fermentation process begins.
There are many different ways that winemakers create that sweet wine you eventually purchase. They can harvest the grapes later in the season. The reason behind that is that the longer a grape stays on the vine, the sweeter it may be. Winemakers have other options, too. By drying the grapes in the sun, they have the ability to concentrate the sugars inside them. You can learn more about this process in our blog post on the Riesling growing cycle.
Conversely, they can freeze them to create a higher concentration of sugar, as in the case of our 2016 Pacific Rim Ice Wine Riesling. By far, however, the most common way to create the sweetness you might find in a Riesling or a Moscato is by stopping the fermentation process early at between six and eight percent alcohol so there is plenty of remaining sugar to create a sweeter wine.
Finding the Right Sweet Wine to Meet Your Needs
Whether you go with a Moscato or a Riesling, there are a few different ways you can simply look at a wine label and decide just how sweet it might be. The first is by looking at the ABV, or alcohol by volume level. If the alcohol level is fairly low, the wine will be fairly sweet. A sweet Riesling tends to have between seven and nine percent ABV, while a Moscato usually has between five and eight percent ABV.
Remember that you don’t just want to factor in how sweet a wine is as you select the right one. You may also want to think about how you’re serving it. If you’re serving wine with a meal, both Riesling and Moscato go well with fruit, honey glazed meats, and anything that incorporates a balance of sweet and sour flavors. They also both work well with spicier foods. Rieslings tend to taste fantastic with richer foods like pork dishes, too. Find out more about the Best Riesling Pairings on our blog.
No matter what flavor you’re looking for, at Pacific Rim, we have the variety you want most. Let us help you find your next perfect bottle. Take a look at the sweet wines and Rieslings we have to offer to help complement whatever comes next for you.
Nearly 65% of Americans say they enjoy white wines, and with one sip of the perfect white, it’s not hard to see why. In most cases, they’re refreshing and crisp. These light-bodied beauties always make for an enjoyable glass, particularly in the warmer months of the year. They also tend to be a bit more versatile if you’re pairing them with food, which helps contribute to their popularity. Have you ever wondered, though, how white wine is made? The process might surprise you.
How Is White Wine Made?
The process of creating the perfect glass of wine starts with the step you might expect - harvesting the grapes. You can use both red and white wine grapes to make a white wine, though. It’s possible to use a combination of the two because the skins aren’t used in the fermentation process of white wine. Despite that fact, though, white wines tend to use either green or yellow grapes in the process.
With white wines, the grapes tend to get picked fairly early in the harvest season. Most winemakers harvest their white wine grapes very early in the morning. At that point, the grapes are quite cool from the night air. Once they are picked, they’re immediately sent to the winery, then placed in a wine press. That press squeezes the juice from the grapes, and all of the juice is placed in a tank. Sulfur dioxide is usually added to help prevent bacteria from spoiling the grapes before the fermentation process begins.
Were you to grab a glass of juice at this point, you would find a cloudy, sweet liquid. Winemakers let it rest in the tank for some time to settle a bit and get cold. That settling process helps to remove any suspended solids in the juice, as they could create a level of bitterness in the final product.
The next step is to add small sugar-eating yeasts to help eliminate the natural sugars in the juice and turn them into alcohol. In some cases, the yeast is added to the juice. In other situations, though, it occurs spontaneously. Those naturally occurring yeasts are a bit more challenging to work with, but they sometimes create an interesting flavor that cannot be replicated with commercial yeasts.
Most wines will handle the fermentation process in a stainless steel tank. There are, however, some Chardonnay varieties that ferment in oak barrels, as that can help contribute to a smoother texture.
Fermentation is the next step in the process, and it takes about 14 days to finish. White wines have to ferment at cooler temperatures than red ones do, and they’re usually placed in closed tanks to ferment to help ensure oxygen exposure is kept to a minimum. Oxygen exposure can kill the delicate aromas in white wine.
It’s at this point that the winemaker decides just how sweet to make a white wine. If the company wants a sweet wine, they stop the yeast from eating the sugars much sooner, creating a higher residual sugar level. If they want a fairly dry white wine, they let the process go longer.
A second fermentation process takes place during the next step, but it doesn’t happen with all white wines. This one doesn’t involve the fermentation of alcohol. Instead, it’s an acidic conversion that happens with bacteria. Bacteria eat malic acid, then turns that into lactic acid. The result is the smooth, creamy feel you get with something like a Chardonnay.
At that point, the wine is left in the tank or barrels for some time. Often stirring occurs to help the lees (or dead yeast particles) float up in the wine. That adds some flavor and helps create a creamy texture. The wine is then aged to the perfect point to suit the winemaker’s preference. Once that’s done, the blend is created. Soften single varietal white wines are made, but a blend of the varieties can be added too.
At this point in the process, however, the wine is still fairly cloudy, so most winemakers will work to change that with clarifying agents. They help to eliminate the suspended proteins in the wine that are causing that cloudy look. Typically those going for a vegan wine will use bentonite clay to remove the proteins. Others, though, use casein, which is derived from milk, or egg whites.
The wine is then passed through a filter to help reduce the likelihood that bacteria will spoil it.
The final step in the process is to bottle the wine. Winemakers have to be very careful at this point, though, and ensure it is exposed to very little oxygen so as not to affect the color or the clarity.
Taste the Results
Now that you know a bit about how white wine is made, it’s time to taste the results. Take a look at our white wine varieties, then order a few bottles so you can taste all of the work we put into delivering you a perfect glass.
The golden yellow wine fills your glass. As you take a sip, the sharp acidity and intense sweetness hit your tongue, making for the perfect, refreshing treat. These are some of the best characteristics of Pacific Rim’s Sweet Riesling, and they’re exactly what makes people look forward to every single bottle. The pineapple and peach notes will linger on your tongue, leaving you looking forward to the next sip. Wondering where to buy Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling so you can have the same experience? This quick guide can help you find the perfect bottle.
A Sweet Riesling Is Always The Right Choice
If you’re unfamiliar with a sweet Riesling, you may wonder why this is such a popular choice for so many people. Riesling is a white grape variety that is well known for producing some of the most aromatic wines in the world. They’re incredibly versatile, too, a trait we have extensively discussed in our Riesling versatility blog.
Widely grown around the world and throughout the United States, you’ll find them with a fairly wide range of flavors and aromas. You might find floral notes in one variety like jasmine or elderflower, citrus notes like grapefruit in another bottle, and stone fruit notes like peach in yet another variety. Sometimes, you’ll even find them with a tropical note like pineapple.
No matter what the notes are, though, you’ll find a high level of acidity with each, which lends itself to the crisp flavor that so many people find refreshing.
Over time, a Riesling develops complex flavors, making it even more versatile. That attracts many people to purchase and store several varieties at a time to understand just how fascinating this type of wine can be as it ages, something we've described in our Riesling aging guide.
There are a number of reasons people turn to a sweet Riesling. One is the fact that they’re quite versatile when it comes to pairing them with a meal. That perfect combination of sweetness and acidity means they work well with spicy dishes, the heat of other meals, and rich flavors like those you might find in artisanal cheeses or a dessert course. Here are some Food pairing ideas for Sweet Riesling.
Add that advantage to the fact that you’ll never find them cloying or even overly sweet. The fact that the high acidity level and natural sweetness balance each other out makes it an attractive wine for any table.
Maybe one of the most important reasons these have become so popular, though, is that they tend to be more approachable for individuals who haven’t yet discovered the power of wine or those who just want a slightly sweeter flavor. They’re an appealing, never intimidating choice that are perfect for almost everyone at your table.
Where to Buy Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling
Convinced that this is the right choice for you? It’s not a hard leap to move to a Riesling, and Pacific Rim’s variety means you have lots of different options. Our story actually begins with Riesling.
First introduced in 1992, we quickly gained a following among those truly devoted to Rieslings, and given that ours offered a fresh, bright taste, the popularity of Pacific Rim’s grew fast. Our passion has pushed our winery to grow incredibly, and while we’ve branched out to offer many varieties, Riesling remains our passion.
The single best place to buy a bottle is directly through our website. Online you can learn more about our brand, take advantage of promotions you’ll enjoy again and again, and even join our wine club. With us, you’ll get 20% off of all of your orders, flat rate shipping, and exclusive access to a number of different offers throughout the year.
On site, you can shop our latest offerings, including the 2021 Sweet Riesling so many people are talking about. Because our process is different, you’ll find a refreshingly sweet choice that is low in alcohol and big on the taste you crave. It will pair perfectly with your next spicy meal of Carribean food, Szechuan fare, or even a nice spicy Mexican dinner.
You can also pick up a bottle through Total Wine & More. The biggest independent retailer of some of the best wines in the United States today, this phenomenal online marketplace started in the early ‘90s as a brick and mortar space in Delaware. Today, they not only offer a wide variety of Pacific Rim products online, but also in nearly 250 locations across the U.S. They’re committed to the best wines and great prices, and you can purchase our Sweet Riesling there and many other options.
In many areas, you’ll find it marketed in other locations today. ABC Fine Wine and Spirits are one option, but so is your local Target or Safeway. Just walking into your local wine and spirits store or larger retailer is likely to help you connect with a bottle of one of our best products for an upcoming evening with someone special or a dinner party where you’re looking for the perfect wine.
Order a Bottle Today
Pacific Rim Sweet Riesling - where to buy it shouldn’t be a problem. Many retailers recognize just how popular this wine has become, and you can pick it up easily before you’re ready to open another bottle. There are few wines like a Sweet Riesling, and you’ll realize the beauty of this choice the moment you open a bottle of Pacific Rim. Order yours now through this link.
Wine and Golf: An Unbeatable Combination
There was a time when golf was an isolated sport played with few social interactions or connections. Over the past two decades, however, golf has become a diverse sport where people not only enjoy hitting the fairways but have also started to combine it with eating and drinking after the game. One beverage that has become a favorite among golfers is wine. And what makes the experience even more pleasant is that the majority of golf courses in Washington and Oregon have some of the most beautiful scenery in the nation, as well as some of the best wineries.
Golf and Wine
There is no question that golfers and grapes tend to thrive in the same dry, warm weather. And to make it easy for golfers to enjoy the day at the golf course, golf course owners and nearby wineries have started to offer all types of facilities and amenities so that people can enjoy their dining experience in front of splendid views of the landscape.
While many people are aware that Washington has some great wine country, not many know that it has some of the best golf courses in the nation, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. What makes Washington a prized area for golf is the mild weather, especially during spring and fall. And when you combine this with wine, it makes for a perfect wine and golf weekend getaway.
Most golfers spend about four hours on the course, and since they have taken the day off, they have more hours to spare. Therefore, they are looking for a fine wine and dining experience after the golf game. And this combination is catching on all over the nation. Golfers want more than just a game of golf. Most of these individuals who play golf now want to enjoy the beautiful scenery in a relaxed atmosphere and, at the same time, enjoy fine dining and wines.
Where in Washington Can One Enjoy Wine and Golf?
There are golf courses almost everywhere in the state, but to enjoy golf and wine, the premier destination in Washington is the Southeastern corner, with its famed Columbia Valley and dozens of wineries, plus dozens of golf courses within the vicinity. Southeast Washington provides an easily accessible golf experience for everyone. It is also a magnet for wine lovers. After a morning round of golf, one has the entire afternoon to pick fruits, stroll the vineyards, enjoy a picnic, or have an evening meal at one of the many quality restaurants in the area.
As the wine industry flourishes in SE Washington, many wineries have started to offer wine-tasting tours, fine dining, and picnic facilities to both tourists and locals. The good thing is that enjoying wine and golf does not have to be an expensive affair. It all depends on your personal preferences. Yes, there are celebrity golf courses in Washington that cater to the rich, but there are also many casual spots that cater to the average American and even offer a picnic experience. Three of the top ten golf courses in Washington State include:
2) Chambers Bay
Today, many golf courses now partner with wineries so they can offer the best of both worlds: a private round of golf is paired with a tour of the vineyard, coupled with a private gourmet dinner paired with top-quality wines. Package deals that include accommodations, breakfast, transportation, golf, and wine tasting are available online.
For some of the best golf and wine experiences, check out the golf courses and vineyards in the State of Washington. They can rival the best!
Try out our fine wines today!