Feedback to Pacific Rim
1. The tech specs on your website for your wines are confusing. Sometimes they do not appear to match the styling (dry, medium dry, etc.) in the text when either German or IRF rules are applied. For example, on one web page for the Solstice Riesling, there are two different sets of specs without clear reference to the vintage. This makes it very confusing for the buyer and leads a savvy buyer to doubt the rest of the Pacific Rim operation.
2. There is a lot of great information about Rieslings on your site - thank you. But the number of empty pages one runs into also leads one to doubt the quality of your operation and question whether you are really Riesling lovers or Riesling posers. I think you are the former, but I really wonder half the time whether you're doing it for the marketing hype.
Long story short - I am trying to like you since I truly love riesling, but it's hard.
Comments on this Wine
I have not tried this wine.
I am going to use the specs on the Woot offer (in the table, not the text) which are supported by the voicemail from Nicholas. I will ignore the specs on the website which I will assume apply to other vintages.
I do not know what the sugar at harvest was, so I do not know where to place it in the German scale: kabinett, spätlese, auslese, etc. My guess is that is was probably harvested at the spätlese (18-22 Brix) or auslese level (up to 24 Brix), fermented to the almost dryness to yield the alcohol and sugar levels.
The residual sugar and acid levels place this as a medium dry wine on the IRF scale and on the German scale (>9.0 g/L sugar), though it is right on the edge of the boundary between dry and medium-dry (half-dry or halbtrocken in German) at 9.3 g/L sugar and 9.3 g/L acid. The apparent low yield levels are similar to those found in German and Alsatian appellations and should result in concentrated flavors and allow the terroir show through. The high acid content and mineral content from the vineyard should allow this to age well over 10 or more years, I think. Fifteen years might be an experiment
Since I have not tasted the Solstice, I want to reference a Pac Rim wine I did try. The Pac Rim Dry Riesling was offered here not too long ago – at the same price as I could get it at my local liquor store. The marketing hype and poor handling of specs on the Pac Rim website completely turned me off. However, I wanted to see what the wine really tasted like. I forced myself to set aside the impression I had of the winery as a company. I got a bottle at my local store instead of buying six or whatever the offer was here at woot. I was quite surprised at the quality of the wine – I expected junk. That wine was definitely a medium dry wine, not truly “dry” in the Alsatian or German sense (or even the IRF scale, if I recall correctly, but again, the numbers were very confusing). At the $10/btl price point from my local store and decent balance between acid and sugar, I now keep a bottle or two on hand in the cellar. It is a well made wine with good balance, though a slightly sweeter style than I prefer. The Pac Rim Dry Riesling is sealed with a screw cap – a sign of progressive attention to ways to avoid cork taint and the extraction of flavors by the cork. I am very interested in how the science evolves here and how the screw-cap sealed wines really age in the real world. I would not have a problem with this resting in my cellar for five or more years.
So given the quality of the Pac Rim Dry Riesling, I expect this to be a very nice wine and align with the comments regarding acid/sugar balance that have been posted by the Nicholas and others.
Regarding the price – The Pac Rim Dry Riesling at $10/btl is a fair price. The Solstice is priced at $32 on the Pac Rim site (free shipping with six bottles). I have paid over $30 for quality German and Alsatian single vineyard gewürztraminers and Rieslings, but not often. This offer is $23.67 to my door. That is a 26% discount – not the best discount I have ever seen on woot, but brings it down to a point where I might consider it on the strength of the Pac Rim Dry experience.
Personally, I have a cellar that is pretty full right now with great representation from Rieslings, both old and new world. So I am on the fence unless I can get some reliable tasting notes comparing this to known German or Alsatian wines.