The 2012 Blue Fin Riesling is a Trader Joe’s ($4.49) exclusive sourced from grapes grown in more than one California grape growing AVA. Blu Fin is one of Bronco Wine Company’s (maker’s of Two Buck Chuck) 100+ wine brands worldwide. The 2011 Blue Fin Pinot Noir was $3.99, so the Blue Fin Riesling is 50 cents more expensive than the Pinot Noir. The wine grape vintages in California have been pretty stable, one year was about as good as the next. One region might have had difficulties or another had ideal conditions, but overall, the vintages were steady. That has changed in the last few years (2010 & 2011), California has had 2 off vintages in a row, the grapes that made it too harvest were ok, but yields were off. But, 2012 was an outstanding vintage with excellent yields. There is a trickle down effect in an outstanding vintage, there is a surplus of top quality grapes, so more of the top grapes find there way into middle tier wines, which in turn means more of the middle tier grapes end up in the value wines, plus the value grapes are as good as they are going to get. If you are ever going to find a 5 buck wine that really does it for you, 2012 is the vintage. The alcohol content is a mild 11%.
The color is a very pale, lite beer yellow, it isn’t too made shades above clear. The nose is pineapple and apricots, citrus hard candy and peach. I don’t know what the residual sugar level is, but from the nose and the fact that this is a $4.49 Riesling, I was expecting a very sweet wine, and it’s not. The flavors are subdued, it tastes of lemon/lime, grapefruit and orange. There is a light brush of minerality which is a nice contrast to the tart/sweet body of the wine. The finish is soft, but manages to stick around for a while.
The Blue Fin Riesling has me conflicted, I prefer some of the Washington State Rieslings in the 10 dollar range, they re bolder with balanced, rounded fruit flavors. But the Blue Fin is less than half their price and while not a great Riesling does have some endearing qualities. The more I sip it, the more I like it, it is a little too light bodied and kind of hollow on the mid palate, but I like it anyway. The Blue Fin is a little too light to be a versatile food wine, pair it with oysters or cold shrimp. At $4.49, it is really a monday night sitting out on the deck wine.