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What: EFESTE Evergreen Riesling Ancient Lakes 2013 $20

Where: Ballard Market, Whole Foods, Fred Meyer (Ballard)

Why: It seems hard to imagine now–especially after a spate of 90-degree days here in Seattle–but Washington was once thought to be too cool to grow red wine grapes successfully. Instead, the state’s early viticultural pioneers focused on cool climate white grapes and, in particular, riesling.

While it’s clear now that red wine grapes grow exceptionally well in Washington, riesling remains one of the state’s most planted and produced varieties. The expression of the grape varies considerably based on location and climate, with cooler areas offering aromas and flavors of green apple and warmer areas ripe peach.

One growing region with a particular propensity for growing top quality riesling is the Ancient Lakes region near the town of George, Washington. Evergreen Vineyard is a site there that an increasing number of winemakers are focusing on for riesling. A top quality bottle coming off of this vineyard is the EFESTE Evergreen Riesling Ancient Lakes 2013 ($20). It’s a brightly aromatic wine with aromas of pear, apricot and slate. It drinks off dry with bright acidity giving it a drawn out feel – perfect for cooling down these warm summer days.

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