When it comes to New World rieslings, the 2006 Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Riesling from Washington's Columbia Valley (about $18 at big box stores and wine shops) is a tropically inflected stunner.
CSM is a consistently reliable producer of excellent value wines in a variety of styles, including a well-priced methode champenoise brut sparkler, and those bottles find their way to our table often. The Indian Wells designation kicks the winery's product up a notch, in both price and sophistication. It is made entirely with riesling grapes grown in its Indian Wells Vineyard and other vineyards on eastern Washington's warm and dry Wahluke Slope.
This wine is a lovely golden color touched by peach, a first hint of its unusual richness. To the nose it offers delicate aromas of spring flowers and apricot. On the tongue it blossoms with tons of heavenly fruit, especially apricot, lime zest and cantaloupe, plus honey and an understated minerality, yielding a wine that is at once lush, crisp and invigorating. The clean finish is medium long with whispers of white pepper and ginger. Yum!
If you have some people you really like coming over to hang out poolside, ice a few bottles of this beauty (feel confident in substituting the '07 if your wine merchant is out of the '06) and serve it all on its own or with goat cheese sprinkled lightly with fresh dill. It also would go nicely with pork chops or loin hot from the grill.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.