What to Pair with Riesling How about David Bowie

What is riesling and how does David Bowie fit into this story? Scientist turned winemaker Kristie Tacey explains.

What is Riesling wine

The riesling grape is like a tiny cacti flower, one that you don’t even notice unless you are looking. And still you might look past it 2 or 3 times before you notice it. Riesling can come in many ranges of styles and I think that is why it’s overlooked. I love the minerality and acidity riesling offers which makes it extremely versatile with food pairings. The Godmother hails from Germany, as it is the leading grape varietal there. Riesling is a variety which is very terroir driven and is greatly influenced by the wine’s place of origin. Rocky, steep terraces. Riesling is made in a number of styles around the world, still, sparkling, dry, and sweet. Its versatility and challenge is what excites winemakers.

Tessier Zabala Vineyard Riesling
Winemaker Kristie Tacey

Riesling & terpenes

Am interesting fact about the Riesling grape is that most amount of terpenes present in the grape skins.  Whhhaaaa, terpenes? Isn’t that what people always talk about in different strains of cannabis? Yup! They are organic molecules responsible for aromatics.

Tessier Zabala Vineyard Riesling

The 2018 Tessier Zabala Vineyard Riesling hails from California, Arroyo Seco AVA to be specific, which is in the middle of Salinas near Monterey. The soil components are of old river bed, gravel and sandy loam with large river stones along with granite/pink granite boulders the size of bowling balls.

It’s a cooler climate due to the ocean winds along with early morning fog to preserve the aromatics of these delicate grapes. The grapes were picked on the early side, trampled with boots and left on the skins for 2 days, so they could bask in their own juices and saturate with terpenes. The finished wine is pale straw in color with an abundance of aromatic riches.

Honeysuckle, guava, and pineapple nectar notes harmonize with jasmine, rose petal, white-tea, subtle spices, and juicy white peach. The palate is weighty, yet elegant with ripe apricot-flesh, Meyer lemon, and tangerine peel. The energetic acidity keeps everything bright and lively. The wine finishes dry with tropical flavors and lingering spicy florals with low alcohol by volume. Only about 325 cases are produced each year.  

The Sea and Cake “Sound & Vision

The wine is so sparkly and energizing in my mind’s eye that when I heard the cover of David Bowie’s Sound & Vision by The Sea & Cake I felt like it replicated the feel of this wine.

Light hearted, techno pop with jazzy influences. Dance around your house with this song on repeat and a glass or 2 of Tessier Riesling. I mean I love David Bowie– like so much! But I really think this is a solid cover.

The Sea & Cake have been around since the 90s, tearing up the indie rock scene. Plus, they are still at it, just putting out a new album in 2018. I’ve been mesmerized with lead singer Sam Prekop’s voice for all of these years. 


About the author: Kristie Tacey, winemaker and founder of Tessier Winery, is a scientist turned winemaker. A former published research scientist who studied protein pathways, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area from her native Michigan to pursue a career in biotechnology, which included working on the Human Genome Project. Tessier Winery is certified vegan using minimal intervention winemaking process.