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Mad Violets Wine Co. 2016 Riesling

When you’re good, you’re good.

Kelly Kidneigh and Stirling Fox are two of the most sought-after professionals in Oregon wine. Stirling is the vineyard manager for some of the biggest names in Oregon, while Kelly’s been the chief or consulting winemakers for so many wineries we’ve lost count.

And they’re married. Mad Violets is their personal project, named for their daughters Madeleine and Violet. At Cellar 503, we love the personal projects. That’s where vineyard managers and winemakers show off their stuff, when they only have themselves to impress.

Kelly found her passion for wine while working in Portland restaurants in the late 90s. After working her way through a Who’s Who of Oregon wineries, she established herself as an in-demand consulting winemaker, with her hands in many small-production projects.

Stirling, meanwhile, was always in the vineyard, where he takes an old-school boots-on-the-ground approach to managing the vines — whether they’re small vineyards or massive estates.

As he made his way around the Valley, he kept discovering that his favorite vineyards had a winemaker in common, Kelly.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Mad Violets Wine Co., Newberg, Oregon
2016 Riesling

Because of their longstanding relationships with wineries all over the valley, Kelly and Stirling have access to some pretty amazing fruit. This Riesling from Maresh Vineyard in the Dundee Hills is no exception. These are the oldest Riesling vines in Yamhill County, planted in 1970. And boy, does Riesling shine the older the vines are.

As winemaker Kelly Kidneigh says, “My role as a winemaker is not to ‘make’ the wine, but rather to shepherd in the fruit and the story it’s telling; to watch, smell, taste, listen and in difficult years, guide it with a patient and gentle hand.”

I’ll say it again: Don’t turn up your nose at Riesling. Sure, the cheap stuff can be cloyingly sweet, and remind you of your grandmother’s perfume. But done right, well, Rieslings can be characterful, mineral, acid-driven wines that pair extraordinarily well with food.

This wine is a classic high-quality Riesling, with fresh minerality, vibrant citrus notes, and honey and stone fruits on the palate. The floral notes and unique petrol aromas jump out of the bottle. This wine is amazing with fish tacos, grilled shrimp, spicy Mexican or Asian food, and cream-based sauces.

A Cellar 503 selection in June 2020, Mexican Food Wine Dundee Hills | Riesling