2021 Kung Fu Girl Riesling Review | Tasted & Rated
Kung Fu Girl Riesling has popping up at my local Costco periodically over the last few years now.
I first tried the 2020 last year and I was disappointed with it. It was overly sweet and lacked balance. I don't mind a sweet Riesling but this just didn't cut it and lacked enough acidity.
So, I grudgingly coughed up another $10 last week to see if they'd made the appropriate changes to the 2021 Kung Fu Girl release.
Here's what I found...
According to the Charles Smith Wines website - One night, Charles was eating Chinese takeout and watching a fight scene in a notorious martial arts film when he had an idea - a killer white wine made to be paired with Asian food!
And there, in that moment Kung Fu Girl Riesling was born.
Is this true, who knows?! But it supports the narrative that this wine is trying to present. This is a big brand wine, make no mistake.
I wouldn’t be surprised if its conception wasn’t actually in a marketing meeting but there’s no denying the brand is cool.
I love the look of the label and I’m sure it appeals to younger customers. At just $10, it's certainly very appealing to the wallet.
I found this at Costco for $10 but it's not a Costco exclusive and you can find it for around $12 in other stores.
There's not a great deal of Riesling to be found at this price but the best of the value is found in the US in Washington State and Oregon.
Riesling grapes love the cooler weather here and the wines benefit from them ripening slowly and developing crucial acidity and floral and mineral characteristics.
It's a medium yellow, straw color. There's a little green on the edge which isn't uncommon for a relatively young white wine like this.
It appears to have a light to medium-bodied. Being off-dry, I expect a bit more body coming from the extra residual sugar.
The nose is light and simple. It's all fruit with the dominant stone fruit notes of peach and apricot kept in check by a rich citrus lime.
There's nothing complex going on here and I didn't get much in the way of typical floral cool weather Riesling notes. The nose of this 2021 Kung Fu Girl Riesling is very similar to the 2020 expression that I didn't enjoy, so I'm hoping there's big changes on the palate.
I struggled with the balance of the 2020 release and right away there's a noticeable change. It starts with bright acidity which runs all the way through to the finish. The finish is crisp and mouthwatering, not sweet and sickly like the last release.
It's an off-dry wine like last time but the structure is there to support the sugar. The bright acidity (which wasn't there in the 2020 Kung Fu Girl) brings it to life and the balance is excellent.
There's consistency from the nose with peach and apricot tied to together with the citrus element of lime. It's fruity and simple but with just the right blend of sugar and acidity.
I start craving Thai food on the second sip and imagine what a great pair this would make.
Sure, it's all a big marketing ploy and the story about the martial arts movie being true is probably about as likely as somebody finishing a bottle of Sutter Home wine, but there's certainly truth in it being a great pairing for lightly spiced Asian food.
I think 7/10 is a fair score (perhaps a tiny bit generous). It’s a nice budget Riesling that’s simple but well-balanced.
My experience with this year’s wine (the 2021) is much better than last year's (the 2020). There’s more acidity there to counter that off-dry sweetness.
I really like the idea of drinking this with Thai or Chinese food, it would pair a treat with some lightly spiced Asian food like this.
If I was to buy Kung Fu Girl Riesling again, it would be to pair with some Thai takeout, as there's not enough here to keep me interested as solely a sipping wine. So buy it and pair it to get the most bang for your buck.
But, it's probably about as good as Riesling gets for ten bucks to be honest.
What did you think about this wine? Let me know your score down below!