Sipping with Grace: Kung Fu Girl 2021 Riesling with drunken noodles

A drink for those who like sweet and a little bit of spicy.



This is the Kung Fu Girl Riesling and the drunken noodles I made with it.

JARED GRACE, Evergreen columnist

Charles Smith’s 2021 Kung Fu Girl Riesling has a black and white label whose calligraphic art style and classic text are enough to catch an eye on the shelf, which is something I truly value in the marketing of a wine.

This wine is 12.5% alcohol and made with mostly Riesling and some Chardonnay grapes. Giving notes of pear and green apple, this wine is sweet and vibrant with a medium body. The finish is as crisp as the first bite into a nice shiny apple, with a spattering of honey on the back end.

Rieslings made in Washington are characteristically acidic and light body while also being very sweet. This wine differs, being a little fuller in body while also still retaining that classic smooth texture.

In comparison to most Rieslings, this wine is not as sweet or dry, making it better for those who are not big fans of the extreme flavors you usually get from Rieslings. 

Historically, Riesling has been regarded as a high-risk low-reward grape for some time. It is more expensive than most other varietals, and it generally gives very sweet wines that are not liked by most consumers.

However, Kung Fu Girl Riesling perfectly encapsulates how Washington winemakers have been revamping the Riesling varietal as a whole, drawing out more delicate flavors and making the wine a lot less dry.

I first paired this wine with Havarti cheese and some saltine crackers while I cooked the main course. The cheese is very creamy and has hints of dill and citrus, complementing the dryness of the wine and allowing a pleasant and fulfilling mouthfeel.

The recipe I used for the drunken noodles is a little bit spicy, which pairs perfectly with the sweetness of the Riesling.

This pairing shines particularly well by making the extra sugar in the wine mitigate the heat in your mouth, and the heat from the chile makes the wine taste less sweet, taking the two extreme aspects of both the dish and beverage and creating an equilibrium of flavors. 

One thing to note: this meal works even better with a German Kabinett or a New Zealand Riesling; however, I found that this wine is significantly more accessible and works just fine. If you get the chance, just maybe give them a try.

To consume this wine at its best, make sure to chill it at 45–49 degrees Fahrenheit and let it sit at room temperature for about five minutes after opening and before serving. 

Winery: Charles Smith

Varietal: Riesling 

Vintage: 2021 

Locations: Walla Walla

Price: $10–16

Pairing: Drunken noodles and Havarti cheese appetizers 

I would like to emphasize that this column is not a review; my purpose for writing this series is to provide as much information about a wine as I can so that you can find your niche.

Drink up!