Riesling

Riesling is probably one of the most unique and misunderstood white grape varieties.   It produces fragrant wines that vary from very dry to extremely sweet thanks to its high acidity, with aromas ranging from lemon and green apple to honey, petroleum and beeswax.  It is one of the white grapes with the longest aging potential, some of them lasting even three decades.  Due to its ability to express the conditions of its place of origin, it is planted all over the world from Germany and France to United States and Australia.

The first mention of Riesling’s existence dates back to the 1400’s in the Rhine River region of Germany, where the vines were cultivated by Benedictine monks and noble families.  However, some argue that the grape was present in the vineyards as early as the 9th century!   Germany’s cold climate allows this late-ripening variety to express its versatility to its full potential.  Styles can vary form “trocken” (dry), to the more refined Pradikatswein, which are labeled according to the ripeness of the grapes at the time of harvest.  If you want to experience the delicacy of German Riesling, try Dr Loosen’s “L”.  The Loosen family has been planting Riesling in the Mosel region of Germany for over 200 years, and this example shows a bit of residual sugar marked by piercing acidity while retaining low alcohol content. 

In Alsace, France, Riesling is considered one of the white noble grape varieties and has been planted in the area since the 15th century.  Their style is usually dry, delicate, and with a beautiful balance of white fruit and gravelly aromas.  For a classic taste of Alsace, try wines from the Trimbach family, who have been making wine in Alsace for 13 generations. 

In the New World, Riesling has found a home in places like California, Washington state and New York.  Due to the warmer climate, it develops ripe aromas of cantaloupe, pineapple and apricots.  Wente winery in Livermore, California, produces a Riesling with a hint of sweetness and tropical fruit flavors.  In Washington state, Dr Loosen and Chateau St Michelle have formed an alliance to produce Eroica, which balances the refined character of German Riesling with exuberant floral notes.

Try the dry versions with lighter fish stews or grilled veggies, and the slightly sweeter styles with spicy Indian curries or Thai dishes. From dry to sweet, from mineral to fruity, Riesling has a style for everyone.

See our entire selection of Riesling

Author: Maytte Rivera

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in Wine
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