Wine: Riesons to love Riesling

June 12, 2015

Okay so maybe that wasn’t the greatest play on words. Especially if you don’t know how to pronounce Riesling yet. It’s pronounced “Rees-ling”. “Riesons” to love “Riesling”…get it? {wah wah wahhhhhhhhh}.

Admittedly, I’ve been a poor white wine connoisseur. I had a not so great experience with Chardonnay at a party several years ago and have not been able to look at the stuff ever since. That is, until recently.

In my quest to study wine more closely and appreciate all wines (not just the reds), I’ve been doing more tastings than usual. I’ve also been reading books and studying about viticulture more in depth. I can honestly say that Riesling is my new favorite wine. And here’s why:

• It’s complex
• It’s taste is pure
• It can be dry or sweet
• It can be stored in your home longer than most other wines
• A fine Riesling can be purchased for under $25

I can completely understand why Riesling is the #1 wine among Sommeliers. I had no idea what I was missing out on! It’s the most diverse wine in regards to dry vs. sweet which makes it a popular wine for food pairing. It’s great with almost anything from seafood to dessert to Mexican and even spicy Thai food. The diversity in the food pairings is vast. Do you want a dry white to go with your lobster? Great! Do you want a sweet white to go with your spicy tacos? Great! Riesling can provide it all!

Unlike other wines, Riesling is stored in tanks and not oak barrels. That means the wine’s taste is completely indicative of the grape and it’s relationship with the soil, the region and the weather. It is “naked” in a sense because it’s flavor has been unaltered by an oak barrel which gives most white wine a vanilla or smokey flavoring by default. Essentially, it’s just pure Riesling that tells the story of it’s creation. It is this aspect of the wine that makes wine experts pull out their “I love Riesling” foam fingers and cheer leading uniforms.

Vintages
Because of Riesling’s high acidity, it stores longer than many other white wines which typically start to decline in 5-6 years (unless it’s one of the rare few that you’re not supposed to drink for 15 years after it’s release). Even though a 2009 will taste absolutely fresh and delectable, a 1997 will taste amazing too. Just keep in mind that the older the Riesling, the sweeter it has a tendency to be. So a 10 year old Riesling will taste more like honey syrup rather than light fruits. So if you’re looking to stay crisp and fruity, stay younger than 2007.

Appellations (Regions)
Considering it hails from Rhine, Germany I would say the Germans definitely have an edge on Riesling production. Riesling is their most famous varietal. However, I tried a Trimbach Riesling from Alsace, France this past weekend and my knees nearly buckled at it’s deliciousness! I believe my exact words were “O.M.G. you have to taste this”. I also tried an Eroica from Washington, and it was just as amazing! Riesling grows best where the climate is colder. When in doubt, choose the bottle that comes from the coldest climate.

How do you know if a Riesling is dry or sweet?
There are two different methods. At the moment, a “taste profile” is being added to many bottles which will mark it on a scale from dry-medium-sweet; However, this method has not been fully adopted internationally. So if you’re stuck in a store with a bunch of Rieslings that have no taste scale on them, you can typically tell by looking at the alcohol content. The lower the alcohol content (8-10%) the sweeter it will be. The higher the alcohol content (12-12.5%) the dryer it will be. Anything in the middle will be just that: right in between.

Also, if it is a German label you can look for the German buzzwords such as “Trocken” which means dry or “Halbtrocken” which means half-dry.

In short, this wine is simply amazing (and delicious). I have no doubt that you will quickly see why Riesling is the fastest growing wine in popularity in the United States. With it’s many different styles and food compatibilities, there’s a little something for everyone with Riesling.

~Gen

 

Tasty Vino
Welcome to TastyVino.com! I'm your hostess for all things wine and everything that pairs with it! Share your appetite with me here as I drink tons of wine, eat food, post photos and vacation around the world! Cheers!

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3 Comments

  • Malcolm Buxton
    April 12, 2012 3:55 am

    Thank u for writing this Genesis. You are a delightful person and great writer,

    • genesismoss
      April 12, 2012 6:46 pm

      Why thank you! See what you’ve done? Your suggestion to write about wine has inspired an entire new section!

  • Peter Hughes
    February 4, 2016 11:40 pm

    Loved the article on Riesling – Eden Valley in South Australia make superb dry Riesling that age beautifully!

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