The Riesling grape is happiest in a cooler climate, one that fosters its slow
and steady ripening. Often assumed to be the producer of only sweet wines, Riesling
is a fascinating grape of many faces. From bone dry to lusciously sweet, this
variety is delicious at any sugar level with its intense aromas and steely acidity.
Most popular in Germany
the Riesling grape is grown on steep, sun-facing slopes of these cooler climates.
It can be made in dry or sweet styles – Germany's qualification system for Rieslings
is actually based on ripeness level and the grape is almost always bottled as
a sole varietal in the country. In Alsace, Riesling can be blended, although typically not, and is most
often made in a dry style.
Riesling has an extremely high level of acidity. That acidity is matched by
the intensity of the grape's floral and fruit aromas. A number of descriptors
are associated with Riesling due to its tendency to adopt the characteristics
of where it is grown. Rieslings of the Mosel are distinctive because its flavors
reflect the region's slate soils, while its partner in Alsace displays less
soil character and more peach and apricot nuances due to the warmer climate.
For dry styles of Riesling, look to Germany's Kabinett levels, Alsace, Washington State, Australia and
New Zealand. For a slightly sweeter style, look to Germany's wines of the Spatlese
and Auslese levels. If you can afford it, and want a true, decadent and sweet experience, look for
the Beerenauslese and Trokenbeerenauslese styles. Hedonistic.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Germany, Alsace, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Washington
State, California, New York State
steely, peach, mineral, floral, petrol, orange blossom, citrus