I thought it was fitting that the German of this team write a post about Riesling on Riesling Day! Riesling arguably is one of the world’s most beloved and versatile grape varieties. Riesling is known for its high acidity, fruity aromas, and ability to produce wines that range from bone-dry to lusciously sweet.
Riesling is believed to have originated in the Rhine region of Germany in the 15th century. The grape variety was first mentioned in historical records in 1435, though some records suggest it’s been known since the 1st century AD, and by the 19th century, it had become one of the most important grape varieties in Germany.
We know of course, that Riesling is widely grown in all wine regions of Germany, but other parts of the world have made a name for themselves for growing outstandingly delicious Riesling as well. Think Austria, France, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States among other countries.
Riesling loves the cooler climates of the world, and it is usually planted in a region with a longer growing season, where the slow ripening can develop complex flavors and aromas.
Dry Riesling wines are known for their crisp acidity, which gives them a refreshing character. They often have aromas and flavors of citrus like lemon and lime, green apple, and mineral flavors like wet stone or flint. You might also detects floral notes like honeysuckle, elderflower, or jasmine. Dry Rieslings can be enjoyed on their own, but they also pair well with a variety of foods, including seafood (think white fish), poultry, and spicy dishes.
Sweet Riesling wines, on the other hand, are known for their luscious sweetness, which is balanced by the grape variety’s high acidity. Sweet Rieslings can range from off-dry to dessert-level sweetness, and they often have aromas and flavors of stone fruit like peach or nectarine, tropical fruit (think papaya or mango), and honey.
A sure way to recognize an aged Riesling, by the way is the aroma of petrol. (Go ahead, give it a try! Open an aged Riesling 3 years or older, close your eyes, and think of petrol… then inhale. You can thank us later.)
Sweet Rieslings are a great addition to any spicy foods to cut through the spice, strong cheeses, but also dessert.
Riesling is an incredibly versatile wine, so give it a try. When buying wine, we do always recommend going into a store with a dedicated wine staff. This is especially true when you are not sure what to buy. A wine store, wine bar, or winery are always a great place to start.
Another great option is to do an online search on websites like wine.com, wine-searcher.com, or vivino.com. Look for professional ratings, but also check out reviews from regular consumers. Those can be incredibly helpful in deciding what wine to buy.