What is Riesling? Riesling is one of the great white wines of the world. Riesling is named after the German white grape varietal of the same name. Although it grows in many countries, the best and 60% of the world’s total production comes from Germany, while the Niagara Peninsular in Canada also produces world class Riesling.
What Does Riesling Taste Like? The many flavors of Riesling include apple, pear, quince, apricot, peach and nectarine. A fine minerality and a balanced acidity are important components of this wine. Styles vary from bone dry to dessert style. Usually, the drier styles favor the apple and pear flavors while the sweeter tend more towards apricot and nectarine.
What Makes Riesling Special? The vineyard locations are very important to the quality of the Riesling grape. The grapes have to fight against short growing seasons, shorter daylight and much cooler temperatures than most other grapes. Because of this, the best vineyard sites are those with southern exposure on the steep banks of the Rhine and Mosel rivers. These banks are quite steep, contain deposits of slate under the topsoil and need to be harvested by hand. The grapes benefit from both direct sunlight and light reflected off of the river. The slate underneath is heated by this combination and adds additional warmth to the grape vines. The coolness of the northern latitude helps to provide the racy acidity for which these wines are known.
- Trocken which is very dry.
- Halbtrocken is a medium dry wine.
- Kabinett implies wine of normal ripeness.
- Spatlese is a wine whose grapes were picked late so that the grapes are riper than normal thus providing a sweeter style wine.
- Auslese a wine made from late picked grapes selected by the ripest bunches making for a sweet wine.
- Beerenauslese comes from individually selected late harvest grapes. Higher quality and much sweeter than the others. A dessert wine.
- Trockenbeerenauslese is the ultimate dessert wine. The grapes stay on the vine until they shrivel like raisins. They are loaded with sugar and flavors.
- Eiswein made from grapes that freeze on the vine then are picked and pressed immediately. Very intense flavors.
*Typically, the sweeter the wines, the lower the alcohol content. Most German wines vary between 8-10% alcohol, while a typical French wine is around 12-13%.
How Long Will the Wine Last? Once opened, the wine drinks well for a couple of days then loses most of its flavor rapidly. The sweetest wines will keep longer as the sugar acts as a preservative.
Food Pairings: Freshwater fish and fresh seafood pair very well with Rieslings; a particularly good match is Salmon. Also, foods such as Thai, Indian and Chinese go very well with Riesling.
Stop into Mystic Wine Shoppe and let our team help you pick out the perfect Riesling for your special occasion!