In Defense of Riesling
Let me guess, you hate Riesling?! I know how you feel. I've been in your shoes. Full disclosure, I was once a Riesling hater myself, however, I stand before you today a proud and devoted Riesling supporter. My goal in today's post is not necessarily to change your mind, but to open your eyes and peak your interest in this incredible and amazingly versatile grape.
Let’s start by debunking the myths that surround Riesling. Riesling's bad reputation stems from an abundance of overly sweet wines hitting the market during the 80s. As a result, these wines are generally considered to be both unsophisticated and of low quality. This brings me to my first point: not all Rieslings are sweet! One of my favorite qualities about this grape is its ability to produce a range of wines from dry to very sweet. When I say dry I mean bone dry. While I myself do enjoy the sweeter Rieslings on occasion, today we are going to focus on those bone dry styles, or as I call them, ‘Rieslings for the Riesling haters.’ As a general rule of thumb, Rieslings from Austria, Australia and New Zealand usually fall on the drier end of the spectrum. The Alsace region in France also produces many good quality Rieslings in a similar style (these are my personal faves!). In general, these wines tend to carry notes of honey, earth, minerality and citrus, however, another nod to Rieslings versatility is that these characteristics truly depend on where the grape is grown.
A classic food pairing for Riesling is spicy Asian cuisine. It is also a great accompaniment to tuna. If you are a Riesling virgin, I highly recommend drinking this wine for the first time with a good food pairing. I would personally go with sushi, a spicy noodle dish or sesame crusted seared tuna. However, if you’re already on the Riesling boat, these wines are great to enjoy on their own as they are generally low in alcohol (under 12%).
I have three bottles of Riesling for you that are perfect examples of the range of flavors the grape can display depending on its origin. They are also perfect starter Rieslings for all my Riesling haters out there. Let the love affair begin! Cheers!
1. 2013 Pewsey Vale Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia- This wine shows strong notes of lime, grapefruit and dried herbs on the palate. I also taste hints of honey and white pepper. It has great length and balance as well as the ability to age for several years. This is a very classic example of a dry Eden Valley Riesling.
This wine can be purchased at Bond Street Wines for $18.00
2. 2011 Domaine Zinck Riesling, Alsace, France- This wine is super aromatic, displaying white peach and pear flavors as well as hints of almond and spice. It has great minerality and balance. This wine can definitely age for a few years but is also enjoyable now.
This wine can be purchased at Ellwood Thompson for $18.49
3. 2013 Huber Riesling Terrassen, Austria- This wine is super mineral driven and a great example of Austrian Riesling. It has intense stone fruits on the palate as well as some hints of lemon and lime. This wine is incredibly vibrant with fresh acidity and excellent balance. It's also a great bang for your buck which never hurts :)
This wine can be purchased at Barrel Thief for $15.99