Riesling Wine Has a Bad Reputation!
Riesling has a bad reputation, and that’s unfair. What is fair to say is that poorly made Riesling can be downright terrible, but that can also be said of every other grape variety! Without a doubt, wines made from Riesling can be some the best on the planet. Great Rieslings from Germany, France, Austria and Australia are now some of the most sought after wines in the world, and demand for this magical white grape isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Riesling can have a magical combination of sweet-and-sour that is rarely found from any other grape variety.
Not All Riesling Wines are Sweet!
Rieslings are made with varying levels of sweetness – from dry (no sugar) to sweet (dessert-styled wines). When young, it can have flavours of apples, lime and apricot. Riesling can also possess a chemical aroma akin to petrol, or gasoline. Riesling has high levels of acidity, and should also have a lovely refreshing character – if it doesn’t, then it’s not good Riesling. And because of its great acidity, it pairs with virtually anything, from lighter seafood to spicy food to pork. Sweet Rieslings are classic with your favourite fruity desserts.
Eric Southward’s Top 5 Classic Riesling Wines
2014 Loosen Bros. Riesling Mosel “Dr. L” (Mosel, Germany)
This is year in and year out one of the best value medium sweet styles of Riesling on the market. Made by one of world’s great Riesling evangelists, Ernst Loosen’s 2014 “Dr. L” Riesling is a juicy, easy drinking Riesling with a refreshingly tangy finish. Well-made sweeter Rieslings should have a counterbalancing level of refreshing acidity, and this is a great introduction into the magic of balanced medium sweet Rieslings from the famous Mosel Valley.
2012 Trimbach Riesling Alsace (Alsace, France)
Not all Riesling is sweet! In parts of the world like France, Austria and Australia, it can actually be quite difficult to find wines with even small amounts of sugar. Trimbach, a winery from the French region of Alsace, makes light, tangy, zippy Rieslings – this if for fans of citrusy drinks, like lemonade. It has flavours of grapefruit, lime and a briny saltiness. It is refreshing and mouth-watering on its own, and is great with any foods that would benefit from a squeeze of citrus.
2013 Domaene Gobelsburg Riesling Kamptal (Kamptal, Austria)
Austrian wines may be new to some, but amazing wines from Austria have been hitting the Alberta market for some time now. This Riesling from the Kamptal region is dry (without sugar), has flavours of kiwi, peach and honey. A great alternative to lighter wines like Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc.
2014 Pewsey Vale Riesling Eden Valley (Eden Valley, Australia)
This is an absolute gem for the price. Australian Rieslings are dry for the most part – expect flavours of lime and white flowers, with a chalky minerality as a lovely nuance. This is one of Eden Valley’s top producers, and this wine is an incredible value.
2014 Tantalus Riesling Okanagan Valley (Okanagan Valley, Canada)
The UK’s most heralded wine critic, Jancis Robinson, described Tantalus’ Riesling as, not only one of the 10 best Rieslings in Canada, but one of the 10 best Canadian wines period. This hits your palate with a laser beam of acidity and citrus-flavour. It’s a benchmark for British Columbian Riesling, and will improve in the bottle for at least a decade.