What is Riesling?

This delicious white grape variety makes wines in a variety of styles. It’s versatile with various sweetness levels depending on the region, vintage, and production style. Dry style wines from cool regions such as Alsace, Niagara, New Zealand, and Australia can be zippy and fresh, with low sugar levels. A dry style Riesling can be the perfect compliment to foods that have a fattier texture, such as sausage, ham, or holiday hors d’oeuvres. Like people, this grape has many personalities and there is sure to be a style that will appeal to every white wine drinker.

Here are Karen Crippen’s Top 6 Picks for Riesling Wines Worth Exploring:

Wolfberger Grand Cru Eichberg

Classic Riesling from Alsace, France

Unmistakably a Riesling. Showcases classic petrol on the nose, followed by aromatic scents of apple, tangerine, and lemon curd. A soft acidity and rich texture make a balanced wine with flavours of dried lemon peel, tart pineapple, and red apple. This is the perfect example of a dry style Riesling with almost no detectable sweetness.

Kruger Rumpf Munster Kapellenberg

Kabinett Riesling from Nahe, Germany

There are no petrol characteristics that are common in German Rieslings. This is a Kabinett style with 9% ABV, a touch of residual sugar that is well-integrated with acidity and flavours of lemon, lime, and Granny Smith apple. It is a very tasty sipper. Served jet cold, it will be perceived as less sweet.


Food-friendly Riesling from Willamette Valley, Oregon

A great example of a dry style from the New World. Oregon is relatively cool; therefore, the acidity and fruit come very well-balanced. Flavours of green apple, lemon, and lime are present with a touch of ginger and minerality on the finish. A great wine on its own or with food such as roast chicken.

Dr. Zenzen Auslese

Luscious Riesling from Mosel, Germany

If you are looking for a luscious, rich, and sweeter style that has the ability to age for years, this is the wine for you! This is an Auslese, which means the grapes were sweeter at the time of picking and the ABV is at 9%, which means they didn’t use up the sugar! So sweeter in style, petrol unmistakably a Riesling, it showcases classic minerality. This wine has the ability to age for another 20 years.


Intensely Flavoured Riesling from Okanagan Valley, Canada

2014 was a dry vintage, which means the flavours in the grape are more concentrated. Tantalus produces a classic dry style Riesling that is racy with a mineral edge, balanced by notes of lemon, apple, and stone fruit. This wine would be fantastic with roast pork or other fattier style dishes.

“1636” Sekt Trocken

Off-dry Sparkling Riesling from Mosel, Germany

This Sekt Trocken is an off-dry sparkling Riesling. Bubbles are a great addition to any occasion, from Sunday brunch to a welcome cocktail. Although this style is off-dry, we find that the bubbles help to cleanse the palate and make this a great pairing with fruit crepes or savoury cheeses.


Now that you have a few Sommelier Recommendations for great tasting Riesling Wines, learn a little more about Riesling with these easy reads: