Quick Recipes and Easy

Riesling: Is it OK to Like It?

Once upon a time, Riesling became really unfashionable. So many people turned up their noses at it, that the makers started to sell it under different names!

Why should this be? Those of us who are acquainted with Riesling know it can be really tasty.

The main reason was that a lot of inferior wines became mistakenly associated with Riesling. Wines like Liebfraumilch, Bereich Neierstein and Bernkastel were increasingly made from less fine grape varieties and were seen as being part of the Riesling “family”.

At the same time, the name of Riesling became attached to other varietals – such as Walschriesling in Europe and Gray Riesling in California – that were of much poorer quality and were not really Riesling at all.

As a matter of fact, Riesling has a claim to be one of the greatest of all wine grapes. It is very distinctive, with a powerful aroma that combines floral and fruit elements. The fruit aromas are largely of apple but can include pear, peach and apricot. One thing that makes it really “different” is that with age it can develop a petrol-like or kerosene-like flavor! Really many people like this. But if you don’t, young Riesling is brilliant!

Of course the home of Riesling is the Rhine region of Germany. Outside Germany, some of the best Rieslings come from Australia, in particular the Clare Valley and Eden Valley. Australian Rieslings are larger and more alcoholic, and have a distinctive lime flavor which is really mouthwatering!

But probably the best Riesling of all is from Austria. You probably have to go to Austria to sample it, as the Austrians want to keep it to themselves! When you taste it, you’ll know why! Austrian Riesling is one of the wine world’s best kept secrets.

If you haven’t tried Riesling yet, you’re in for a treat. Look for the marks Johannisberg Riesling or White Riesling. If you prefer it dry, it will be labeled “dry” or “trocken”. If you are new to it, you may prefer to start with the sweeter variety. This will probably be labeled
“Auslese”. Try it with trout pan-fried in butter – tasty! It’s also one of the few wines that taste excellent with spicy Asian foods.

So don’t turn up your nose at Riesling. Just make sure you get the real thing.

Elaine Berry is the owner of Vintage Wine Associates, a small company for those who like wine and everything to do with it. For information about all aspects of wine and a selection of unique and original wine gifts, come and join us at myvintagewine.com myvintagewine.com

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