Wine Notes: White Grapes - Riesling
My notes from WSET’s Great Grapes Course - Part 5 (White Grapes - Riesling).
- Aromatic variety.
- Broad range of styles - bone dry to incredibly sweet.
- Trademark refreshing acidity.
- Rated by experts as “the finest white variety in the world.”
- Fruity and floral (like Sauvignon Blanc).
- Cool Climates = Harvested when ripe (vs. over-ripe). Wines with green fruit flavors (green apple, grape), floral notes and hints of citrus fruit (lemon, lime).
- Moderate Climates = Dominant citrus and stone fruit notes, some with strong nose of fresh lime or white peach.
- Varietal character is expressed regardless of region and sweetness - but “different soil types and different ripeness levels emphasize different aspects of this varietal character.” Thus, producers often bottle their wines with the name of the vineyard on the label (Germany, Alsace and Austria).
- High acidity and intense fruit help Riesling age in bottle and develop honey, toast and sometimes smoky petrol-like aromas.
- German Riesling = Home of Riesling. Range of styles. Basic Rieslings are often found in the classification “Qualitätswein” - light bodied, fruity, refreshing with medium sweetness - but the category also includes many of Germany’s best dry Rieslings. The Prädikatswein classification is organized according to sugar levels: (in order of increasing sugar levels) Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein or Trockenbeerenauslese. “Beerenauslese will be a sweet wine made from grapes concentrated by noble rot.”
- Australian Riesling = Outstanding examples especially found in Clare Valley and Eden Valley regions. Dry, medium bodied, high acidity with citrus fruit notes (lime, lemon) and with age develops notes of honey and toast. “Some wines rapidly develop smoky aromas that are similar to petrol.”
- Riesling has a wide range of styles: “bone dry through to lusciously sweet, light-bodied and light in alcohol to full-bodied with warming alcohol.”
- Common theme: high acidity.
- Lighter, lower alcohol German styles are great aperitifs - fruit and acidity prepares the palate.
- Pairs well with roast poark and smoked pork dishes.
- Lightly sweet Riesling pairs well with powerful sauerkraut to balance the vinegary flavors.
- Dry Alsacian, German or Austrian Riesling pairs well with smoked salmon and trout.
- Kabinett and Spätlese German Rieslings pairs well with delicate Chinese and Japanese food with mild spice and sweetness (take note of sauces).
- Australian and other new world Rieslings pair well with Sushi and Sashimi.
- “The aromatic, concentrated fruit character of Riesling can work well with lightly spiced Indian food with the acidity cutting through creamy sauces, giving a refreshing finish.”
- Sweet Rieslings are some of the finest in the world - pairs well with lighter desserts based on citrus and apple which matches the wine’s grape flavor profile.
- Recommended Matches: Sushi and Sashimi, Chicken Tikka Masala, Apple Tart/Pie, Lemon Tart
- Albariño = Fruity, high-acid white grape. Common in northwest Spain and Portugal, such as Rias Biaxas. “Many varietally labelled versions exist from both Spain and further afield.”
- Grûner Veltliner = Austrian white grape variety. Broad variety of flavor: “green grapes, salad and white pepper in youth to layers of honey and toast as it ages.” Capable of exaggerated mineral notes.
- Designed to highlight the difference between sweet, light bodied German styles and the dry, fuller bodied Australia styles.
- Australian Riesling (Clare or Eden Valley) = Discernible difference between these two regions. Clare: full-flavored, pronounced lime juice character. Cooler Eden Valley: austere, steely, longer-lived versions.
- German QmP Mosel Riesling (Kabinett or Spätlese) = More delicate, floral and subtle than Australian. Balanced sweetness and acidity, with “finesse and myriad nuances of flavour, make these wines arguably the world’s greatest expression of the grape.”
- Alsace Riesling = Ideal conditions for “dry, medium-bodied Rieslings, with green, citrus and stone fruit notes.” Late harvest fuller-bodied versions are also made with more intense flavors and sometimes added sweetness. The best benefit greatly from bottle aging.
Source: Wine & Spirit Education Trust
Currently Sipping: Galliano
I don’t know if this will be of any help to anyone, but if you are going to go drink wine, why not try a Riesling?
Ich trinke gern Riesling. ;-)