History of the Varietal
Popular wine varietals come and go, but one which is always at the top of the charts for white wine is the Riesling. The Riesling grape varietal has been around for several hundred years. It was first planted in the 15th century and now there are over 50,000 hectares planted of Riesling around the world. In fact, it is found on every continent where grapes are grown. Learn more about the Riesling grape varietal and why it is so popular.
A Most Hardy Varietal
Why is the Riesling so popular is all growing regions? As you know, the Riesling is most closely associated with Germany. The Riesling grape hails from Germany and is a major varietal within the country. Secondly, the vines have a high tolerance for the cold weather and are drought resistant. In addition, the berries of this varietal are very light and the grapes have proven a strong resistance to botrytis. This is a fungus or mold which grows on the vine. A Riesling’s hardiness means it can grow in many regions, in many countries.
From Dry to Sweet
Riesling can range from sweet to dry, and all versions are delicious. Many people immediately connect it with sweeter versions popular in the U.S., but in Germany it is crafted at all levels. When crafted as a dry style it contains very little or no sugar, and there are even diabetic versions available. The sweetness level is a personal preference but the Riesling tastes great, clean and refreshing no matter what the level of residual sugar.
Typical Riesling Flavors
The Riesling grape is described as juicy, floral, earthy, tangy, tart, fruity and you will often smell lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, apples and the list goes on for this versatile varietal. The amount of alcohol in the drink is dependent on ripeness and sweetness levels. However, even though the Riesling often times has a strong floral aroma and fruit flavors, the high acidity levels leave behind a nice crisp taste.
Balanced Acidity and Fruit Flavor
Since the Riesling has high acidity levels, it not only makes it enjoyable to drink, it can be aged for hundreds of years. This makes it one of the few white wines that is very good quality after being aged. Most white wines are meant to be drunk soon after they are bottled.
How to Enjoy a Riesling
When serving a Riesling, first give it some time to breathe. Riesling is usually best served at a temperature of 44-50 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for the characteristics and aromas of the wine to flourish in your mouth.
Riesling and Food Pairings
Rieslings pair well with almost every type of food. This includes spicy ethnic dishes and even sushi. There are no oaky tones or harsh flavors in Riesling. Chefs love to create meals paired with a Riesling because it is so versatile and complements many foods. In addition to being a star at the dinner table, a sweeter version can also serve as a final dessert. In short, the Riesling is perfect for any social situation. So there truly is a Riesling for everyone. The more you learn about the Riesling grape varietal, the more you will discover it is simply a matter of finding the one with the right sweetness level to fit your palate.