Vines & Wines: Rieslings of the World

When talking with Sommeliers and other wine professionals, more often than not, they will tell you that Riesling is the most underappreciated grape variety out there. Riesling crops can be found across the globe, yet no matter where it is grown, it will always show the characteristics of its specific territory without losing its own inimitable style. In fact, Riesling might possibly claim the title as the world’s finest white grape variety. The wines that it can produce can range from crisp, bone dry and vexingly mineral, like those of the Rheingau and Mosel, to lushly sweet wines made in a botrytized style. Due to Rieslings naturally high acidity and tendency to ripen much later, its longevity is one of the highest of all varieties, having the ability to age for many decades.

Unfortunately, the popularity of Riesling took a dive in the 1980s after an ocean of cloyingly sweet wines were produced, destroying the reputation of the noble grape. To make matters worse, a countless number of other wines adopted the name Riesling, thus making its true identity that much more perplexing. It was enough to make anyone give up and reach for the more easily understood Chardonnay. Luckily, over the past decade, the average residual sugar content of Riesling made around the world has declined. As for the name usage and identity theft, there is little we can do. There are over 120 synonyms for Riesling. At this month’s From Vine to Wine seminar on October 7th – 8th, we will focus only on true Riesling.