Has there ever been a grape more tragically misunderstood than Riesling? Almost universally loved by wine professionals, Riesling always seems to be just on the cusp of having a moment that never quite arrives.
Historically, some of the world's most sought after wines have been made from Riesling. But the story of Riesling's decline is a pretty straightforward one. The grape is native to Germany (the Rhine Valley specifically), and Germany's reputation and vineyards were both ravaged by the two world wars. In the post-war period, with demand for their wines at an all time low, Germany's winemakers tended to focus on quantity over quality, further tarnishing the reputations of their wines and their flagship grape. The result was that for many American consumers, their first experience of Riesling was with some truly terrible wines (I'm looking at you, Blue Nun and Liebfraumilch), which had not much more than their sugar content to recommend them. It's not surprising then, that the most common reason we hear from customers for not liking Riesling is that "it's too sweet."
We're here to convince you otherwise. Yes, there are sweet Rieslings out there, but that's a winemaking choice, not an inherent quality of the grape itself. In fact, wines made from Riesling span the full spectrum of sweetness, from the bone dry to the luscious. And, when you get past the argument over sweetness, Riesling has so much to offer. It's a wildly aromatic varietal, running from white flowers and stone fruits to lime zest and petrol. It also tends to make high acid wines, giving them a juicy, mouthwatering quality that surpasses most other varietal wines.
Also, Riesling's not just from Germany anymore (and, let's be honest, hasn't really ever been, since they've been growing on both sides of the Rhine and in Austria since time immemorial). Remember what I said about it being a favorite of wine professionals? Winemakers all over the world like to play with Riesling, and there are now brilliant examples from New York, California, and Australia, to name a few.
So join us on Friday, October 8, 2021 at 4pm on Instagram Live as we dig in and explore the many facets of Riesling.
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