During the month of July we are celebrating what is arguably the greatest white wine grape in the world. If there is still anyone out there who associates Riesling with those sweet German wines that were popular in the ‘70s please banish those thoughts from your mind, things have moved on somewhat. No one is still wearing Brut aftershave or serving cheese and pineapple cubes on cocktail sticks at parties either (without a certain sense of irony in any case).
Now that we’ve established once and for all that Riesling is not naff and embarrassing, we need to move on to what makes Riesling so great. Firstly, and most importantly, Riesling has extraordinary purity of flavour. There is nothing funky or weird about it, it doesn’t like oak and it just tastes of the fruit it is made from and that fruit character will depend on the vineyard site and what the weather has been up to during the growing season. Very simple. Sauvignon Blanc has a similar purity of flavour and I think this is part of its widespread appeal.
Secondly, Riesling is capable of extraordinary ageing, which is very rare indeed for a white wine. Most white wines don’t really improve at all over time and very few last more than 3-4 years. Riesling can age gracefully for decades if you have the patience for it.
Thirdly, Riesling is extremely versatile and makes delicious wines in a wide range of styles from the bone dry and limey fresh to lusciously sweet dessert wines and every stage in between.
At the end of the day all that really matters about a wine is that you like the taste of it and if you like refreshing, fruity, aromatic white wines there will be a Riesling or two out there that will float your boat. The flavour of the wines changes a little depending on where they are grown. Within Germany you will find differences between the wines of the Nahe, the Mosel and the Rheingau. Outside of Germany there are fabulous Rieslings from NZ, Australia and Oregon to name just a few, each with its own character. It’s a case of tasting them to find out what you like best and we’re here to help with just that!
In our free Saturday tastings we’ll be comparing the best of German Rieslings with the best of the new world versions, and Saturday 27th will be the next instalment in our Tasty Tastings series with Leitz wines from the Rheingau.
Saturday 6th July: Nahe in Germany vs Australia. Helmut Dönnhoff wines will be representing the Nahe and we’ll have Kilikanoon and Pikes fighting the Australian corner.
Saturday 20th July: The Battle of the Doctors. We’ll be comparing the wines of Dr Ernst Loosen from Germany vs that of Dr John Forrest from New Zealand.
Saturday 27th July: Tasting Tasting with Tobias Fiebrandt of Leitz vineyards. Tobias will be showing us the versatility of German Rieslings from the completely dry to the fruitier styles. Any of us who have been lucky enough to visit Leitz have come back as life long fans! Book your tickets now to experience these wonderful wines.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our favourite picks and what we like to drink them with.
As an added incentive to venture into new wine drinking territory, we’re offering 15% off the following selected wines and anyone buying a bottle or more of these will go into a draw to win 2 free tickets to our Tasty Tasting.
Dönnhoff QbA Dry Riesling 2011. Usually £15.99, offer price £13.59
Dönnhoff Tonschiefer Dry Riesling 2009. Usually £18.75, offer price £15.94
Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett 2009 (off dry, fruity style) £14.95, offer £12.71
Leitz Rudesheimer Roseneck Spätlese 2009 (medium sweet, fruity style). Usually £33.50, offer price £28.48
Loosen Beerenauslese 187.5ml (sweet dessert wine). Usually £11.50, offer price £9.76