Riesling is an aromatic white grape variety that is native to Rhine, Germany. This pure varietal of white grape is generally grown in cold climates and made into dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines, which at times have an acidic taste with a flowery aroma, with hints of honey and spice. Riesling wine is ranked in the top three of the most popular white wines, along with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Though Riesling is of German origin, because of the popularity it is also grown in other countries; however, the character of this wine can vary with the region. With time, even red Rieslings have become popular. France, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Africa, Austria, Luxemburg, Ukraine and China are other countries that cultivate the grape and produce Riesling.
History of Riesling Wine
Riesling has various references made in history that dates back to early 15th century. Certain references made in the storage inventory of high noble Count John IV of Katzenelnbogen in Russelsheim, which was close to Rheingau (today’s Rhine), highlight the presence of Riesling. In fact, the first documented spelling of Riesling was made in Hieronymus Bock’s Latin herbal, in the year 1552. Even in Alsace, Riesling wine was documented as Rissling and in Wachau, Austria it was documented as Ritzling. Today, many countries boast of this highly prized wine.
Regions producing Riesling Wine
Riesling is quite popular in most of the countries, with the varietal having a specific flavor depending on the region. Mosel is the main region that produces most of Riesling wine in Germany. Other than that, Rheingau, today’s Rhine, is also a major producer of Riesling.
Preparation of Riesling Wine
Riesling is native to Germany and the main characteristics of this wine is that it is rarely blended with other varietals, as it is not exposed to oak flavor which is a result of fermentation in oak barrels and rarely exposed to commercial yeast. Though some people prefer drinking the wine young, it is only with ageing that all the various flavors of Riesling wine blend well, giving it the characteristic fruity and mineral flavor that these wines are known for. When young, the wine is bottled in tall, tapered, green hock bottles and similarly brown bottles are used for bottling Rhine region Riesling.
Food Pairing of Riesling Wine
Riesling is one wine that goes really well with all kinds of foods i.e., white fish to pork and it pairs well starting with appetizers to main course to desserts. The wonderful balance of acidity and sweetness of the wine makes it an ideal accompaniment with all kinds of foods. In fact, Riesling wine is one such drink that goes well with the strong flavored dishes of Thai and Chinese cuisines.
Ageing and Serving of Riesling Wine
Riesling is never fermented or aged in oak barrels, especially the new oak. Because of the light quality of this wine, it goes well with almost all cuisines, more so with foods that are high in salt content. The white variety is generally served at a temperature of 52 degrees F and a higher temperature that is slightly warmer is ideal for the red Riesling.
Riesling Wine Trivia
Riesling grape is said to be generally grown keeping it “long and low”, which means that the climate should be such that allows long and slow ripening and pruning, which keeps the flavor concentrated and the yield, low.