Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wine 101: What is reisling?

Ripe grapes of Riesling.
Ripe grapes of Riesling. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I freely admit that I am a relative newcomer to the wonderful world of wine. I have more experience with beer, but am not afraid to venture outside of my comfort zone. My adventures have led me in many directions, to sample a wide assortment of varietals, but I seem to keep coming back to one varietal in particular-Riesling.

What is it about Riesling that keeps beckoning to me? In short, the flavor. Riesling offers a light, crisp, fruity flavor that appeals to my palate. If you would like to know more, keep reading! Riesling is a white wine made from grapes traditionally grown in the Rhine region of Germany. The grapes are aromatic and feature a flowery, perfume-like scent. Riesling grapes are the 20th more grown grape variety and the resulting wine is considered by many to be one of the top three white wine varieties. This type of wine is greatly influenced by the ground in which the grapes are grown. While this type of wine originated in Germany, it can be found all across the globe. Riesling grapes are currently grown in Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, South Africa and China. Rieslings are rarely blended with other wine varietals, they are not typically exposed to commercial yeast and are almost never exposed to oak flavors, like other varietals may be subjected to.

 Riesling wines are considered young wines and undergo little aging. This results in a wine that features the delicious flavors and scents of green apples, grapefruit, green grass, honey, rose and peach. The wine features a high acid content which gives it a sweet, clean, crisp taste. Some Rieslings develop a petrol note when left to age for extended periods of time. Because Riesling grapes are greatly influenced by the soil they are grown in, some bottles may feature a mineral or stone like scent and taste.

 When pairing Riesling with foods, consider serving it with white fish, pork (including ham), barbecue, and stronger flavored ethnic foods such as Thai or Chinese. Dry Rieslings should be served around 50 degrees F while sweeter Rieslings can be served at warmer temperatures.

If you are new to wine, like I am, I recommend visiting a specialty shop and befriending the employees. Based on your particular tastes, they should easily be able to point out which wines you will most enjoy.


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