The Noble Writ: A Riesling Primer
The biggest issue with riesling is sweetness. Most rieslings have a not-insignificant amount of sugar in them, and this gets into the craw of people who have learned that only "dry" wines are "serious" and worthy of their attention. I've noticed that there is a large overlap between folks holding these beliefs and those who enjoy " dry" red wines that actually have a large amount of residual sugar in them as well. Try to keep an open mind, and I think you will be rewarded with a wonderful wine experience.
|Karl Bauer, Wikimedia Commons|
A well-made German riesling (we'll get to other countries in a future column) is a complex balancing act: There is ripe juicy fruit -- often peach or citrus -- but it frequently plays a supporting role to mineral and stone flavors. The massive acidity sharpens these flavors; in turn, it is smoothed and rounded by the touch of sweetness. An added bonus to these wines is their low levels of alcohol. Most German rieslings clock in between 7% and 11% alcohol.
It is the prominence of the rock flavors that makes German riesling so captivating to me. As one moves among the different regions of Germany, the mineral flavors change; with repeated tasting, you can recognize variations in these flavors even in vineyards that are right next to each other.