All too often overlooked on the supermarket shelves, Riesling is a wine that’s well worth getting to know
It’s usually German, so that’s the elephant in the room isn’t it. ‘Germans don’t make good wines’, I have traumatic teenage memories of Black Tower and Liebfraumilch.
These sweet and rather sickly wines were what my parents thought of as suitable white wine for Sundays. I don’t think they actually knew what a red wine was, but you have to remember this was a time when olive oil was only available in chemists and then you poured it into your ears. Garlic bread? Garlic? Bread?
Of course times have changed a lot since then, my parents actually came to like red wine in their seventies and my father would cheerfully big up his wine cellar ( some bottles under the stairs).
Riesling though still goes largely unremarked but it is an absolutely excellent wine, perfect for food. Primarily grown on staggeringly steep slopes in the Rhine region, and on small independent parcels of land, it makes dry, semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling white wines. Rieslings all tend to come in distinctive tapered bottles.
Usually lower in alcohol than a standard white wine, Rieslings are mostly drunk young to get the best of their fruity aromas of green apple and cut grass and thanks to their high acidity they are refreshingly crisp.
They do also age well in bottles, but if you open an aged one be prepared for a strong smell of petrol. This is not down to the growers up to no good, it’s actually caused by the compound 1,1,6-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronaphthalene. There, that’s something to bring out at your next wine tasting to impress everyone.
Riesling is a great wine for a summer day, to replace the rather overrated rose, but all year round Finest Tingleup Riesling and Finest Mosel Riesling shine with any kind of spicy food, particularly Indian or Thai. The balance of sharp and sweet is exactly what the food needs, but fans of sweeter styles will enjoy the rounder and fruitier Deinhard Green Label Riesling and Blaumeister Riesling.
With International Riesling Day just around the corner (March 13th), now is the perfect time to explore some delicious bottles.
Tesco has the ones below available right now, so why not try some Riesling and get a taste for this all too often under appreciated grape?