Riesling

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Few grape varieties can match riesling for quality, ageability, food matching and drinkability. Read More
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1- 16 101
Both as a young wine and with bottle age, it's clean acidity and crisp lime/lemon flavours make it a mouthwatering addition to the cellar or dining table.

What does riesling taste like?

Riesling is a unique white. It’s German for a start – a country not exactly famous for its wine making credentials (although it really should be). It can be aged for longer than almost any red – up to a century in some cases. And it is one of the most terroir-expressive wines in the world – its flavours taking heavy cues from the environment in which it’s grown.

Between differences in terroir and time in the barrel it can be hard to pin down the taste of riesling. Fruit that is picked young and aged lightly (if at all) will generally be light, crisp and fruity, and this is the most common style in Australia. Riper fruit that spends longer in the barrel will be sweeter, more minerally, and have a distinct oaky edge, which is the more traditional German style. Flavours of apple, pear and peach are dominant in both types of riesling, but are delivered to the palate very differently.

Is riesling sweet or dry?

At the risk of straying into politician speak, it can be both. As mentioned above, the riper the fruit and the longer it’s aged, the sweeter a riesling will be. The riesling grape is used to make the full spectrum of dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines, so it’s a matter of checking the label and understanding which areas and labels produce which type of drop.

Australian rieslings tend to be on the drier end of the spectrum, although there are many winemakers in places like the Eden and Clare Valleys – areas with strong German heritage – that produce wines in a sweeter, more traditional style.

Where does the best riesling come from?

The South Australian regions of the Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Mount Barker are the country’s most renowned riesling producers. A wave of German settlers emigrated here in the mid-1800s, and the areas have been producing A-grade beverages ever since. A bit further from home, the Rhine region of Germany is where riesling got its start, and it continues to produce unique and delicious wines to this day.

What is the best temperature to drink riesling at?

Again, the temperature will change with the style of the riesling. Lighter, drier rieslings are fantastic when consumed ‘fridge cold’ – around the 4-6C mark. Aged rieslings however do their best work nearer the 8-9C mark, which can be achieved by putting the bottle in the fridge 20 minutes before opening.

Which wines are similar to riesling?

If you’re wondering what the riesling experience is all about, or perhaps love the wine and are looking for more riesling-style adventures of the palate, these are the grapes that come closest to the riesling package.

Pinot Grigio: Crisp, dry pinot grigio shares the body and many of the flavours of crisp, dry riesling.
Gewürztraminer: Another German product, like riesling gewürztraminer is made both dry and sweet.
Chenin blanc: The acidity of chenin blanc matches riesling, and the dessert wines produced by both grapes are quite similar.
Viognier: A punchy white, fine viognier is similar in body and presence to fine riesling.