International Riesling Day 13 March
Renowned for growing well in cooler climates, Riesling is an aromatic, highly floral, almost perfumed white wine, originally grown purely in the Rhine region of Germany. An extremely versatile grape, it makes excellent dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines, depending on the climate and time of picking.
Rieslings from the cooler climates like Germany are characterized by flavours and aromas of apples and tree fruit with balanced acidity. Aged varieties tend to demonstrate more honey, smokiness and hints of the petrol aroma distinctive of Rieslings in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Rieslings from Austria, where it is the second most popular grape variety, are from later ripening grapes and whilst still lovely and dry, the wine tends to be thicker bodied, with citrus and peach characteristics. These Rieslings have lovely length at the finish with hints of white pepper.
In Australia, Riesling was the most planted grape variety until the early 1990s. The much warmer climate here produces thick skinned grapes, and the wines are recognisable for their oily texture and citrussy lime bursts of flavour.
New Zealand Rieslings tend to be much lighter and more delicate with the citrus, peach and honey characteristics of their cooler climate, northern hemisphere, German and Austrian counterparts.
We have both northern and southern hemisphere Rieslings; from the fantastic Domaene Wachau winery on the banks of the Danube just outside Vienna in Austria; and from the Esk Valley vineyard in the world-famous Sauvignon producing region of Marlborough in New Zealand. Some of the vines here are over 20 years old.
The northern/southern hemisphere varietals would make a perfect comparison for a sociable tasting with Thai cracker nibbles or as an accompaniment to a green Thai curry.