2018-03-09 / Travel


A Riesling Revelation: Why you need to drink it now
By Erlinda A. Doherty

Truth be told, you should’ve been drinking Riesling all along. But many people associate Riesling with being sweet, which can be off-putting to many would-be imbibers.

And while some Riesling is produced to maintain higher levels of residual sugar, like all other varietals there are bone dry versions as well.

And let’s not dismiss sweeter takes on the varietal altogether, as these are often the most highly-prized and age-worthy of white wines.

Dry or sweet, Riesling needs to be in your glass now.

Riesling Rehash

One of the most highly-aromatic wines, Riesling originated in the Rhine wine region of Germany/ Alsace in the first half of the 1400s. As the choice wine of German nobility, it was stored in cellars throughout the country.

Due to its high acidity and structure, it was quickly discovered to be one of the few white wines, like Chardonnay, that could age for decades. And like other noble varietals, the grapes result in wines that are extremely terroir-driven, while still maintaining their inherent characteristics.

Jean Trimbach of Trimbach Estates will hold a tasting of some of his family’s best wines, including Rieslings Tuesday, March 20, 6 p.m., at The Gourmet Shop. Jean Trimbach of Trimbach Estates will hold a tasting of some of his family’s best wines, including Rieslings Tuesday, March 20, 6 p.m., at The Gourmet Shop. While most white wine is meant to be enjoyed soon after purchase, high-quality Riesling endures and improves over time. High-levels of a chemical compound called TDN, which can give the wine aromas of gasoline, also contribute to its age-worthiness, and is one of the signature characteristics of the wine.

All gas aside, Riesling is also known for its lovely floral and stone fruit aromas and flavors. Imagine blossoms and honeysuckle emanating from the glass, discover peaches and pears on your palate, and savor a refreshingly crisp finish.

Because of its high acidity, dry, and even more so, sweeter Rieslings pair amazingly well with spicy food and Asian cuisine. Curries, both Thai and Indian, are wonderful accompaniments to this noble wine.

Dry Riesling

Those favoring a drier style of Riesling should look for moderate levels of alcohol or 11 percent ABV and above. Rieslings from the tiny French region of the Alsace tend to be dry, and their 51 Grand Cru vineyards produce some of the most sought after dry Rieslings on the planet.

For a textbook example, try wine from the storied Trimbach Estate (Morganelli’s, $24.99) which has been making dry Riesling in the Alsace since 1626.

Hailing from the Kremstal wine region where Austria’s most esteemed vineyards are located, Nigl Dornleiten Riesling (Gourmet Shop, $21.99) is another excellent example of a dry Riesling.

Off-Dry Riesling

If a more off-dry, or sweeter version of Riesling is your preference, seek out a lower level of alcohol or an ABV of about 9 per- cent. The lower alcohol level typically indicates a higher amount of residual sugar in the wine that wasn’t fermented away during the vinification process.

The most well-known off-dry Rieslings come from the Mosel region in Germany where this grape is the most widely planted. Try the Selbach Kabinett (Gourmet Shop, $17.99) for a lovely example of this style.

For a New World expression, try Fess Parker Santa Barbara Riesling from California’s burgeoning Central Coast (Morganelli’s, $21.99).

This versatile grape can be just as enjoyable dry or sweet, young or old, and can age longer than nearly any other white variety. Rediscover Riesling and you’ll understand why it was the wine of choice for ancient nobility, is the darling of current enthusiasts, and is about to become your new (old) favorite grape.

Let’s revel in Riesling together at The Gourmet Shop Tuesday March 20 at 6 p.m. where world renowned wine personality Jean Trimbach of Trimbach Estates will lead us through a tasting of some of his family’s best wines, including Rieslings. Call 803-799-9463 to reserve your space with me.

Also known as the “Wine Evangelist,” Erlinda A. Doherty, CSW, WSET Level 3, is busy spreading the truth about wine. She has attained certifications and is an active member of the Society of Wine Educators, the Wine Studies Education Trust, and the International Court of Master Sommeliers. Through her passion project “VINÍCOLA,” Erlinda provides an array of wine consulting services including seminars at pop- up locations around the Midlands, educational events, private tastings, sommelier services, hospitality staff training, and retail/ supplier marketing. She recently opened ViniCola’s Tasting Room, which is open for private wine discovery appointments. Contact her at erlinda@thevinicola.com or visit www.thevinicola.com, Instagram (@ thevinicola), or Facebook (theViniCola) to join the next wine event.

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