Riesling

A stunning variety made in a bewildering array of styles from crisp, dry to off-dry and incredibly sweet.

Beyond style, the variety has incredible ability to be consumed young or very old, producing some of the most long-lived white wines of any variety. The sweet German Rieslings also rate as some of the worlds most expensive.

Where is it grown?

In Europe we see plantings in Alsace, France, across many regions in Germany from the Mosel to the Rheinhessen and the Pfalz. Along with Grüner Veltinger, Riesling is widely planted in Austria.

In South Australia, the Clare Valley’s, Polish Hill and Watervale produce stunning Riesling. You’ll find great Riesling coming from the Eden Valley SA, Central Victoria, Canberra, Tasmania, and, from the Great Southern in WA.

There are some cracking Rieslings coming out of New Zealand too!

What does it taste like?

Fresher dry styles tend to have citrus aromas and flavours with floral blossoms. Riper styles introducing stone fruit.

From region to region winemaking changes from simple pressing of fruit and fermentation to dry in stainless steel to use of skin contact and maturation in oak. Layering in different textures and flavours.

Shifting gear to Germany and Alsace the game of balancing sugar, alcohol and acid comes into play. From dry 12.5-13% wines we shift to lower alcohol dry wines and then the freshest of the sweet wines, the Kabinett styles. Coming in with as little as 7.5% sugar the trick is achieving balance with higher acidity. From Kabinett we mover through an array of styles increasing in sweetness and alcohol, heading all the way to the very sweet botrytis style Trockenbeerenauslese & Icewein made from frozen grapes.

You can read more about the different styles of Riesling made in Germany in the Wine Bites Mag articles exploring Riesling.

Off-dry Riesling lends itself beautifully to pairing with many Asian foods. Aged, sweeter, botrytis styles are perfect with cheese and fresher fruit desserts. Fresh, citrus styles are perfect with seafood and lighter poultry.

Fritz Haags 💯 Rizza's

The Mighty Busch!

I had the incredible pleasure of meeting Clemens Busch just prior to the 2020 pandemic hitting Australia. Tasting with him and listening to his carefully thought out responses to my typically probing questions was exhilarating. We may have been in a pokie, slightly stuffy room, his wines still transported me to another place.

A maker of mostly dry wines in the Mosel is not common. Historically those I have tried, even at GG level, have generally lacked that something special, the spark that takes you from solid to stunning.

I’ve often thought it to be in the élévage, the wines have been too raw, unfinished, lacking harmony.

Clemens wines were a revelation! Crystalline & translucent with incredible depth and length, elegance and refinement, yet wines of substance of flavour and texture. Sophisticated, yet, worldly.

They are a wonderful contrast to the richer styles from regions like the Rheinhessen, once again showing the diversity of styles Riesling offers.





2017 Selbach Oster's

“Great Mosel Kabinett should be like drinking cool spring water; thirst quenching and delicious.” says Johannes Selbach. Mosel Rieslings have a balance which should be found in dry wines as well as the sweet. It is this tension between acidity, fruit and minerality which is Riesling’s unique and defining character.

Johannes explains “I personally prefer, like my late father and grandfather, less sweetness in ‘sweet’ wines, and love a firm texture that I would describe as ‘crunch’; like when you bite into a ripe fruit with firm skin and flesh. Hence we are making more fruity wines than obviously ‘sweet’ wines.” The sweetness is that of biting into perfectly ripe fruit, where you have the combination of juiciness and mouth-watering acidity at the same time, like biting into a perfectly ripe apple (Kabinett), peach and apricot (Spätlese) or of ripe tropical fruit (Auslese). Clean Botrytis will add elements of honey and smokiness to good Mosel Riesling. Riesling, regardless of style, should have a mineral core and acid backbone which are the structure, the spine and bones of the wine, supporting the fruit components.

Compared to Richter’s wines, Oster’s are definitely an edge drier.

2017 Max Ferdinand Richter Mosel Rizza's

Exceptional Value!

Over the years I kept coming across Richter’s vino at Resto’s and events, somehow I never got around to trying a decent set in one sitting or throwing them on the list. That changes now! Richter’s Rizza’s have a divine harmony, and, layering to them. These are stunning Mosel wines. There is something about fermenting and ageing in old wood that works wonderfully for these wines. The gentle oxidation and fermentation kinetics bring the wines together beautifully!

Kabinett


Spätlese

Auslese

Beerenauslese

Trockenbeerenauslese

Prüm's 2018 Rizza's

Perfect Balance 1 Dry & 1 Sweet!

The Keller's Have Landed🛬

The 2018’s

The 2018 von der Fels Riesling Trocken is magnificent this year and is probably the very finest bargain in the universe of dry Rieslings in all of Germany in this vintage! The wine offers up a beautifully pure and vibrant bouquet of pink grapefruit, tart orange, chalky minerality, dried flowers, citrus peel, a dollop of wild yeasts and a gently smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, precise and impressive tensile for the vintage, with a great core, superb elegance and focus, outstanding backend mineral drive and a very long, very pure and complex finish. Great juice. 2023-2060+
John Gilman

Vines average age 30 years. As for all the Rieslings, some fermented in big old wood (1,200–2,400 litres), some in tank. A little deeper in colour than the Riesling trocken. Much richer and more complex on the nose, too. Spice and richness that I have not generally found in this wine – it shows the addition of some of the declassified Grosses Gewächs fruit. Those wild herbal notes of spontaneous fermentation but that does not detract from the mountain-fresh citrus of just-ripe Riesling. Has the complexity of the GGs but not quite the depth on the mid palate. As it opens, that spiciness turns into a more mineral quality, but complex minerality not the dusty stony quality of, say, young Chablis. There is also a greater richness in the mouth compared with the 2017 Von der Fels, perhaps a little more power and a little less finesse. Though Keller points out that some components finished fermenting just a few weeks ago and that this finesse will come. This vintage this wine seems closer to the GG rather than to the Riesling trocken, as it has seemed in the past. Impressive persistence. This should be a bargain this year.
Julia Harding for Jancis Robinson


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