Is Riesling wine any good?

Answered by Michael Weatherspoon

Is Riesling any good? As an expert sommelier and brewer, I can confidently say that Riesling is not only good, but it is also exceptional. Riesling is a white grape variety that produces wines with a unique and distinctive character. Its versatility and ability to showcase terroir make it a favorite among wine enthusiasts.

One of the most remarkable qualities of Riesling is its sharp acidity. This acidity adds a refreshing and lively character to the wine, making it incredibly food-friendly. Whether it is a bone-dry Riesling or a lusciously sweet one, the acidity cuts through the richness of dishes, cleanses the palate, and enhances the flavors of the food.

The acidity in Riesling also contributes to its ageability. Unlike many other white wines that are best consumed within a few years of release, Riesling has the ability to evolve and improve with age. The high acidity acts as a natural preservative, allowing the wine to develop complex aromas, flavors, and textures over time. It is not uncommon to find Rieslings that have been aged for decades and still offer a remarkable drinking experience.

Another aspect that sets Riesling apart is its wide range of sweetness levels. From bone-dry to intensely sweet, Riesling can cater to all taste preferences. Dry Rieslings are crisp, refreshing, and often showcase vibrant citrus and mineral notes. Off-dry Rieslings have a touch of residual sugar, balancing the acidity and providing a hint of sweetness. Late-harvest and dessert Rieslings are intensely sweet, with flavors of ripe stone fruits, honey, and sometimes even a hint of botrytis, also known as noble rot.

Riesling is also known for its aromatic profile. The wines can exhibit a wide range of aromas, including citrus, green apple, apricot, peach, honey, petrol, and floral notes. These aromatic compounds add complexity and depth to the wines, making them a joy to smell and savor.

In my personal experience, I have had the pleasure of tasting Rieslings from different regions around the world. Each region adds its unique touch to the wines, influenced by the climate, soil, and winemaking techniques. German Rieslings, for example, are often known for their purity, precision, and ability to age gracefully. Australian Rieslings, on the other hand, can be bone-dry with intense citrus flavors and a distinct minerality.

When it comes to food pairing, Riesling is incredibly versatile. Its acidity and range of sweetness levels make it an excellent choice for a wide variety of dishes. Dry Rieslings are perfect for pairing with seafood, salads, and lighter fare, while off-dry and sweet Rieslings can complement spicy dishes, cheeses, and desserts.

Riesling is not only good, but it is also a fantastic wine that offers a world of possibilities. Its sharp acidity, diverse sweetness levels, ageability, and aromatic profile make it a wine worth exploring. Whether you are a fan of dry, off-dry, or sweet wines, there is a Riesling out there that will suit your taste preferences. So, go ahead, give Riesling a try, and embark on a journey of discovery and enjoyment.