It's July and once again we're joining in with Wines of Germany's 31 Days of German Riesling campaign. This is one of our favourite grape varieties so we are always happy to shout about why we love it and get more people drinking these delicious wines. So join us as we get to know this grape and our featured wines for this years summer of Riesling.
Riesling (pronounced rees-ling) is used to make some of the finest white wines on the planet. It is a grape variety that is grown in all of Germany’s winemaking regions and it comes in a variety of different styles.
Riesling is famous for its zippy acidity, which makes it wonderfully fresh, elegant and an excellent partner for food. It also helps the wine to age very well. Riesling produces elegant wines with character. They can be distinctive in their aromas and flavours, often with zingy lime and lemon notes and riper flavours of peaches, or when young, apples. As they age, they can start to develop an aroma which is similar to petrol - a character that can be divisive in its appeal but may also be an indicator of quality, as it is found in greater concentration in older, higher quality wines.
Isn't Riesling sweet?
Some of it yes, but there is a lot of variety and the range that we offer is on the drier side. Classic Riesling is medium-dry. Many people's first encounter with it may have been through brands like Blue Nun, a medium-dry wine from the Rheinhessen which was a decent, straightforward wine. Tastes change and drinkers began to move on drier styles and Blue Nun was considered unfashionable, which has had a lasting effect on people's perception of the grape.
The traditional German classifcation for quality wine are Qualitätswein and Pradikatswein. The Pradikatswein system is used to denote the ripeness of the grapes when picked. This can be very useful, but initially a little confusing, with a lot of special lingo to decipher. If you don't know your Kabinett from your Spätlese, fear not. The featured wines below are mostly labelled under the simpler Qualitätswein standard in dry or off-dry styles. One key word to look out for is 'trocken' which means dry.
Riesling is also very food-friendly.
The off-dry styles are often our go-to suggestion for customers looking for a wine to go with those meals that can be tricky to pair with. Think curries, spice, south east Asian flavours.
Dry Riesling is also smashing with pork dishes (especially when cooked or served with apple) light fish and seafood dishes too (smoked salmon is a personal fav).
Our Featured Rieslings:
A dry Riesling with citrus and stone fruit aromas, with nuances of melons and herbs. Silky, lively with nice acidity and a slatey minerality. Really great quality stuff. Look beyond the unassuming label - you're in for a treat.
Try this one with pork belly with apple sauce.
Deep Roots, Rheinhessen Riesling Trocken 2021 - Rheinhessen
A superb dry Riesling that delivers aromas of fresh green apple and pear. A racy acidity that makes your mouth water and keeps you wanting more. This wine is a little fruitier than the Hanewald-Schwerdt and makes a great aperitif or freshener between courses, but can be equally enjoyed on a hot summers day with a fresh crab salad.
This is a nice introduction to the Riesling of the Mosel in a off-dry (Feinherb) style. Generations' Riesling was harvested from the family's steeply sloping vineyard in Lieser. Fresh hay aromas mingle with lemon citrus, pear and melon fruit . The sweetness and high acidity are well balanced, with a dry finish. On the palate, the wine is tangy, with subtle fruits and a hint of minerality.
This would be delicious with a slightly spicy thai stir-fry.
Axel Pauly Helden 2021 Trocken - Mosel
The 'Helden' (meaning 'heroes' in German) Riesling, was harvested from 80-year-old vines from the top site of Lieserer Niederberg-Helden. It is a pure, rich, aromatic wine with attractive aromas of ripe apple, wild pear and stone fruit. There is such wonderful concentration on the palate which is balanced by refreshing acidity leading to a long, precise finish. An absolutely delicious wine
"What a stunner. The fruit is great, bit of peach, bit of grapefruit, there’s a subtle smokiness about it from the Mosel slates, long finish, very precise."
Hexamer, Riesling No.1 2018 - Nahe 13.5%
A stellar example of Riesling developing with a bit of bottle age from Hexamer. We were all thrilled by Hexamer during last years celebration on Riesling, so we had high hopes for this and it does not disappoint. Made up of hand pick bunches of fully ripened grapes from Schlossböckelheimer In den Felsen (“In the Rocks”) a small vineyard that is markedly steep with south facing slopes composed of rocky porphyry and produces wines that have a softer acidity and a subtle smokiness.
In the glass you get a nose of yellow peach, red apple, pear, honey, pepper and stones leads to a concentrated, full-bodied palate with hints of honey, salt and flint smokiness on the long layered finish. This is juicy and fresh with a rich texture in the mouth that makes it very satisfying.
This superb dry Grosses Gewächs Riesling is sourced from the VDP Schlossberg vineyard. The low yielding vines here are between thirty and forty years old and the vineyard slopes are all south-facing, allowing them to capture the best sunshine and resulting in wines with intense body, fantastic structure and backbone. On the nose, it is vibrant and aromatic, with a fine spiciness, white flowers, and stony minerality. A full-bodied wine, the palate offers hints of beeswax and hay, well integrated oak and a long mineral finish.
This would be delicious with pork belly with apple sauce.
The name Fio means ‘thread’ in Portuguese. The estate is a joint venture connecting two families: the Kettern family, who have been making wine in the Mosel for several hundred years, and the Niepoort family, led by famed Portuguese winemaker, Dirk Niepoort. Teppo can be translated as ‘tempo’ or ‘time.’ This is Riesling that shows the importance of waiting, and the wine is aged for 12 months in old Mosel fuder barrels and then for further time in bottle.
The patient approach creates a charming feinherb (off-dry) style Riesling of tremendous depth and structure. Made from a handpicked parcels of fruit sourced entirely from the steep slopes of the Goldtröpfchen. Floral, deep, and intoxicating with light citrus and stone fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with balancing acidity and good length on the finish. This is really well-made stuff and a triumph of using traditional techniques to produce thoroughly modern wines.
If this has whetted your appetite and made you thirsty, you can pick up a trio of German Riesling at a nice discounted price here.
Complete the experience with the perfect Riesling glass
The Vervino Riesling glass by Schott Zwiesel is thin and slightly fluted to maximise the delicate flow of aromas from aromatic grapes like Riesling as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Albarino or Vinho Verde. It's compact size makes it a great everyday glass too. Even more reason to enjoy a glass of Riesling!
If you'd like to know more about German Wine, we've put together a little guide to some of the key regions here.