Paul Howard

31 Days of German Riesling

Join in with 31 Days of Riesling, July 2017

Following last year’s success, the 31 Days of German Riesling promotion returns this July. Restaurants, importers and retailers are backing Germany’s queen of grapes. Retail partners include Waitrose, Oddbins and UK Independents.

Just sniffing Riesling is a pleasure in itself. It’s highly aromatic; with flowers, apple, citrus, peach, and apricot. An oft-quoted diesel/kerosene note can appear as it ages. Many would contend that these aromas, racy acidity and flavour persistence make it one of the world’s great grapes. German Riesling is known as a sweet wine packaged with Gothic labels. But that has now changed substantially.

Riesling grows around the world; in Alsace and other parts of Europe, Australia, USA and New Zealand. But Germany is its unique home.

The character of Riesling heavily depends on the climate and type of soil it grows in. Clay promotes citrus aromas; sandstone gives a taste of apricots and slate brings a flinty, mineral quality. Good Riesling can offer an authentic sense of place and age beautifully over many decades.

German Riesling is more versatile than is often appreciated. It can be a sparkler (Sekt), a blending partner or increasingly, as a bone-dry (Trocken) wine.

Traditionally, Germany makes it in varying shades of sweetness. These range from the delicate off-dry Kabinett, through later harvest Spätlese, then very ripe Auslese. The intensely sweet Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese categories rely on the development of Noble Rot (Botrytis cinerea). This fungus imparts incredibly honeyed and complex flavours in the best vintages.

Finally, Eiswine comes from the coldest winters when the grapes are frozen solid on the vine!

Riesling is wonderful refreshment. With food, it pairs with fish, poultry, pork and vegetable dishes. The off-dry and sweet styles accompany Asian cuisine, especially Chinese. Sweeties match with desserts and blue cheese. Or sip slowly on its own.

With this in mind, I love good Riesling, and not just in July! If you want a recommendation, then look no further than the beautiful range offered by Martin Tesch, all are bone-dry, every one a gem.

Some famous names to look out for: JJ Prüm, Sauer, Dr Loosen, Haag, Leitz, Dönnhof and Wittman. But there are hundreds more.

I hope you join in during July and please let me know if you find any good examples!



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