Thursday, November 19, 2009

Riesling Part 1

I remember the mind blowing rieslings I had in Lucern and Lugano Switzerland on hot summer days on restaurants patio beside the lakes. As soon as I got back to Vancouver, I began to stockpile rieslings in order to find THE Riesling and failed miserably. This wine course help me pin-point what exactly about Riesling I like so much: crisp and refreshing (high acid), not super dry, subtly fruity, creamy, easy to drink. Not all riesling are like that. Riesling offers very diverse wines, and it is expressive of the terroir (where it is grown) and good rieslings can be aged for hundreds of years, which is very different from other whites. Generally, it has strong aroma (smells actually like grapes, or flowers), never smells like herbs or grass like other whites. It is rarely high in alcohol and body, not oaked, not as creamy.

Riesling, as a grape, is quite delicate and can be made into various different styles of wine from light white wine to super sweet icewine. Unlike Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Reisling has an amazing potential for aging up to a couple hundred years.

Premium Riesling
Germany's QBA: fruity, refreshing, always a bit on the sweet side, light-bodied, and low in alchol. In fact, they rank their wine based on sweetness and write that on the label. The aroma and flavor characteristics varies depending on the ranking. German Rieslings rivals Alsace Riesling for the best, but German wine has better value, and you can get really good ones for pretty cheap.
Alsace: this Riesling is drier, medium body with green citrus and stone fruit note. If it is harvested late, it can be full bodied with intense flavor. The wine often has amazing complexity reflecting the soil type in Alsace. When the wine is aged, it develops smokey, honey, petrol like aroma.
Austria: If you can find it in Vancouver, its drier than German's with more body and alcohol.

Clare and Eden Valley in Australia has super dry, super acidic Riesling that smells like lime and burnt toast. It's a little sour for me, but it is also considered premium Riesling. New Zealand can also produce some good Rieslings, although their other whites can probably better. It's also dry, but the acidity is more balanced and crisp

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