Happy International Riesling Day! Today WWX team raises a glass to one of our favourite grape varieties: Riesling.
What’s so amazing about Rieslings? Ask any Riesling lovers and they will tell you the No 1 reason why they fall in love with this variety – simply, it is a natural beauty. This thin-skinned grape variety gives wines ranging from straw-coloured, zesty citrus fruit driven dry whites with crisp acidity; to golden-coloured, tropical fruit super-charged luscious sweet whites with an incredible sweet-sour balance. Riesling has a deep affinity to cool climate growing regions. Flexibility in managing hang time and harvest timings enable winemakers to craft varying Riesling expressions.
How are the best of Rieslings made usually? It all begins with the harvest decision – which determines the style of Riesling right out of the gate. Pick early and you can expect the wine to turn out to be a dry wine with intertwining citrus and mineral notes. Pick late (in some case, when the berries are frozen, or when the berries became raisinated with noble rot influence) and you’d get varyingly sweet expressions with a complex fruit-earth-mineral integration. The best of wines of Riesling see these grapes interacting with colonies of native yeast over a long, slow, cool fermentation process where amazing aromas and flavours evolve. Riesling needs minimal human influence to shine and it ages incredibly well. Riesling rarely sees any oak influence – they are raised often in inert vessels such as stainless steel for modern winemakers globally, or in very large (talk 2000L) and very old (talk multi-generation) oak vessels called Stuck or Fuder for traditional winemakers from Germany.
Where do we find some of world’s best Rieslings? Germany has long been regarded as the motherland of Riesling. Indeed, it is from Germany where we find some of the greatest Rieslings of the world ranging all styles – from bone-dry mineral bombs, to exuberant stewed and candied fruit laden expressions. Just 30 minutes away from German borders, the region of Alsace in France also lays claim to much-revered Rieslings, known often for their full-bodied texture, multi-layered ripe stone fruit and underlying volcanic minerality. Don’t miss out Austria – zoom in to the region of Wachau, a small region accounting for only 3% of Austria’s national production, and you’d find some fascinating interpretations of Riesling. Once again, Austrian producers play with harvest timings to give diverse Riesling expressions. Smaragd (as we feature today) gives you full-bodied, often times tropical fruit driven wines.
Can Rieslings age well? A BIG YES – and that explains why we feature back vintage Rieslings today. For those that bear residual sugar, the intricate balance between sugar and acidity promise great ageing potential. For those that are made dry, the concentration and extract of fruit and Riesling’s naturally high acidity lay the foundation towards the development of an ageworthy, complex white wine that will gain a smoky, petrolly nose when mature. When mature, Rieslings tend to show this symphony of complex, yet harmonized flavours that go beyond a display of fruit and minerality. Unexpected aromas and flavours such as smoked bacon, salted caramel, button mushrooms come into play.
|Wine||Country||Packing||Per Case||Per Bottle|
|Deinhard Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 1983||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 759||$ 613|
|Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendanges Tardives 1990||France||6 x 75cl||£ 819||$ 1,324|
|Kunstler Hochheimer Holle Riesling Auslese 1992||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 786||$ 636|
|Dr Loosen Erdener Pralat Riesling Auslese 1995||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 540||$ 437|
|Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile 1995||France||6 x 75cl||£ 546||$ 883|
|Zilliken Saarburger Rausch Riesling Auslese 1995||Germany||6 x 75cl||£ 466||$ 574|
|Egon Muller Scharzhofberger Riesling Spatlese 1996||Germany||6 x 75cl||£ 1,638||$ 2,648|
|JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Beerenauslese 1999||Germany||6 x 37.5cl||£ 868||$ 1,403|
|JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 1999||Germany||6 x 75cl||£ 410||$ 662|
|Trimbach Riesling Clos Ste Hune 1999||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 3,931||$ 3,178|
|Trimbach Riesling Cuvee Frederic Emile Vendanges Tardives 2000||Germany||6 x 75cl||£ 431||$ 697|
|Prager Klaus Riesling Smaragd 2001||Austria||12 x 75cl||£ 590||$ 477|
|Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Auslese 2001||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 710||$ 574|
|Kunstler Hochheimer Holle Riesling Eiswein 2001||Germany||24 x 37.5cl||£ 1,420||$ 574|
|JJ Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Auslese 2001||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 905||$ 732|
|Kunstler Hochheimer Riesling Auslese 2002||Germany||12 x 37.5cl||£ 562||$ 437|
|Fritz Haag Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese 2002||Germany||12 x 75cl||£ 524||$ 424|