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