Yesterday, March 13th, marked the 585th birthday for Riesling! Riesling is a white wine grape that comes from Rhine, Germany and is now grown in vineyards across the globe in places like Austria, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and Canada. Germany is currently the biggest producer of Riesling with approximately 23,800 hectares, equivalent to 45 percent of the world’s Riesling (Wines of Germany, 2020). Riesling wine is one of the most popular white wines alongside Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It’s quite versatile, coming in a variety of sweetness levels including dry (not sweet), semi-sweet, sweet, and sparkling. In Canada, Riesling is also made as late harvest wine and ice wine, some of my favourites! To celebrate this wine, I’ll speak to some of Riesling’s taste profiles, food pairings, brand recommendations, and the winemaking process.
Riesling is a lighter-bodied white wine with a pale yellowish-white colour. This wine contains strong aromas like floral, pear, citrus, and honey, and has sweet and citrus fruit notes like pear, peach, lime and apple. Altogether, this brings acidic, tart, and crisp characteristics to your palate. Overall, Riesling is often consumed young (aged for fewer years) and best chilled before serving. Check out the Weekly Wine Fact at the bottom of the post to learn about the winemaking process.
Because Riesling is a light-bodied, versatile wine, it complements a variety of food like:
white fish, chicken, and pork.
Asian cuisines with rich, strong flavours and spiciness like Chinese and Indian.
Charcuterie, of course - with dried fruit, Gouda and Swiss cheese.
Seafood pasta with olive oil sauce and garlic bread - one of my favorite dishes with Riesling. You can even make a Riesling sauce for your seafood pasta.
Since you’re probably wanting a glass of Riesling now, here are some recommendations to make your trip to the liquor store easier. All prices listed are in CAD. (If you’re wondering about the sugar content for each sweetness code, see my Wine Language post.):