Riesling 101 – Tasting the Classic Riesling Styles

Video: 46sec

First, ditch your snobbery about Riesling. A lot of people hear Riesling and they think “sweet” and “no thanks.” My theory is that as soon as people spot the traditional long, thin bottle, they have flashbacks to Liebfraumilch.

But about the only thing great Riesling has in common with Liebfraumilch is its traditional home base – Germany. Other great Rieslings come from Alsace in France where it is one of the four noble varietals, New York, California, Australia, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington and Austria.

Sommeliers love Riesling because the best versions offer amazing complexity, and neon acidity that makes it a great food partner and cellar candidate (yes, even inexpensive Rieslings from the best producers get better with age).  When you taste it, as in this video you will find thrilling fruit flavors across the spectrum from lean and tangy to lush and tropical.

I encourage you to taste along with the wines in this video – Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Riesling from Germany, Weinbach Alsace Riesling Grand Cru, Prager Riesling from the Wachau in Austria and Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling. You’ll get a sense for the grape overall, while appreciating the style diversity of Riesling planted in different terroirs. If you happen to be joining me at the Aspen Classic this week, we’ll sample another great totally dry Riesling terroir – Australia’s Eden Valley – with a killer bottle-aged Pewsey Vale Riesling. And for more on the range of dryness/sweetness in Riesling, read this post. Enjoy!