With a wine like Riesling, its reputation precedes it. You’ve heard all the rumors: it’s way too sweet, super dry, or smells like gasoline (seriously, look it up). But we’re here to put all those rumors to rest. If you’re not up to drinking this vino, we’ll give you a few good Rieslings. (We know, we’re punny.)
While this wine hails from many different regions, including Alsace (France), Austria, Australia, New Zealand, U.S., and Canada, it’s Germany where Riesling was born and raised. Originally from the Rhine region of southwestern Germany, a third of all German Riesling is now grown in the Mosel Valley where the cool climate forces the grapes to fully ripen in vineyards with lots of direct sunlight, plus some rays that have been reflected.
Riesling got a bad rep in the 80s (honestly who didn’t back then?) with consumers from other countries when they noticed their wine had a bit too much residual sugar. Turns out, the wine’s famous producers were over-cultivating the grapes which resulted in the high sugar content. But nowadays, this highly aromatic, acidic wine, can be fermented to be still, sparkling, dry, or sweet. So versatile! Even though most Rieslings tend to lean on the sweeter side of things, you can still find a good one that’s dry. If you’re on the hunt for a dry Riesling, search the labels to find one with a medium level of alcohol. Fun fact: although it seems like it might be the opposite, dry Rieslings age for less time than sweeter ones do. Typically, dry Rieslings age from 5 – 15 years, and your favorite sweet Riesling can age for upwards of 30 years before it’s ready to be popped open.
As you put the glass up to your nose, you’ll catch notes of nectarine, apricot, pear, honey, and oddly enough, a whiff of gasoline. Strange, we know. So why do you catch a little bit of this scent? Riesling grapes naturally contain the TDN compound, and without having to relive our high school Chemistry, it’s this compound that gives it the gassy smell. But rest assured, this vino definitely doesn’t have any gasoline in it.
With a sweeter, acidic varietal like Riesling, it’s the perfect match for spicy foods, especially with spices found in Indian and Asian cuisine. If coconut curry isn’t your weakness (we can’t say the same), try smothering your duck, pork, or bacon in sriracha for some kick and wash it all down with Riesling. Fulfill your daily intake of vegetables (and vino) by cooking up some eggplant, red onion, bell peppers and squash.