31 Days of German Riesling
Let's face it, German Riesling has a bit of an image problem. Maybe it's a hangover from the days of Blue Nun, Liebfraumilch and Black Tower; or maybe the difficult-to-decipher labels (we're looking at you Trockenbeerenauslese!); or even the tall, skinny bottles! We're not sure, but one thing's for certain: it's time to change the world's mind about German Riesling.
Sommeliers and wine merchants everywhere have been raving about Riesling for years. It's fruity, fresh, food friendly, and quite frankly delicious! It can also be made into super serious wines that can age for decades.
So, for the month of July, the Oxford Wine Company and hundreds of other retailers and restaurants are working with Wines of Germany to change the world's mind about German Riesling. 31 days of German Riesling appreciation: now that's something to raise a glass to!
To get you started, here's our German Riesling 101. Read below for the lowdown on this wonderful wine! And for the month of July, get 10% off all German Riesling in our online shop with the code '31DAYS'
Riesling is one of the Kings of the grape world, as it reflects in its flavour, all the nuances from the growing environment so perfectly.
WHY GERMAN RIESLING? German Riesling has immense mineral character with extremely firm acidity in balance. This means good examples (whether dry or sweet) can age and develop for many a year. Anyone can concoct a simple wine from grapes, but to make a wine with elegance, great balance is hard and to achieve a wine that will develop is very difficult. German riesling takes these difficulties in its stride, and results in wines that please the palate in some cases for decades. What starts out as a gentle floral taste of spring after a decade transforms into a complex glass of berry fruit salad, then with more time exudes kerosene notes which tingle the palate in ways never thought possible. Match that - wine world.
Riesling comes in all levels of sweetness, from bone dry to unctuously sweet. But how do you know what you're getting before you buy? Here are some tips from us:
If a Riesling has the word 'Kabinett' or 'Trocken' on the label, it is dry. If you see 'Spatlese', 'Auslese', 'Beerenauslese' or even 'Trockenbeerenauslese', you're in for something sweet! Take a look at the alcohol level on the bottle. Since winemaking involves the conversion of sugar into alcohol, the higher the ABV in the wine, the lower the amount of sugar. Higher alcohol Rieslings are drier in style. Ask! Visit your friendly neighbourhood wine merchant, and they will be happy to direct you towards a Riesling that's right for you.
Similar grape varieties
If you like any of these grape varieties, you should try some German Riesling
How does Riesling taste?
Since Riesling is such an aromatic grape variety, winemakers rarely use any kind of technique that masks the flavour of the wine. Stone fruits - apricot, nectarine, peach, Citrus fruits - lemon, lime, grapefruit, Orchard fruits - green to red apple, Floral - jasmine, honeysuckle, Mineral - stone, slate, petrol
The three main regions
The most important region for German Riesling is the Mosel. With sun-absorbing slate soils and perilously steep slopes, the Mosel valley produces elegant, aromatic wines that are among the most highly acclaimed whites in the world.
Along another riverside are the vineyards of the Rheingau. Early champions of dry styles of Riesling, the growers here produce wines with great structure and intense concentration - perfect for ageing.
Not far from the border with Alsace lies Pfalz. Protected from wind and rain by mountains, Pfalz is also important in dry Riesling production. If you fancy branching out, this region also makes great Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.Map info
Our favourites - We have an extensive range of German Rieslings, covering several regions and all levels of sweetness. To see the full range, click here. In the meantime, here are three of our favourites
A dry Riesling from Pfalz, where the wines are a touch richer. Gorgeously aromatic with apricot and orange blossom flavours. Food Pairing: Vietnamese Summer Rolls with Sweet Chilli Dip. Music Pairing: David Bowie - Sound and Vision
An off-dry wine with just the right balance of sweetness and acidity. Hailing from the iconic Mosel region, and harvested from eye-wateringly steep slopes this is Riesling getting serious. Food Pairing: Slow Cooked Pork Belly. Music Pairing: The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
From the widely acknowledged King of Riesling, Ernst Loosen, comes this beautiful Beerenauslese. Easier to drink than it is to pronounce, this wine is nectar-sweet with the luxurious scent of saffron. Food Pairing: Roquefort Cheese. Music Pairing: Fleetwood Mac - Songbird