by Sarah Shotwell
Riesling, sweet, dry, and off-dry, is loved around the world for its aromatic profile and bracing acidity, but what is the story behind the grape, and why is it making a sudden comeback in the United States? Take a look at these fun facts about America’s fastest rising wine star.
Darling of the Rhine
Riesling, a white wine with perfumed aromas and gorgeous, lush flavors, originated in the Rhine region of Germany starting around the 15th century. There, it still the most widely grown varietal, and has since spread in popularity to places like Austria, France, and the United States. In the 80s and 90s, sweet Riesling got a bad rap in America when it was being made as poor-quality bulk wine, but since then, Riesling from California, Washington, Oregon and the Finger Lakes is making a comeback with serious wine enthusiasts. Among the reasons cited for this is the white’s diverse expression, unique pairing ability, and crowd-pleasing flavor profile.
Fun Fact: The International Riesling Federation (IRF) has developed a scale published on the back of many Riesling bottles marking the level of sweetness of each bottle!
Descriptors: Riesling runs a range of aromas and flavors, but common descriptors include pineapple, Meyer lemon, jasmine blossom, apricot, and minerals. Many Rieslings three or more years of age will develop the famed “Petrol” note - a highly sought characteristic in European Rieslings.
Have any favorite Riesling food pairings? We’d love to hear your suggestions!