It’s International Riesling Day! In this article, we’re looking at the grapes, the wines, the regions and discovering some French Rieslings recommended by French wine importers to celebrate all things Riesling for International Riesling Day!
WHERE RIESLING IS GROWN
While Riesling is a German varietal by origin, France’s Alsace region is a strong producer of Riesling wine. Over 20% of Alsace’s vineyards grow Riesling and have their own varietal Riesling d’Alsace which has notable differences to German rieslings.
Alsatian Rieslings are generally higher in alcohol content than their German counterparts being around 12%. Rieslings d’Alsace are mostly dry with cleansing acidity. Quality vintages can be aged for up to 20 years.
Until the early 1990s, Riesling was the most planted white grape in Australia when chardonnay then increased significantly in popularity.
The warmer Australian climate produces grapes that are up to 7 times thicker than the German grown grape!
In Australia, Riesling can be found in The Great Southern – Mt Barker, Frankland River and Pronogorup – Clare Valley particularly Watervale and Polish Hill River and the cooler Eden Valley and High Eden regions.
Australian Rieslings are noted for their oily texture and citrus fruit flavours in their youth and a smooth balance of freshness and acid as they age. Upon maturation, Australian Rieslings are known for their toasty, honeycomb and lime aromas and flavours.
OTHER RIESLING REGIONS OF NOTE
Riesling is also grown in Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Luxembourg, northern Italy, particularly Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Croatia, Austria, and Central Europe, particularly Romania and Moldova, Serbia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, China, Ukraine, and the United States (Washington, California, Michigan and New York), and the surprising wine regions of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
FRENCH RIESLING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR INTERNATIONAL RIESLING DAY
Natalie Taquet from Bottli speaks to us for International Riesling Day.
How do French Rieslings differ from Australian Rieslings?
Australian Rieslings usually use screw caps, while French mostly use natural corks.
Alsace Riesling is dry, mineral flavour, high alcohol and full body. Australian Riesling are light body, finer and more precise. Young Australian Riesling are less complex than Alsace Riesling.
Which French Riesling do you recommend?
Riesling Schlossberg 2018. Domaine Albert Mann, Vins de Grands Crus.
Why do you recommend this French Riesling?
French Riesling authorized as l’AOC Alsace. The Riesling grape is selection of noble grains and late harvest grape variety. French Riesling dominated grow in Alsace where the Rhine touches the Taunus mountains, which good weather, terroir and cool climate for Riesling grow. French Riesling have good balanced acidity, richness, dry wine with slow development, alcohol at less 12%, aromas of flowers, lemon, and peach and mineral. French Riesling is suitable for food paring.
The Riesling Schlossberg 2018. It has a dynamic vintage 2018 with sustained acidity. Vineyard at Kientzheim where granite terroir provides mineral fertility, which determine the finesse and multiplicity aromas of wine. Wine colour is pale yellow with golden reflections. It smells floral and leman aroma. The palate has an attack from tense, minerality and chiselled acidity. The structure is ample with nice bitters.
What to serve with this Riesling?
Temperature of wine: 12°. Condiment: lemon, olive. Staple food: shrimp, fish, carpaccio.
Margot Dumas from Le Plonque shares her thoughts for International Riesling Day.
What do we love so much about riesling?
Riesling is a white grape variety that comes from the Rhine region. Today, you can find it a bit everywhere around the world.
Riesling wines from France are very popular. You’ve most certainly heard about Alsace rieslings! They can be dry or sweet, depending on when they are harvested.
They display intense fruit aromas (apricot, peach, pear, apple…) as well as mineral, flower, herb and spice aromas (honey, ginger, citrus blossom and even…fuel!).
Riesling is amazing because we can pair it with lots of foods. It does wonders with many types of meat (pork, duck, chicken, prawns and crab), herbs & spices (ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves…), vegetables (roasted veggies or veggies cooked with coconut cream) and cheeses (try it with soft cow’s milk cheese and a handful of dried fruit).
Our Riesling Anne de Laweiss Riesling 2017 comes from Alsace, it is very easy to drink, amazing with Asian food and very affordable! Shop online and get it delivered to your door!
Popsy & JJ
How do French rieslings differ from Australian rieslings?
French rieslings tend to be made with slightly more texture and residual sugar, similar to that found in an Aussie chardonnay. Alsace riesling can be had young and fresh, usually presenting with some floral notes, citrus and even some stone fruit character can come through on the palate. It also cellars very well, sometimes even developing over decades. Age can bring on more complexity, such as notes of toast and honey, but it can also dim its freshness. Age tends also to slightly increase viscosity and mouthfeel. It really just depends on how you like to drink your riesling or what food you are having it with.
Which French riesling(s) do you recommend?
Ruhlmann Cuvee ‘Jean Charles’ 2018 and Ruhlmann ‘Granit S’ 2016 are both outstanding examples of Alsace riesling. The Jean Charles is ready to drink now ..but could still cellar well for the next decade at least if you prefer the aged characteristics. Right now, it is drinking just superbly, with some pear, apricot and citrus notes coming through beautifully. So balanced, not too racy yet the acid is still lively enough to keep the wine very fresh. Mouth feel is just outstanding.
The Granit S is a masterly wine whose fruit is grown on exquisite granite based soils. It presents with excellent minerality, has gorgeous citrus and floral notes on both nose and palate. Almost 5 years of age since harvest, it is starting to show slight hints of honey, but not too intensely, just melds very elegantly. It is still a light straw colour and has at least another 20 years to develop in the cellar if you have the patience to nest it.
These examples are both drinking superbly right now and will send Aussie riesling lovers on a very interesting and delicious alternative pathway. There is also a rich history to these wines which makes them even more unique. The Ruhlmann winery is family owned and operated, established by their ancestor, a Hungarian Knight that purchased these vineyards in 1688.
What to serve with this riesling?
These wines are super versatile. Try with oysters, pipis, seafood, sushi, chicken or even pork dishes. They also match beautifully with spicy food!
Happy International Riesling Day! Which riesling will you drink today?