Don’t let naysayers budge you; it is possible to fall in love at first sip. To experience it, simply put a glass of Riesling wine to your lips and allow the cool, crisp liquid to slide down your throat.
It’s not surprising if you haven’t heard of this grape; chardonnay and sauvignon blanc are still the better known white grape varietals in this part of the world. But Riesling is a wine that deserves more than just a dekko, and it’s high time it got the recognition is deserves.
What distinguishes this wine, native to the Rhine region in Germany, is its rich bouquet of fruity and mineral flavours, versatility of expression, high acidity and ‘light’ feel in the mouth. Older Rieslings tend to have more concentrated notes — some call them petrol-like — while younger ones are crisper and smoother. All of them are delicate, fresh and uber-stylish. Think summer and springtime in your mouth.
That is why Rieslings work as well for the first-time wine drinker as for the more experienced tastebuds. The rich flavour ensures that you can enjoy this wine throughout a meal and with a range of dishes, including desserts.
The perception that Rieslings are sweet wines, which is generally the case with traditional German labels, is false. They also come in dry, semi-dry and sparkling varieties. But truth be told, the sweet ones are a class unto themselves, so try them at least once.
That’s why I feel it’s a pity that they are not as well known as other white wines. It’s like the underdog whose virtues have not yet been fully acknowledged. In my list, Riesling stands over and above all competition.