In and out of fashion like a pair of bell-bottoms, Riesling has certainly been through highs and lows. Originally from Germany, this white noble grape probably saw its lowest point in the 70s and 80s when over-production and out-of-date marketing led the wine-drinking public to believe it was just sweet and naff. In terms of highs, 500 years ago it had greater renown than the wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy and it’s definitely experiencing a resurgence at the moment. The best bottles are still thought to come from Germany (the Mosel and Rheinland in particular) with Alsace coming a close second and newcomers New Zealand and Australia also in the mix. The style can range from crisp and fresh through to voluptuous – depending on how mature the grapes are when harvested. Whether the style is steely and citrusy or more honeyed and peachy, the defining feature of Riesling is a kind of ‘oiliness’ – sometimes likened to kerosene or rubber (not really selling it here am I?!) which can intrigue or dismay in equal measure. Definitely worth a try and surprisingly good with soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert.
If you like Riesling, you might also like … Chardonnay (e.g.Chablis), Albarino, Grüner Veltliner