Riesling Grape Variety
Riesling is a white grape variety widely planted around the world, and has in recent years, become more fashionable again as a growing number of consumers have come to appreciate the quality of wine it produces.
It is a fruity, aromatic grape variety that retains its acidity. It ripens late, but is very hardy, making it an ideal source for late-harvest wines. It can produce great wines in a range of styles and in a range of climates.
In cool climates, such as the Mosel in Germany, it can have a very fresh grape and apple fruit character and the high natural acidity is often balanced with some sugar. Late-harvested grapes from these regions and vines grown in warmer regions such as Alsace (France), Austria and the Clare Valley (Australia), result in more citrus and peach fruit notes. Some Australian Rieslings do have a distinct lime fruit character.
Riesling has a very distinct fruit character and so unlike Chardonnay it does not benefit from techniques such as oak-ageing to add flavour or character to the wine.
Due to their high acidity, even quite modest Riesling wines can age very well, developing notes of honey, smoke and sometimes petroleum.
Classic regions for the production of Riesling are the Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau, and Pfalz in Germany; the Wachau in Austria; Alsace in France; the Clare and Eden Valleys in Australia; and Marlborough and Nelson in New Zealand.