Well oenophiles, while most of you are huge wine lovers and know their wine before they drink it (the whole bottle if I may say) there are some that actually nurture a different kind of love towards wine; they like to collect it. I can’t argue with that, it’s a good thing to have a bottle of wine in the house at any time, whether it’s for watching and admiring or for drinking. Another characteristic of serious wine enthusiasts is the mere truth that they love bragging about their wine; name, labels, producers, vintage and even price tags. Can’t argue with that either; it’s pretty much like two men talking about their cars.
Among the wines I’ve heard the most of, is the notorious Riesling, the German pride with labeling system so hard to understand and keep track of, you simply give up and decide to drink it instead of collect it. But then again, people that buy Riesling for collecting it, are brave and well educated, I can freely say.
Riesling grapes originate from Germany, from the Rhine region to be exact. Its history goes way back, as there are some written evidence about its importance from the 15th century. It was long believed that the Riesling vines grew wild in the Rhine region, but later thanks to DNA analysis was proved that one parent of the vine was Gouais Blanc, very popular among German wine producers, but very rare today. The other parent proved to be the result of a crossing between a wild vine and Traminer. Having this information in mind, the exact birthplace of the Riesling vine is still uncertain, since both parents come from different sides of the Adriatic, although they have a long documented history in Germany.
General Riesling Wine Characteristics
To prove yourself a real oenophile, you should be able to explain in details why you prefer to buy Riesling. That means, you should know its main characteristics, and to be an even better connoisseur, you should be able to explain all that in your own words, or by experience.
First thing to stand by, is the fact that although Riesling stands on the sweeter side of the wine spectrum, it’s in fact not that sweet; its acidic note stands out far more intensively. With just one sip, you will feel the intense fruit flavours like apricot, nectarine, peach and apple, pineapple and lime. Other aromas that you may feel if you hold the sip longer in your mouth are honey, petrol, citrus blossom, rubber and diesel fuel. All these make the wine intense, and the diesel, petrol and lanolin are the aged flavours of the wine.
As for acidity, this wine is extremely acidic, so before you buy Riesling, make sure you know what’s on the menu. The wines that are very similar to it are the Muscat, Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc the Italian Malvasia Bianca and the one from Argentina, Torrontes.
When you hear Riesling, choose anything spicy. Riesling is a highly acidic wine, and has a dose of sweetness that results in capability to pair perfectly with Indian or Asian food. Prepare meat (duck, pork, bacon or chicken) with a spicy sauce or a portion of vegetables like red onion, bell pepper, eggplant and similar, which you can roast and serve as a side dish.
Interesting Facts to Chat About
Since Riesling originates from Germany and it was a luxurious drink back in the 15th century, poets of the era used to mention it in their work. For instance, in the book Herbal, written in 1546, Hieronymus Bock mentioned it, which gives history a close insight in the vine’s real birthplace. However, another source claims that Riesling vine originates from 1435 and it’s the period when a German count bought six of them, making it the first documented varietal site.
Riesling is among the rare wines that has a sense of place. Not many places on Earth have the conditions to grow the Riesling vine; Austria, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and certain states in America are among the rare ones. And probably the most interesting fact of all is that Riesling has a universally low alcohol content. Now you can buy Riesling, and lead the party on without any fear of getting half-seas over!