Within some recent wine industry news updates there have been a pretty decent uptick in the attention paid to Riesling. It helps that the Riesling Rendezvous occurred a month ago but it continues to be one of those varieties that flies under the radar except for some somms or other wine geeks that know the power of Riesling.
One of the topics covered in that Riesling Rendezvous was how difficult it can be categorize Riesling. Between how it is made in Germany to Alsace, the Finger Lakes, Washington, California and so on Riesling can be so incredibly diverse that it is easy to assume that Riesling is one way or the other. For me this is usually how it breaks down:
When it comes to Riesling in the good ole US of A it is usually characterized as a sweet or slightly sweet aaaaaaaaand that is about it. I honestly haven’t had many Riesling from the Finger Lakes but they are on my list to check out. For those who dig drier Riesling they push for that Alsatian style. One you hit up Germany you get to work through a few different categories and scales depending on quality and sweetness. Frankly once you get to that point of trying to explain Riesling to someone you officially start to see deer in the headlights.
When it comes to talking about Riesling I usually try to stop talking and give it a sip instead. In general I lean towards those Alsatian-style Riesling but there isn’t anything wrong with some liquid dessert either. I honestly don’t know how I got into wines from Alsace but however it happened it was a slippery slope to some of my favorite wines this world has to offer.
In all honesty if there is a wine that can satisfy nearly any mood you are in Riesling is a pretty solid choice. While it can have a reputation as being sweet it simply isn’t that way all the time. With the complex nature of this grape it does require a bit more research to figure out what style of Riesling you might enjoy. Once you hammer that out and find out what producers to search for the game is on!
Many of you know the story but I started making Riesling purely for selfish reasons. When I was looking to add a white wine to the lineup I was shopping around for Grüner Veltliner, Riesling and Viognier. I stumbled upon the Riesling vineyard in 2013 through some classified adds online. After a quick email chain and then checking out the vineyard for myself, the MTGA Riesling came into existence. The goal was always to make it dry and refreshing but find a good balance so that it wasn’t super austere. That said when you look at the spectrum that Riesling can cover it probably could be considered austere…
Anyway that last point is really the reason why I love Riesling. There are so many different options and styles and many of them can be really REALLY good when done well. The fact that this one grape can be that refreshing patio pounder or an exquisite dessert is fascinating to me. It allows for so much creativity on the winemaking side of things and to be able to be a part of that is pure fun. The fact that I can keep a couple of bottles in the fridge at all times is a good a reason as any to have it in the lineup (see, told you it was for selfish reasons).
While I am bummed that there is no 2015 MTGA Riesling to be had it is awesome that it will be back this year! Now comes that part that I am really, really bad at… waiting for it to be ready… is it next spring yet?