WHITE | LIGHT BODY
Riesling tastes and aromas
Flavours and aromas of green apple, pear, lime, mineral, honey, floral, citrus, honeysuckle, blossoms, green apples, mineral and spice
Riesling can be used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines, but generally has crisp, high acidity, low alcohol, with sometimes oily textures
Riesling cellaring potential
Although most Riesling is produced to be consumed young and fresh, it is one of the few whites produced in Australia that has the ability to age. High quality, well-structured wines can age for ten to twenty years; they transform into appealing honeyed and toasty styles, yet still retain a delightful, zesty freshness. Best Rieslings to age are from Eden Valley or Clare Valley.
Facts about Riesling
- Riesling is one of the few wines famous for cooling off the palate during a spicy meal. It is also considered one of the very best food-pairing wines.
- Riesling is an extremely versatile grape capable of producing world-class wines in all styles from bone dry to sparkling to intensely sweet. No other grape is able to be so versatile whilst maintaining integrity and quality. Riesling is able to do so both because of its high natural acidity and potential to develop high sugar levels.
- Because of Rieslings purity, it shows cork taint more than any other varietal wine. As a result, in 1975 Australian producer Pewsey Vale bottled Riesling under screwcap. Now most of the Australian are bottled under screwcap, to maintain its freshness and purity.
- Riesling is Germany’s primary contribution to the wine world, born in the Valley of the Rhine.
- The warm Australian climate produces thicker skinned Riesling grapes, sometimes seven times the thickness of German grown grape.
- Riesling was typically a sweet wine, however nowadays, most Rieslings are dry.
Australian regions that produce Riesling
Riesling was the most planted white grape in Australia until the early 1990s when Chardonnay greatly increased in popularity. It flourishes in cool climates, which give it the crisp acidity, intense flavours and longevity that it is Australian Riesling is renowned for. The following regions produce some of Australia’s best Rieslings.
The majority of Australia’s best Rieslings come from the Clare Valley Region in South Australia, which are popular for their intense flavours and longevity. The Clare Valley is home to a number of hills and valleys, and can produce austere and delicate wines from the cooler sub-climates, or more floral, citrus and fruity flavours from the warmer sub-climates of Clare Valley.
Eden Valley Rieslings tend to express more floral (rose petal), and green apple and are generally lighter bodied than their Clare valley counterparts. They also have an ability to age well.
Tasmania’s cool climate sites are proving to be ideal for the production of elegant, finely structured, tight, and long-lived Rieslings.
Wineries in the Western Australian regions of Albany, Frankland River and Mount Barker are also producing high quality Rieslings – distinctively spicy, floral and citrus flavoured with a minerally feel.
Riesling was first planted in New Zealand in the 1970s and has flourished in the relatively cool climate of the Marlborough area. New Zealand produces lighter and more delicate Riesling wines that range from sweet to dry.
Internationally, Riesling is one of the main grapes grown in Germany and Alsace. There are also significant plantings of Riesling in Austria, continental Croatia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, northern Italy, Finger Lakes, USA, Canada, South Africa, China and the Ukrain.
What food to pair with Riesling
Riesling is a versatile wine for pairing with food, because of its balance of sugar and acidity. It can be paired with white fish or pork, and is one of the few wines that can stand up to the stronger flavours and spices of Thai and Chinese cuisine. Riesling is almost never fermented or aged in new oak, which means that it tends to be lighter weight and therefore suitable to a wider range of foods. The sharp acidity/sweetness in Rieslings can serve as a good balance to foods that have a high salt content.