Tasting Thursday: Riesling

Not just sweet wines

Do you think all riesling is sweet? Surprise! It doesn’t have to be. In fact, a lot of riesling is dry and is a favorite among wine experts for its impressive aromas and how well it pairs with food, especially spicy cuisine like Thai.

Germany is known for its riesling, and it’s actually about a quarter of all the grapes grown there! Mosel is perhaps the most well-known region for riesling, which is where both wines today are from. 

What to expect: 
Pale straw to deep yellow color
Strong nose
High acid, very fruity, light body
Lime, apricot, beeswax, jasmine, gasoline, pineapple, slate

2019 Relax – Qualitätswein Mosel
Semi-sweet, 9.5% ABV

This is the expected pale straw color. It’s fruity with white peach and green apple on the nose plus white flower. I taste more peach and green apple with even a hint of pineapple, slate, and minerals on the end. It def has the typical high acid we expect and is sweet with a light body. While it’s sweeter than I prefer, it has more flavor than lower quality sweet rieslings, and I enjoyed it more than expected!

2018 Dr. Thanisch – Deutscher Qualitätswein Mosel
Feinherb (off-dry), 10.5% ABV

This isn’t even a truly dry riesling, but you should notice a distinct difference from the Relax. It’s also pale straw in color though slightly darker than the Relax. It has the expected nose of rubber we usually notice in a higher quality riesling. You’ll notice crisp, balanced acidity. Off-dry with a medium finish. Tasting pear, a hint of jasmine, and minerals with light honey, citrus, and wet slate. 

If you want a dry riesling from Germany, look for the word “trocken” on the label, but also try rieslings from Alsace, France; Austria; and the northern US like New York or Washington. Pro-tip: to help determine sweetness, check the ABV. More alcohol equals dryer wine. Low alcohol indicates a sweeter riesling. Look for 11% ABV or higher for a dry wine.

Which wine did you prefer? Were you surprised to taste a riesling that wasn’t super sweet?

Published by Jenn Adams

Making wine approachable for your average girlfriend.

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