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Monday 7 February 2011

Riesling: The Wine Everyone Loves But Nobody Buys*

This was originally meant to appear in a local wine newsletter.  That didn't happen so I thought I'd use it for my own benefit.  The brief was 300 words on a wine related topic that could appeal to both consumers and those in the wine community.
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Yes, Riesling, the sweet German white - favoured tipple of Aunts the world over during the 70’s. The same wine that many, in and around the wine trade, wax lyrical over. And the same wine that isn’t really sweet at all

The Australian wine community is doing some wonderful things with the Riesling grape: the wonderful aromatic Rieslings of the Canberra region such as Capital Wines “The Whip”, Clonakilla Riesling and Nick O’Leary Riesling; or the soft lime presence typical in many Eden Valley Rieslings such as Pewsey Vale; or the lifted floral bouquet so renowned in Clare Valley Watervale Rieslings such as Grosset Watervale or Vinteloper Watervale Riesling.

Each of these regions is doing its own thing, contributing to the Australian Riesling story, bringing Riesling back into the spotlight after it conceded top billing to Chardonnay in the 80’s. For “going 1980, bottled wine sales of Riesling, exceeded those of all other white wines combined” (source: James Halliday Wine Companion 2010).

Riesling will have its day in the spotlight again, but it is up to us as consumers to challenge our perceptions of the varietal. To me, the Riesling being produced in Australia is suited to so many aspects of our lifestyle. Riesling is wonderful when young, fresh and fine with many exhibiting great acidity - a perfect accompaniment to the Asian, modern Australian, or fusion cuisine so prevalent.

Riesling also has the ability to age, developing wonderful complex characteristics. As a varietal it is said that no other white wine can produce such a variety of styles.

So next time you’re in your local wine store or merchant, do yourself a favour, give the Sauvignon Blanc a wide berth and head for the rocket-shaped bottle of a great Australian Rizza!

* Thanks to David Bowley of Vinteloper for the title and inspiration.

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  1. Hey Stu,

    Finally got around to having a Clonakilla Riesling last night, and then remembered you had written a post devoted to some the awesome Australian rieslings. Glad to see it was mentioned; it was superb.

  2. G'day Teddy, glad you're loving the Rizza. So undervalued. Like Semillon. Both are grape varieties that Australia does so well and that you can get excellent examples for around $15-30 just astounds.