The wine park

Grape Varietals

Riesling

Riesling-Grape

Donnhoff-Trocken-Riesling-Germany

Donabaum-Riesling-Austria

Alsace_Riesling_2007

Introduction

Even though it is only the 20thmost widely grown grape in the world, it is still the 3rd most important white wine grape in terms of quality wines, ranking after Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Riesling originated in Rhine Valley in Germany with its earliest written reference dating back to the 15th Century. Today it is widely grown in Germany, Alsace in France followed by significant plantations in Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, Luxembourg, etc. It is most commonly grown in colder regions and locations.

Riesling Wines

Riesling being an extremely versatile grape can be made into all styles of wine; from bone dry (Trocken) to off dry (Kabinett) to extremely sweet dessert wines of the Auslese, beerenauslese (BA), trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) class and Ice Wines. Sekt, the German sparkling wine is also made using Riesling grapes.

As with all grapes, the region plays a big role in the characteristics of Riesling wines. In spite of being grown across the border, French and German Rieslings are miles apart. French Rieslings from Alsace are traditionally thick bodied, drywines with a cleansing acidity. Their German counterparts have traditionally been sweeter, known for “transparency” in flavour, reflecting terroir and balance of fruit and mineral flavours. However, German Rieslings are increasingly being produced in drier styles.

Austrian Riesling is heavy bodied, coating the palate, strong flavoured with a mouthwatering aroma and a long finish that includes hints of white pepper.Australian Rieslings are noted for their oily texture and citrus fruit flavours in their youth and a smooth balance of freshness and acid as they age. In comparison, New Zealand produces lighter and more delicate wines that range from sweet to dry. USA & Canada too produce Rieslings of all styles – Dry, Late Harvest, & Ice Wine.

Out of all white wines, Rieslings are highly capable of ageing because of their naturally high acidity. Sweet Riesling wines, such as German Trockenbeerenauslese are especially suited for cellaring since the high sugar content provides for additional preservation. However, high quality dry or off-dry Riesling wine is also known to have not just survived but also been enjoyable at an age exceeding 100 years. As these wines ages they develop notes of petrol which is a distinct characteristic of top quality Rieslings.

This grape is also prone to being infected by Botrytis or the “Noble Rot” making rich wines that are amongst the most expensive and long lived in the world.

Food Paring

Riesling is a versatile wine for pairing with food, because of its balance of sugar and acidity. It can be paired with sushi, white fish, oysters, shellfish, ham, veal, crab, lobster and chicken. It is one of the few wines that can stand up to the stronger flavours and spices of Thai and Chinese cuisine.The sharp acidity/sweetness in Rieslings can serve as a good balance to foods that have a high salt content. The sweeter Rieslings can be paired with desserts like apple pie, fruit-filled desserts, peach and caramel based desserts, blue cheese and even foie gras.

Interesting Facts

In the 19th century Rieslings were were sought after wines and commanded even higher prices than French Bordeaux, which are today some of the most expensive and sought after wines in the world.

A very rare version of Riesling is Red Riesling (Roter Riesling). As the name suggests, this is a red-skinned clone of Riesling, but not a dark-skinned clone, i.e.it is still a white wine grape. Small amounts are grown in Germany and Austria.

The beneficial use of "noble rot" in Riesling grapes was discovered in the late 18th century at Schloss Johannisberg - one of the oldest wineries in the world that produces world class Rieslings.