Jacques Scott and Business Editor Lindsey Turnbull once again join forces to dissect a particular varietal and this month dispel the myth that the noble Riesling grape is nothing more than sweet plonk, by testing five different wines from Old and New World Riesling producers that serve to highlight its obvious versatility.
Riesling’s spiritual home lies in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region of Germany but it is grown all over the country, especially in the Rheingau area with its south facing slopes affording the grapes higher than normal doses of sunshine, producing intensely flavoured wines. It is also found all over the world, with some fine wines emanating out of France’s Alsace region, as well as New World producers in New Zealand, Australia and Washington State in the US.
Getting to grips with German wine labeling is a good start to appreciating Riesling (see sidebar for a look at deciphering the classification) but the wine basically can vary from dry to tongue-curlingly sweet, so it is a worthwhile enterprise in order to know exactly what you are buying.
Tasters for our Riesling dissection enjoyed a splendid selection of dishes from the chefs at Mezza, the food really assisting us in our quest to appreciate the different styles and nuances of this noble grape. Our assessment started with the driest wine through to the sweetest.