Wednesday, April 10, 2024

German Riesling 589 Years Old And Better Than Ever

Last month Riesling marked its 589th birthday. Loved around the world, it originated in a vineyard in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

Count Katzenelnbogen logged the first evidence of the Riesling grape, near the Rheingau region on March 13, 1435. It began a new age of white wine in Germany. Riesling was much better quality than typical for the time, was more resistant to frost, and had a much fruitier aroma.
Riesling has been a favorite of ours for many years (but less than 500!). It can be finished in a variety of styles, from bone dry to semi-dry to late harvest and even ice wine.

It thrives in colder climates and is high in acidity. The acidity give it a fresh and delicious character. Residual sugar (left when the fermentation is stopped) often gives the wine needed balance.

We are super-fans of dry Riesling, but more and more I’m drawn to the off-dry style which, in my view, allows you to experience the full spectrum of flavors.

California, Washington, New York State, France, Austria, and Australia all produce quality Riesling. The undisputed champion of Riesling is certainly Germany. Germany grows more than four times the acreage of Riesling compared to the nearest competitor, the US.

We recently tried two delicious German Rieslings. The 2022 Dönnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett carries the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) eagle on its label, a symbol that the wine comes from a vineyard from one of Germany's top producers. Elegant notes of apple ripple with acidity balancing a light sweetness. A wonderful example of Kabinett Riesling.
The 2019 Leonard Kreusch Estate Riesling (Mosel) is a delightful off-dry wine with notes of lime, peach, and grapefruit. The medium acidity balances the residual sugar for a smooth sipping experience. This was perfect for an aperitif.

Full disclosure: These wines were received as a marketing sample.

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