Riesling thrives best in cooler climate types, where it ripens in the late autumn months.
The Riesling grape is very aromatic. It displays strong citrus and tree-fruit notes (green to yellow apples) with noticable high acidity.
Warmer climates can add more peach and orange notes.
Riesling is used to produce dry, semi-dry and sweet white wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines.
Riesling wines are made, because of their acid, often semi-dry or sweet. Dry Riesling is primarily a food wine. Alone, the wines may seem a bit astringent and sour.
Riesling will never be as popular as Chardonnay. For that, the grape is too acidic. It is in many ways the opposite of Chardonnay.
Good Riesling is a fresh and sour wine with medium fullness, moderate alcohol content, and delicate aromas from the grape. No new oak barrels are needed here.
To appreciate Riesling, one must build up some tolerance for acid. Riesling has a much more exciting aroma profile than Chardonnay, and it also has great elegance and finesse. The best Rieslingene also takes the taste of the soil and exciting flavor combinations are often the result.
The best Riesling wines come from Germany, Alsace, Austria, Italy, Australia, and New Zealand.
North of Germany (Mosel, Nahe), the wines are light and floral, with extreme finesse. They are usually made semi-dry or sweeter.
Further south, the wines will get bigger fullness, and dry editions are more common. Some of the best wines for food come from Rheingau, Palatinate, Austria, and perhaps especially Alsace.
A German Riesling will have a lighter style and a higher acid level an edition from Alsace that has more weight and fullness. Because of the taste equilibrium, a quiet Riesling with a few grams of residual sugar and high acid content can still be considered as dry and comfortable as a dry Riesling from Alsace with more alcohol.
When Riesling is supposed to accompany food, it should be slightly stored. The ripening tones down the otherwise very fresh acid and the wine is rounded off.
The German Mosel valley is one of the classic cultivation areas for Riesling.
The grape's demand for a cool climate is particularly well satisfied in this part of Germany, where conditions are quite extreme for wine production.
From the Mosel valley come some of the best wines made by Riesling.
In Germany, Riesling is the most planted wine grape in Germany.
It is used to produce dry, semi-dry and sweet white wines, sparkling wines, and dessert wines.
Regions: Mosel. Pfalz. Rheingau. Reinhessen. Nahe.
In France, Riesling was first planted in Alsace in the 15th century.
Rieslings from Alsace are known to display subtle differences from those produced in Germany.
In Austria, the Riesling production is quite small, but Austria has a perfect climate and a good reputation
for making excellent Rieslings.
Regions: Wachau and Kamptal.
In Italy, the best Rieslings come from the North.
Regions: Alto-Adige and Trentino.
USA produces good value Rieslings in many different regions.
Regions: New York, Washington, Oregon, Idahoe, California and Michigan.
With too hot a climate, riesling generally loses its fine, delicate flavor.
Australian riesling is such an exception. Some of Australia's best white wines are made by Riesling.
Regions: Clare and Eden.
Most of the Riesling in New Zealand is grown on the South Island where the climate is colder.
Regions: Malborough and Waipara Valley.
The most common abusers of the Riesling name are:
These have nothing to do with the great German Riesling. All of these grapes make significantly simpler wines than real Riesling.