A favourite wine of many wine professionals I know, Riesling is a highly aromatic white wine with crisp acidity and floral notes.Normally thought to be sweet, Riesling can be made into some delicious dry wines.
Primary flavours of Riesling include jasmine, frangipani, apricot, apple and lime. Usually made as a single varietal wine, it is not uncommon to find it in blends.Riesling is also one of the few white wines that age really well and an aged Riesling has a distinct petroleum note.
Germany is Riesling’s ‘home-region’ and it is grown across Rheingau, Mosel, Pfalz, and Rheinhessen. The German Rieslings labelled Kabinett, Spätlese, and Auslese tend to be sweeter, while those labeled as ‘Grosses Gewächs‘ are dry. Alsace region in France is another great-quality Riesling region.
Austria, USA and Australia also make dry Rieslings and the sweetness level is usually mentioned on the labels.
It is a great ‘first wine’ for many and pairs really well with spicy food.
Riesling is considered a very food-friendly wine. But given its level of sweetness, it may sometimes be hard to blanket pair a Riesling. The key is to balance the acidity, sweetness and body of the wine with that of the food.
Riesling goes very well with spicy Indian food as it cuts the chilli as well as the heavy curry with its acidity and sweetness. Riesling also pairs well with smoked fish and sushi. For the food and wine pairings, I’ve considered dry and off-dry Rieslings.
1. Indian Chicken Curry or Dum Aloo: The acid allows the wine to handle curries and the fruit flavours of the wine balances the spices.
2. Laksa Soup or Spicy Ramen: The spices and creamy texture are balanced with the acidity and sweetness of an off-dry riesling.
3. Gouda: The nutty flavours of this semi-hard cheese go well with the sweetness and crisp texture of the wine.
4. Nachos with cheese and jalapenos: A dry Riesling balances the flavours of jalapenos and the texture of nachos perfectly.