Happy National Riesling Day!

March 13 marks National Riesling Day! The best way to celebrate this beloved wine is to take a little dive into what makes it so popular. Let’s explore what exactly Riesling is.

Austria Riesling Grape

Austria Riesling Grape

Riesling wine dates back to the early 1400s. In the beginning, it seemed that wine was the preferred drink of German nobility. The popularity of the wine caused people to stockpile it by the case in cellars throughout the country. Collectors realized that Riesling was one of the rare white wines that aged incredibly. While most white wines can be drunk right after bottling, high-quality bottles can improve for more than 100 years.

Riesling is considered one of the top three white wines. It’s made with a grape variety that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. The type of grape is green and skinned and prefers cooler, growing regions.

Glass of White Wine

Glass of White Wine

There are six different ripeness classifications when picking Riesling grapes.

1. Kabinett

These grapes get picked during the normal harvest. They yielded a light-bodied and lower ABV content wine.

2. Spatlese

Meaning “late harvest,” these grapes are fully ripened, so they bring a more fruit-forward flavor with a fuller body. They can be dry or off-dry with a subtle sweetness.

3. Auslese

Meaning “select harvest,” these are grapes picked out from a specific cluster of berries. It can yield a dry or sweet version of Riesling.

4. Beerenauslese

This type of classification is when the grape makes a luxurious Riesling dessert wine. It tends to pair well with peach-based desserts or caramel candies.

5. Trockenbeerenauslese

These grapes create a rich and sweet wine. It yields the most expensive of all German wines.

6. Eiswein

Meaning “ice wine,” this Riesling is made from frozen grapes. The grapes get crushed, and then the ice is separated from the juice. It leaves behind an extremely sweet and highly acidic dessert wine.

Some of the most famous regions where Riesling grapes are grown are Germany and Alsace, France. In Germany, the grapes can be made into styles that range from dry to slightly dry to very sweet. A drier and off-dry style of wine comes from France. Other popular regions where Riesling grapes are grown include Australia, Austria, Germany, and the United States. The Finger Lakes region of New York is an ideal place for these grapes to grow.

The flavors of Riesling can range from fruity, floral, tropical, and sometimes peachy or honeysuckle. When serving Riesling, think spice. While it pairs well with most foods, it a good match for spicy cuisines. Because it is sweeter and more acidic, it accompanies spicy foods like Indian and Asian spices. Riesling also pairs nicely with soft cow milk cheese and dried fruit.

Now head to your local wine store and pick up your favorite bottle of Riesling.