Riesling is a popular white grape that originates from Germany, specifically the Rhine region. While the grape is known for its perfect coupling of sweetness and acidity, it is also “terroir-expressive,” which means it can be heavily influenced by the region it is grown. In cooler German weather, you may find tree fruit notes in the grape and the wines may be on the sweet side. When grown in warmer climates, the grape can have more of a peachy or even citrus flavor and the wines tend to be drier. So if you are looking for certain notes in your Riesling, you may want to pay close attention to the region. The grape is also to be aromatic and flowery in scent and is hardly ever blended with other grapes. Rieslings are also never oaked.
Because Rieslings have such a variety, they can be paired with a lot of different meals. If you have a Riesling from Australia, you should try to go for more of a zesty, crisp meal. Rieslings from Austria are more full-bodied, so they pair well with richer, creamier dishes. Washington Rieslings are sturdy against stronger Asian flavors and curries. And all Rieslings are great for pairing with lighter meals or saltier foods. As far as cheeses go, Rieslings can stand up to most cheeses, anywhere from soft, fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella and Feta to hard, aged cheeses, like aged Cheddar and Gouda. Riesling can even be paired with some of the stinky cheeses, like Taleggio.
With such a wide variety of choices when it comes to Rieslings, take the time to try a few to figure out which is the right one for you. This versatile grape has something for everyone!