There is more to Riesling than a ‘that’s too sweet of a wine for me’. Riesling’s can be some of the most age worthy white wines with great floral notes and beautiful acidity. Although most Riesling’s have at least a touch of sweetness, many can be very dry as well. The primary ways to differentiate between whether a Riesling is dry or very sweet can be obtained by knowing where the grapes are grown and knowing the alcohol content.
Generally speaking, Riesling from the Mosel in Germany and California tend to be sweeter. Those from Alsace, Austria, and Washington tend to be drier. There are exceptions and reading and understanding the label can inform you of the style of Riesling that you are looking to enjoy.
With German Riesling there are terms that can assist with your selection. Seeing Trocken on a label will signify a wine that is dry, Halbtrocken, will inform you that it is half-dry.
Another important factor is to look at the alcohol content. Also, for the most part when a Riesling is lower than 10 percent alcohol it will tend to be sweeter and above 10 percent will be drier.
When you combine all these factors you have a good basis for knowing whether or not the Riesling you are looking at is dry or sweet.
Riesling is a versatile wine for pairing with food because of its balance of sugar and acidity. One of the greatest pairings of all is enjoying Riesling with the stronger flavors and spiciness of dishes from Thailand and China. You can quite easily enjoy Riesling with white fish, pork, poultry, sushi and even dishes with garlic.
Some wines at West Vail Liquor Mart like the 2015 Schlink Haus Spatlese ($11.99) would complement Thai dishes, the 2015 Von Schleinitz Nitor Dry ($24.99) with poultry or pork, the 2013 Pacific Rim Dry with white fish, and the 2014 A to Z ($19.99) with garlic and vegetable dishes.
We can find you the best Riesling for many styles of food. Allow the staff to offer recommendations. You will be surprised by what you can learn and grateful to have complemented your meal.
Bryant, Wine Buyer