We’ve fought tooth and nail over this grape variety before. Whether it’s your cup of tea or not, Riesling comes in many different guises depending on where in the world it is grown.
The Germans are perhaps regarded as the original and best by critics, producing serious wine drinkers wines that get even more serious with age. Alsace provides another Old World haven, with chalky-clay soils and a slightly different winemaking approach, many of the wines tend to be drier and weightier on the palate with higher alcohol. Oh, and let’s not forget Austria. The home of the supreme Grüner Veltliner. Again, well rounded, drier and higher in alcohol.
In the New World, there are the citrus fruit bombs of Australia. Crisp and steely with a lean acidic backbone, head to Clare and Eden Valley for some of the best examples. Then there is New Zealand, and specifically Waipara, north of Christchurch, which might just take the crown for Riesling capital of the New World. It’s cool enough to retain vibrant acidity yet warm enough to ripen the grapes fully so they display wide ranging aromas and flavours from lemon and lime to mandarin, and on occasion stone fruit and honey notes from botrytis influence. Those elusive chalky mineral characters make for a great finale.
What’s my Riesling capital of the world? I’ve had some great experiences with Riesling from all over the world. It was probably a dry Austrian Riesling, the Wohlmuth, which initiated my interest. Since then I’ve enjoyed a number of very memorable wines from Germany, France and Australia, but for me at this time, it would be hard to beat Muddy Water’s James Hardwick Riesling – and yes, it’s from Waipara. Gotta love it.
So what’s your Riesling capital of the world?
The above picture is of Riesling grapes harvested in the Czech Republic…. Oops, forgot that country.