The Ultimate Guide to The Best Riesling Wine

Aromatic and sweet, Riesling wine is a perennial favorite for casual wine lovers and aficionados alike. The best Riesling wine has flavor notes of apricot, peach, apple, and lemon. Young Rieslings might feature a secondary flavor of honeycomb or ginger, while aged Rieslings may contain a whisper of petrol flavorings, something wine collectors prize when choosing Riesling wine.

The History of Riesling Wine

Riesling grapes originated in Germany, where unearthed documents place them in the year 1435. German nobility fancied the wine and stockpiled it, recognizing that it improved with age. Of course, now it’s produced around the world, and affordable Riesling wine prices don’t require one to possess the wealth of European royalty.

Riesling grapes are hard-wooded and cold weather tolerant, making colder wine growing climates ideal for the hardy vines. They also grow well in areas with rocky terrain and good exposure to the sun. Germany is still the leading producer of Riesling wine, followed by Australia, the U.S., France, Austria, and New Zealand.

Different Types of Riesling Wine

There are multiple types of Riesling wine. In Germany, wine labels indicate the level of sweetness from dry to off-dry, sweet, sweeter, very sweet, and sweetest. Late harvest Rieslings are rich and complex and can develop nutty or honeyed flavors. Riesling ice wines are made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Ice wines typically come from Germany, Austria, and Canada and boast lemon, orange, peach, and apricot flavors. Botrytis Riesling wines are intense wines made from grapes that have dried on the vine and have rotted from the Botrytis fungus. These feature apricot, citrus, tropical fruit, honey, and almond flavors.

Perfect Riesling Pairings

Because most Riesling wines are sweet and fruity, they pair well with foods that offer a balance of flavors. For example, Riesling deliciously complements spicy foods like Thai, Indian, or Chinese. White meats like chicken, turkey, seafood, and mild cheeses made from cow’s milk are more flavorful when accompanied by a chilled glass of Riesling. The tastes of a crudité platter with carrots and eggplant benefit from a Riesling pairing as well.

Riesling Wine We Love

With so many types of Riesling to choose from, it can be difficult to pick just one. We recommend the following popular Riesling wines:

  • Three Brothers Wineries Second Degree Semi-Dry Riesling 2020. This semi-dry Riesling is a young wine bursting with aromas of candied lemon and tangerine and flavors of citrus and peach.

  • Baron Zett Riesling 2017. German Riesling that is semi-sweet, this Riesling has balanced acidity with flavors of stone fruit and apple.
  • Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling 2020. A dry, elegant Riesling, it’s crisp and refreshing with flavors and aromas of sweet citrus.

Final Thoughts

Riesling wine offers wine lovers a sweet, versatile option when choosing a vintage to complement a meal, as a dessert wine, or simply to sip on a summer night.