Ok I'll admit, that's a pretty controversial title.
Riesling has long been seen as the grape of the uncultured, the wine you have to keep a bottle of in case Aunt Bertha stops by. A glass of sweet plonk that is marginally better than that bottle of Muscadine you bought at a gas station as a gag-gift for your wine snobby friend.
But Riesling is a favorite of Sommeliers around the world, myself included. In fact, many of the wine experts I have looked up to over the years have admitted to me that their favorite wine is Riesling.
I realize that most of us had our first hangover from the sugary stuff we bought at the grocery store in college. If the idea of Riesling conjures up images of bottles shaped like a cat or emblazoned with an image of a Blue Nun, keep in mind those are cheap knock-off's of Riesling mostly made from the grape Sylvaner.
When I was 19, I spent a little over a month in the Mosel Valley of Germany. I wasn't old enough to drink in the US yet, but I was plenty old enough in Germany, so at our first restaurant stop, I clumsily ordered a glass of red wine. The server smiled as if I had made a faux pas and kindly offered to bring me something more regionally famous. Thus began my lifelong love of Riesling.
Riesling is aromatic and floral, and naturally has very high levels of acid, but it is not always sweet. Often it is left with a bit of residual sugar to balance out it's bracing tartness, think of it as adding sugar to lemonade. If you are a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, I have no doubt you will enjoy a dry Riesling.
If you are interested in learning more about Riesling, the Noble Grape of Germany, come to our next Much Maligned Grapes class which will be about Riesling. The class premiers on May 21st from 5:30-6:30.