A Riesling Summer

Despite the occassional rant about Americans drinking more and more high alcohol, sweet tasting wines, I do believe the American wine consumer is becoming more sophisticated in its taste for wine. Maybe we are just becoming more experimental. Maybe as a people we are embracing the notion of variety.

Perhaps the best evidence of our growing sophistication is our steady embrace of German Riesling.

According to Wines of German, a trade organization responsible for promoting the wines of German in the United States:

"Riesling is currently the second fastest-growing white varietal in the U.S., showing a 20% increase in supermarket sales from 2004 to 2005, and German wine imports into the U.S. grew over 500,000 cases during this same period, which was the largest increase in case imports for any wine producing country exporting wine to the U.S."

Ever drunk one of those bone dry 9% alcohol German Rieslings? How about the off dry sort that seems to sparkle as the slightly sweet, crispy and cold liquid slides down your throat? These wines were born for warm summer afternoons. They are the kind of wines you can quaff and quaff and not worry too much about getting drunk.

This is "Riesling Week" according to the Wines of Germany and a number of restaurants across the country will be offering Riesling by the glass. Later this year, at the very end of the summer season, there will be organized tastings of Rieslings in San Francisco and New York. Can you imagine the difference between a Riesling tasting and annual ZAP (zinfandel) Tasting? These are tastings at which you can actually swallow a few wines and not worry about stumbling about the hall.

In honor of "Riesling Week" I’m going to stock up for summer today. K&L has a nice selection of the wine. D-Vine Wines too has a great selection of German Riesling.

Meanwhile the Riesling Report is a terrific source for all things Riesling.

6 Responses

  1. Lenn - May 8, 2006

    I’ve said for a long time that riesling (good riesling that is) is my favorite and most versatile variety.
    And I just happen to have a glut of Finger Lakes bottlings in my tasting queue. Perhaps I’ll move them up to celebrate Riesling Week.
    Thanks for giving me an excuse…as if I really need one 🙂

  2. Tish - May 8, 2006

    Tom, I’m a Riesling fan too. But I’m curious as to what you are thinking of when you refer to “one of those bone dry 9% alcohol German Rieslings”. In my experience, I can’t recall any under-10%-alcohol Reislings that are actually dry…

  3. Derrick Schneider - May 8, 2006

    Ha, Tish made the same point I was about to. Always one step ahead of me.
    It’s usually the non-trockens that run under 9%. Of course, a good Riesling needn’t register as sweet just because it has residual sugar–it’s also got all that acidity to balance it out.
    And, yes, I’m a huge Riesling fan (typically Old World regions, but every now and then I have an American or Australian Riesling that I like as well).

  4. tom - May 8, 2006

    Tish, as always you remind me of the error of my ways. You are right that the low alcohol Rieslings do tend to have some RS…It’s that acid that makes me think of them as dry.

  5. JS - May 8, 2006

    Next to a good Chablis, my favorite white wine has been off-dry to bone dry Rieslings. And on the rare occasion when I can find one, a dry Gerwurtztraminer will knock my socks off.

  6. tom merle - May 9, 2006

    Riesling to do justice to the grape has to have an RS above 0.8%. A “bone dry” Kabinett removes too much of the succulent fruit.

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