Riesling is a white grape variety with its origin in Germany’s Rhine region. Riesling has flowery aromas and used to make sparkling white, sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines.
Although it ranks 20th in terms of most grown grape variety with 48,700 hectares but comes in top 3 in terms of ‘most important white wines by quality’ along with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Flavors & Wine Regions
Riesling is high ‘terroir expressive’ meaning that the characters developed in the wine are dependent on the place where it is grown.
Riesling is quite popular in Germany, with around 21,197 hectares in 2006, which amounted to 20.8% of all the grape variety grown planted there and in Alsace wine region of France which had 21.9% share or 3,350 hectares under it.
Wine regions of Germany with cool climate Riesling portrays tree fruit notes alongside apple notes with considerable levels of acidity. In warmer climates, such as parts of Austria and Alsace, late-harvest wines develop into peach and citrus notes. In Eden and Clare Valley of South Australia, Riesling tends to develop lime notes.
Riesling is grown in Serbia, Austria, Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Australia, northern Italy, Canada, New Zealand, China, South Africa, Washington, Ukraine, New York and California.
Commonly, Riesling wines are aged for 5 to 15 years for dry, 10 to 20 years for semi-sweet and 10 to 30 years for sweet ones.
Some high-quality off-dry or dry Riesling touch 100 years of aging and still are enjoyable
Riesling wines have a high aging potential which can be attributed to high acidity and distinct fruit flavors.
Riesling in Australia
In 1838, William Macarthur introduced Riesling in New South Wales, Australia. At one time, Riesling was the most planted white grape variety which was taken over by Chardonnay in the 1990s. Riesling is still grown in The Great Southern among other wine regions like Clare and cooler Eden Valley.
Australian Riesling has citrus fruit flavors and oily texture while young.