This week, I headed off to Lidl in search of a bottle of wine on a student budget, and I was more than pleasantly surprised to stumble across a Riesling Thornicher St Michael 2017, from the Mosel region in Germany, for just £4.99. Served chilled, this medium dry white is the perfect accompaniment for a chickpea curry or a samosa. On the nose, there are subtle notes of fresh honeysuckle and apricots, whilst on the palette, one is hit with a punch of citrus as well as a dash of a spritz and hint of pineapple. On the whole, Rieslings tend to have a low alcohol content (10.5% in this particular case), so are often an ideal option if you want a light glass over lunch.
Rieslings are easy to spot on the supermarket shelves due to their tallish, sleek and slender bottle size. It is hard to categorise the general characteristics of Riesling because the flavours really depend on where the grape is grown. The Riesling grape itself is high in acidity and when produced in the cooler regions, the wine produced has crunchy apple flavours. When the grapes are left to ripen a bit later – usually in warmer parts of Alsace – more peachy, tropical flavours surface. Whilst it may sound weird, in an aged bottle of Riesling it is not uncommon to experience smokey flavours of petroleum. Often, people associate Riesling with a sweet wine style but this is absolutely not always the case. Of course, it is possible to find sweet Rieslings but if you are a fan of the more crisp, dry style look out for the word ‘trocken’ when scanning the labels.
Germany remains the biggest producer of Riesling with its Mosel, Rheingau and Pfalz regions. A tip when choosing German wines is always to look for the term ‘Pradikatswein’ on the label, which means the wine is part of the German quality classification system.
The Riesling grape is usually not blended, yet it can sometimes be found together with Chardonnay. One major difference between a Riesling and a Chardonnay is that a Riesling is almost never aged with oak. All in all, Riesling is a grape really worth exploring if you are looking for a white wine which is a little more unusual than your classic go-tos: Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.
Image: hcdeharder via Pixabay