Drinking and Pairing Riesling with Food

Much in the same way that Pinot Noir is highly prized by sommeliers for its incredible versatility with food, Riesling might very well be its white wine counterpart. Riesling is grown in all of the world's major winegrowing regions and is produced in a wide range of styles, from the bone-dry lime- and floral-scented Rieslings of Australia, to the lusciously sweet, botrytis-rich Sélection de Grains Nobles (SGN) Rieslings of Alsace. Riesling is remarkable in its ability to ripen to extremely high levels of sweetness while maintaining its signature piercing acidity. Because the variety's acidity can be so high (especially in cool climates), Riesling is often finished with some residual sugar to balance the wine's sharpness. In Germany, Riesling's native home, these sweetness levels are indicated on the label by the terms: trocken (dry); kabinett and spätlese (off-dry); and auslese, beerenauslese, trockenbeerenauslese, and eiswein (sweet to very sweet).

Understanding a wine's finished level of sweetness is important to making a successful food and wine pairing. Fish, shellfish, and foods with sharpness such as greens with vinaigrette can be greatly enhanced by drier styles, while ham (or any pork), root vegetables, and foods containing spicy heat are perfect with off-dry Rieslings. The lusciously sweet wines of Germany, Alsace, and Austria are often enjoyed on their own but can be superb with custards or desserts containing fruit.

Riesling is:

Riesling related News & Blog:

  • A Varietal
  • Prominent in the Alsace appelation.
  • Prominent in the Mosel appelation.
  • Prominent in the Rheingau appelation.

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Riesling pairs well with:

Light Fish

Shrimp

Thai cuisine

Foods cooked via Poach/Steam

Fatty dishes