Sitting down with a few girlfriends over a glass of wine the other night, we inevitably got onto the topic of relationships.
We talked about dating and the challenges of trying to find the elusive “one” that makes all others drop away. As a society, we are generally encouraged to date and try different people on, to determine the qualities that we like and don’t like in a partner. Among my single friends, they seemed to equally love the variety of meeting different people, yet feel compelled to settle down with that perfect companion, and end the ongoing search.
In many ways, the search for the perfect wine is much like the search for the perfect partner. We go out into the world, with a mission to sample and test and experience. We evaluate and discuss with our friends. We make lists of pros and cons. We give up on those that don’t make us feel happy. When in doubt, we move on to the next exciting thing!
Half of the joy of wine is trying new options, yet there is still a common motivation to find a favourite – a comfortable and reliable choice. For many people, picking a favourite is a challenge, usually followed up with any number of qualifiers. Well, if I am eating this, I would choose this. If I am in this region, or this environment, or this mood, I would choose this. If I am among friends, or alone in bed with a glass, I would choose this.
Strangely enough, my most preferred choice is often the same. I have no challenges in picking favourites! I have accepted, that in my relationship with wine: I am a serial monogamist with Riesling.
Of all of the grapes in Germany (and possibly the world!) the noblest is Riesling. It is one grape with endless possibilities. Riesling produces elegant wines of luxurious character, with aromas of floral and citrus, peaches and perfume. I love the acidity, the sweetness and their potential for gracefully ageing in the bottle. It is my true “one” and a bottle I return to over and over.
Riesling is the bottle I keep an unlimited supply of, bring to every party and seek out to sip. When I find an old bottle of Riesling on a wine list it literally makes me drool and I immediately order it to share with my group! If you invite me to your wedding, you will receive a case of Riesling (so I hope you like it as much as I do!) because I love to give people a wine they can drink now and also put in their cellar.
In celebration of the birthday of Riesling on March 13th, I decided to share with you all of the reasons why Riesling is an empress among all grapes. March 13th has now been called International Riesling Day – coined by Wines of Germany on March 13th 1435, Klaus Kleinfisch, an administrator of Count Johann IV. of Katzenelnbogen, bought vines to be planted in a vineyard in Rüsselsheim close to Frankfurt, Germany. In the sales document, the word “Riesling” is mentioned for the first time ever! Therefore, we can claim with good reason that March 13th is the birthday of Riesling. The original quote goes: “Item 22 ß umb seczreben rießlingen in die wingarten” – the price was 22 shillings.
1 – It is great with and without food – Not only is Riesling great to drink on its own, but it is also extremely versatile and refreshing, and can be served with almost anything and everything. Riesling also has a rainbow of profiles often making it challenging to understand when you’re shopping. Although many people think Riesling is sweet (a common misconception) many of the bottles from Germany will be dry. Paired with all kinds of foods including cheeses, fruits, all types of Asian cuisine and so much more, these wines are the perfect bottle to always have chilled, or bring to a dinner party.
2 – German Rieslings rock- The home to Riesling is in Germany and there are 13 winegrowing regions in the country. All of them produce world class bottles of Riesling. With old vines that grow on steep hillsides and are handpicked during harvest, these wines come in an array of profiles from dry to sweet and are simply divine. With a cooler climate to grow in, the wines have delicate aromas and perfect acidity. They absolutely rock!
3 – It makes exceptional Icewine. I’ll scream it loud and clear I love Icewine! And of course, my favourite is Riesling Icewine. The balance of acidity and sweetness makes me smile, even at the thought of a glass. Icewine originated in Germany, and in fact, was made by accident by leaving grapes on the vine too long and then harvested and crushed. With one drop of juice per grape, this liquid gold is simply divine!
4 – It can make great bubbly. Yes, Riesling can make bubbly. Talk about versatility and who doesn’t love a great glass of bubbles! Time to relax and pour yourself a glass of Riesling bubbles!
5 – It can age in your cellar – Rieslings are a great addition to your wine cellar and can age for a very, very long time. German Rieslings are wines with great class, elegance and a depth and complexity and offer notes of petrol as they age. In fact, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on these bottles for them to age gracefully. Just grab a couple of bottles and stick them in your cellar for 20 years if you can wait that long if not 7 years is a good amount of time to truly understand how the wine changes significantly in taste.
6- You don’t get sick of it. Most of my girlfriends agree, that no matter how many times you’ve drunk a bottle of Riesling, there is always room for more in your cellar or fridge!
7 – You can taste Terroir. Rieslings have a fantastic way of really showcasing where they are from. Just one glass can offer you interesting mineral and lime notes from distinct limestone soils, to wet stone and citrus profiles resulting from the labor intense stone terraced vineyards. German Rieslings have a distinct profile from various regions, soil types and micro-climates.
Celebrate #RieslingBirthday on Wednesday, March 13th, by heading to the Wines of Germany section at your local wine shop and picking up a bottle of Riesling.