“There has never been a better time to celebrate German Riesling,” says Steffen Schindler, Head of Marketing of the Deutsches Weininstitut (DWI), and he is absolutely right.
March 13th is signified by Wines of Germany as the official birthday of Riesling, giving wine lovers an annual occasion to celebrate this popular and delicious grape variety. It continues to surprise some that Germany is one of the world’s oldest and most prominent wine-producing countries, and while it’s especially famous for producing high-quality Riesling, there are literally thousands of wineries in Germany, with white wines being of particular note.
“This is a historic day to celebrate the birth of the world’s most versatile grape.” Schindler continues, and to kick-off this incredibly historic occasion, it’s important to note that this date because of the first documented evidence of the grape, from the cellar log of Count Katzenelnbogen near the Rheingau region of Germany, on March 13, 1435. The Riesling birthday designation aims to broaden awareness of German Riesling as a must-try for its food-pairing affinity, expression of terroir, ageing potential and electric acidity.
As the climate and viticulture evolved from that time, the 19th century was a golden age of German wine. Its popularity was thereafter revived in 1995, this time being associated with a change in the quality-oriented thinking and patterns of consumption in the country, and it’s been just as in-demand – if not more – ever since. Today, with about 23,800 hectares, Germany is home to the world’s largest vineyard area dedicated to Riesling and grows 45% of the world’s Riesling grapes.
A typical German Riesling is reminiscent of peach or apple on the nose and has pronounced acidity. It is fantastic for food pairing and sparkling wine production. Riesling is a higher acidity grape than most others. A perfectly balanced Riesling with the just the right amount of acidity and fruit is crisp and zesty on the palate. Germany is the ‘go to’ region for lighter, summer wines, but it’s recognized as a cooler region for wine production, and this adds to its overall versatility and unique characteristics. Riesling can be vinified in a wide range of styles – from trocken (dry), off dry, to medium sweet, sweet and eiswein (icewine). A perfectly balanced Riesling with just the right amount of acidity and fruit is crisp and zesty on the palate, and pairs especially well with most foods, especially with spicier, Asian flavors.
Here are our fave wine picks if you are celebrating today, or this month.
Wines of Germany is encouraging Riesling fans around the world to celebrate this tremendous occasion with a Riesling toast, and by sharing photos, tasting notes, and favorite Riesling memories with the hashtag #RieslingBirthday on social media. Riesling Birthday will be promoted by all of Wines of Germany’s international offices on social media on a global scale this year, from Canada to Norway, to China and Japan.
Visit Wines of Germany all throughout March to see which German Rieslings Canadian Instagrammers recommend, and watch them unwrap a specially designed birthday surprise to celebrate the occasion. You can also be entered to win a Wines of Germany branded cruiser bicycle!
Happy Birthday, Riesling!