Saturday, May 17, 2008

What is so special about riesling?

Someone recently asked me why riesling was my favourite white wine. Other than the fact that I like the taste (and indeed, the difference in taste between the regional varieties - the steel and flint of Eden Valley, the florals of Clare etc.) my main reason was that it is a variety which is so amazing to drink at any age. A well made riesling, moreso than chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, simply prospers in the aging stakes. It is also perhaps the best wine to have with food - there are so many dishes that this variety complements.

A young riesling is fragrant and crisp. As a riesling ages, it turns into something really special and gets more aromatic and soft on the palate. Flavours of toast and honey, kerosene (sounds horrid but is actually quite spectacular in its own way) dominate. A good riesling can be put away for 15 years without any concern as long as it is stored correctly. Riesling has always been a favourite white wine of many highly respected people in the wine industry and it's sensational aging abilities are just one of the reasons for this being so.

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