Is Riesling the most misunderstood white wine? Yes, Riesling is a delicious sweet wine but it is also a fantastic dry wine. That is the beauty of Riesling - it can manifest itself as a dry wine with minerality, as a decadently sweet dessert wine, and everything in between. There really is a Riesling to suit every palate. Incredibly food friendly, Riesling pairs up prettily with simple foods and can also handle the heat of spicy cuisine.
I was recently reminded of the incredible sophistication and versatility of Riesling at a luncheon featuring the wines of S.A. Prüm. Located in Germany's famed Mosel region, S.A. Prüm is a family owned estate that was founded in 1911 but the family's history in the region dates back to 1156! Today, the chief winemaker and owner of the estate is Raimund Prüm - grandson of the founder Sebastian Alois Prüm. Raimund is truly a walking Riesling encyclopedia and his enthusiasm for the wine inspired me to reconsider Riesling. I really couldn't remember the last time I ordered a glass of Riesling but the S.A.Prüm wines artfully demonstrated how delightful these wines can be and I won't ignore them again! Here are three S.A. Prüm wines that eloquently express Riesling's many personalities.
S.A. Prüm Luminance 2013 ($14.99)
Named after the reflection of the sun onto the steep vineyards along the Mosel River, Luminance looks like sunshine in your wine glass and is a delicious introduction to dry Riesling. Citrus and tropical flavors are anchored by a sturdy minerality that make this wine a great match with everything from simple salads to spicy Asian cuisine.
S.A. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett 2012 ($26.99)
This Kabinett level Riesling brings us into slightly sweeter territory but not overly so - it is in the range of medium-sweet. Fruity and juicy with pretty flavors of honey, peach, and lemon; suggested pairings include salad and seafood. I sampled this alongside a Maine Lobster Salad with a bit of preserved plum and it was a fantastic match.
No, that isn't a typo - this wine really does cost $187. And I should also mention that it is a half-bottle. But wait - before you think I'm crazy, I wanted to show you the range of Riesling from everyday sipping wine to something truly special like this estate-bottled single-vineyard Riesling produced from 60 to 70 year-old vines. These grapes were harvested during deep frost, pressed while still frozen, and have a naturally high concentration of sugar. This wine is very sweet and its flavors of pineapple, mango, and citrus should be savored slowly. Sure, you could pair this luxurious Riesling Eiswein with dessert but it really isn't necessary - it should have the spotlight all to itself.