One of the world's great white wine grapes, considered on a par with chardonnay, riesling is a grape of German origin that remains identified most of all with the wines of Germany (where it is the most cultivated variety) and its neighbors Austria and the Alsatian region of France. Primarily a cool-climate grape, it has also done remarkably well in Australia's Clare Valley, parts of New Zealand, Canada, Alpine Italy, the Czech Republic, Washington State, and the Finger Lakes region of New York State. There are also some very nice examples from Luxembourg and Croatia. In Germany, riesling is the main grape used to produce that country's unique and extraordinary dessert wines, affected by the beneficial "noble rot," labeled beerenauslese and trockenbeerenauslese — literally "selection of berries" and "selection of dried berries," respectively. The character of riesling-based wines varies according to the soil and climate of the vineyards and the winemaking style, but it is typically highly aromatic and intensely fruity, with mineral notes. It ages well, often developing an aroma reminiscent of gasoline (wine-tasters like to call it "petrol").

Serve With

Clams and oysters, lobster, vegetable dishes, light pastas, or veal (for dry riesling); a wide range of Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Indonesian dishes (for semi-dry riesling).