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Riesling

One of the classic great white grapes, Riesling is an ancient German variety which ages with grace and has recently been redefined, largely owing to a new life in the New World.

In Germany, Riesling is made into world-famous white wines in a range of styles, from dry and flinty to very sweet and rich.

Believed by some to be the best white variety, it produces wine of relatively low alcohol levels, which does not compromise the range of aromatics and flavours.

One of the classic great white grapes, Riesling is an ancient German variety which ages with grace and has recently been redefined, largely owing to a new life in the New World.

In Germany, Riesling is made into world-famous white wines in a range of styles, from dry and flinty to very sweet and rich.

Believed by some to be the best white variety, it produces wine of relatively low alcohol... read more.

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Old World and New World

The most famous German Riesling vineyards lie along the Rhine river, where solar rays are reflected up the slate-covered hills and onto vineyards. The slate in the soil also help by storing heat, raising the temperature in an otherwise very cool area, thereby making for terrific growing conditions.

In the New World, Riesling suffered from attempts to make German-style sweet wines. Some years ago, a focus on dry yet refreshing production with floral aromatics led to a renaissance. Unfortunately for this grape and its producers, the old image of over-produced and dull has made it a rather unpopular variety amongst the general public. Therefore, until a consumer renaissance elicitis the advent of Riesling again, it will be prevalent only within the wine industry.

Key Regions

Alsace (France), Germany (Rhine and Mosel), Canada, New Zealand, and Australia (Clare Valley).

Styles and Flavours

In the New World, Riesling is commonly made dry with marvellous perfumed wines, some with blossom, citrus, apricot, lavender, lemon, peach and linden flower aromas. The palate is often clean with a fresh acidity. With age, aromas of kerosene, honey, clove and even toast develop over a more full and weighty palate.

Sweetness is common in Germany, but the labelling is sometimes complicated. While the legal labelling system is narrow, the following terms are deployed on labels.

Trocken (dry) can be added to any label to mark that the wine has been made into a dry style by fermenting all grape sugar into alcohol, which however elicits a very strongly alcoholic wine.

Kabinett (early harvest) is often of low sweetness.

Spaetlese (late harvest) often has a medium level of residual sugar.

With Auslese (select harvest), the fruit is usually riper than Spaetlese and so a sweeter wine results.

Beerenauslese (selected harvest of berries) enjoys a higher prestige than Auslese, and is picked later. The grape bunches are affected by a Botrytis fungus which removes water and increases natural sugar. The berries must be hand picked and make sweet, concentrated wine for long ageing.

The highest level and intensely sweet wines result from Trockenbeerenauslesen. The berries have been shrivelled by Botrytis and may look like raisins. The very high sugar and very low juice from the berry makes very little wine and so the wine is very expensive and rare. It is considered a dessert wine.

Eiswein (ice-wine) is also made using Riesling. The process requires a natural freezing of the grapes while still on the vine; the frozen water in the juice makes for a richly concentrated wine. As bunches are typically ready for picking in late summer, waiting for freezing weather can cause problems and loss of vintage. It is important that no Botrytis affects the grapes for clean Eiswein to be made.

Sugar added to grape must (crushed grape juice and skin) to increase sweetness or alcohol level makes Qualitatswein. This is not a technical level to identify sweetness, but rather an identification of adherence to a classification of wine making, and is a term commonly applied to wine from Piesporter.

All Riesling is vinified without oak.

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  1. Dopff & Irion Cuvée René Dopff Riesling, Alsace

    Dopff & Irion Cuvée René Dopff Riesling, Alsace, 2015 75cl

    Aromas of green apple fill the nose, with just a hint of honeyed sweetness. The palate is dry with vibrant citrus flavour followed by some tropical notes, the finish is fresh.

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    £9.48
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    £10.00
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    £7.90
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    £8.33
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  2. Bernkasteler Lay Riesling GG Grand Ley, Mosel

    Bernkasteler Lay Riesling GG Grand Ley, Mosel, 2011 75cl

    Intense aromas fill the nose with concentrated fruit and a touch of minerality detectable. This is a full bodied dry Riesling with stone fruit character supported by a touch of melon and slate-like dryness to the complex finish.

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    £30.42
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    £34.00
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    £25.35
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    £28.33
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  3. Solitär Riesling Troken, S A Prüm

    Essence Riesling Feinherb Qba, S A Prüm, Mosel, 2015 75cl

    A superb medium dry riesling from the excellent Prum winery. Punchy concentrated apple aromas meet with lemon and grapefruit to create a wine which would perfectly accompany an aromaticly spiced fish dish.

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    £10.86
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    £12.00
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    £9.05
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  4. Red Slate Dry Riesling, Dr Loosen,

    Red Slate Dry Riesling, Dr Loosen, Mosel, 2015 75cl

    Classic dry German Riesling with plenty of citrus and peach flavour on the palate followed up by generous minerality. The complexity arrives in the form of the spice and floral notes that are detectable and the depth of the finish.

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    £11.76
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    £13.00
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    £9.80
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    £10.83
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  5. Solitär Riesling Troken, S A Prüm

    Solitär Riesling Troken, S A Prüm, Mosel, 2015 75cl

    A dryer style of riesling, with peachy aromas. Stone fruit and fresh apple in the mouth balanced with mineral flavours and a hint of petrol.

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    £10.86
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    £12.00
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    £9.05
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  6. Liebfraumilch, Dr Zenzen, 2013

    Liebfraumilch, Dr Zenzen, Rhine 75cl

    Containing a proportion of Riesling, which adds delicacy and freshness to this medium-dry wine.

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    £6.54
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    £7.00
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    £5.45
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    £5.83
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  7. Niersteiner Johannes Egbert

    Niersteiner Johannes Egberts, Rhine, 2016 75cl

    Vibrant and fresh. Ripe, with full floral aromas and a dash of sweetness.

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    £7.20
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    £7.85
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    £6.00
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    £6.54
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  8. Piesporter Michelsberg, Franz Reh & Sohn

    Piesporter Michelsberg, Franz Reh & Sohn, Mosel, 2015 75cl

    From the Mosel valley in Germany, delicate floral aromas and generous fruit give this medium style wine a fresh and harmonious character.

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    £7.20
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    £7.60
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    £6.00
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    £6.33
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  9. Bernkastel Lay Riesling Kabinett, S A Prüm

    Bernkastel Lay Riesling Kabinett, S A Prüm, Mosel, 2010 75cl

    A lovely example of a Mosel riesling, well balanced fruit and mineral flavours in the mouth and a refined finish.

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    £19.26
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    £22.00
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    £16.05
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    £18.33
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  10. Moselland Riesling Kabinett, 2014

    Moselland Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, 2015 75cl

    A charmingly floral, medium-style wine from the glorious Mosel valley in the heart of this famous wine-producing country.

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    £8.22
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    £8.90
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    £6.85
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    £7.42
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  11. Kreuznacher Kronenberg Riesling Kabinett, Feinherb

    Kreuznacher Kronenberg Riesling Kabinett, Feinherb, Nahe, 2014 75cl

    Delicate, floral and perfumed wine presented in a distinctive blue bottle.

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    £7.92
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    £9.00
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    £6.60
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    £7.50
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  12. Sebastian A Riesling Kabinett, S A Prüm

    Sebastian A Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, S A Prüm, 2014 75cl

    An earthy aroma with apple flavours coming through. A weighty depth of flavour makes this a versatile companion to many food types.

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    £14.82
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    £16.94
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    £12.35
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    £14.12
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