Riesling is well known and much loved in the wine trade. Anyone with a learned interest in wine will either tell you of their undying love for the grape and how misunderstood it is, or that they don’t quite appreciate it yet, but fully accept its place on the podium amongst the finest and most fascinating grape varieties in the world.
During the first half of the last century, German Rieslings were held in equal measure to the praised Clarets and Ports in any serious wine cellar. Not only are the best examples complex and intricate, they are capable of ageing for very long periods, and it is quite easy to buy (top flight) Rieslings from the 1970s that are still full of life and won’t be over the hill for a few years yet. In their later stages they become wonderfully honeyed and delicate and make a delicious accompaniment to a salad.
One of the reasons why Rieslings seem to get a bad rep is because they are often (but by no means always) off-dry to sweet. For some inexplicable reason, any style of white other than dry seems to be looked down upon. We seem happy with sweet cured bacon, elderflower cordial, baby plum tomatoes, but somehow a little bit of extra sweetness in our wine seems like a massive faux pas even though it is there to bring balance to the wine. A bit of sweetness in a Riesling also makes it a fantastic match to salty foods (think salted caramels, or salt-water taffy). For the sake of your own enjoyment please never let others put you off a grape that has provided me with some of my most memorable food and wine matches.