In the autumn, when we’re beginning to feel a slight chill in the air, that’s when I return to Riesling. Not that it doesn’t serve as a perfectly good spring and summer wine – or, all-year-round wine, for that matter – it’s just that Riesling seems to work so well with fall flavors and dishes like grilled brats, choucroute garni, schnitzel, späetzle
and the like.
Indeed, Riesling is so versatile and food-friendly that, when I once asked the French sommelier at the renown 3-star Michelin Paris restaurant Taillevent what his favorite everyday wine was, he said “Riesling from Germany.” Sacré bleu!
Let’s dispense of the biggest Riesling myth: that they are sweet wines. Wines made from the Riesling grape can be sweet, but most aren’t. Many are bone-dry (trocken
) or “half-dry” (halbtrocken
): when you see either of those words on a German Riesling label, you know you’re in dry white wine territory. At the other end of the spectrum are indeed sweeter renditions of Riesling like eiswein
, but these are in the minority in terms of overall production of Riesling in Germany.
Selling at a mere $9.99, St. Urbans-Hof Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling
from the Mosel is a good place to start. It’s rich and concentrated, with pretty peach flavors and racy, citrusy acidity. A third generation German winemaker, Nik Weis produces economical Rieslings that are some of the best bargains around. I really like this one when I’m enjoying rahm schnitzel.