Monday, May 29, 2006

The Age of Riesling

I just read an article by a wine writer in Michigan with whom I am in complete agreement when it comes to rieslings. While many people justifiably love German rieslings, I adore Alsatian rieslings and believe a lot more people would become riesling drinkers if they started with the stuff from Alsace.

I know rieslings, German and otherwise, are beginning to take off here in the U.S. According to recent reports, riesling is the second-fastest growing white varietal in America. To be sure, riesling has already its share of obsessed supporters. But this growth has been a long time in coming.

For myself, I've always regarded German rieslings as something to have with Indian food or Thai. I know I've probably sold it short, but I prefer drier wines with my dinner -- most American do as well. In my three years in a wine store, I probably sold a dozen or so bottles of German riesling -- a fraction of the number of bottles I sold of other white varietals.

But Alsatian rieslings have a lushness and complexity that continue to astound me, in a style that I prefer. They're not really sweet, but often not entirely dry either --perfect with food. They also usually have an incredible bouquet. Unfortunately, too few people think to try an Alsatian wine with dinner. If they did, I'm convinced riesling would be a favorite of so many more people.

I get to thinking more about riesling, and pinot gris too, this time of year because it goes so well with a number of summer dishes we enjoy, such as chicken and bean sprout salad, chicken kabobs with a honey dijon glaze and asparagas quesadillas. It's so incredibly versatile when it comes to pairing with food. And, it ages so well.

Randall Graham likes to say the "heart has its rieslings." That anyone so accomplished could be driven to such bad puns is a testament to the power of riesling to drive one to distraction.


Anonymous Austenesque said...

Hey John,

That's funny - the time I asked you about a wine to pair with the dinner I was making - this is the riesling we had! Our first taste of what Alsatian wines are all about. Now I've had the Gewurzt too, and I'm hooked!


7:23 PM  
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