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The Rieslings: Adaptable “must have” wines

Posted on: February 5th, 2013 by Tom Peiffer No Comments

Long a favorite banquet wine in Germany, Rieslings can be the most versatile of “wein”.  And to make them even more flexible, Rieslings are created with a wide range of sweetness based on their natural sugar content.  From dry (Trocken), to somewhat sweet (Kabinett), and often more sweet (Spätlese).  There is a Riesling to pair with just about anything that graces your table.

However, because the winemaker can control a wine’s sweetness both by when they pick the grapes and by how long they run the fermentation, getting the level of sweetness you want is not always reflected on the label.  It is recommended that you taste before buying and always check the food pairing before making an investment, but once you find one you like, stock up.  Favorites have a tendency to vanish from the shelves.

But Rieslings also are an acidic wine.  And because of their acid/sugar balance, many Rieslings produce the “Margarita Effect” making them pair well with just about any food that you normally enjoy with Margaritas.  So keep that in mind with Rieslings, they work like a Margarita, going along with what would taste good with a drink that has a balanced sweet and sour body.

Imported Rieslings are not always easy to get and can be a little pricy.  But there are always deals to be had.  You can find good slections of these at Phoenix area AJs for under $22 (they can order more if necessary).  Among the favorites are from the “Niche Selections”, produced by Stefan Ress, and represent fine examples of Trocken and Kabinett Rieslings.

With a bouquet of citrus fruit with an earthy mineral background followed by a racy flavor of acidity, featuring a trace (or more) of sweet (dry, off-dry, and beyond), they are the perfect pair with lighter meats with mild sauces.  Try them with cheese Raclette, it’s a match even the Swiss will support!

It is also fun compare a Kabinett and Trocken side-by-side to appreciate the differences that harvest and fermentation can produce.

Serve well chilled after an hour in the fridge (45-50 degrees) and even taste along with some hot Tamales!  The sweet component does interesting things on the palate with the heat of the chilis.

Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com

View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.

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About the Author - Tom Peiffer

Tom has been an avid wine consumer and collector for over 20 years. This pastime has taken he and his family on many visits to wine growing regions, including Arizona. During these excursions, with the accompanying tastings and lectures, it became clear that there is no "magic bullet" wine. For each wine contains its own character, strong points, and weaknesses. Sharing these experiences to help anyone purchase locally available wines is his goal.

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