Most people think of Riesling as a sticky, sweet wine. In some cases it is. In most cases, it is the exact opposite. Riesling is a cool climate grape that buds and ripens late in the season. It needs lots of sunshine to ripen. With flavors of white peach, apricot and honeysuckle, this high-acid grape shows great versatility in the glass. From spicy Korean food to salmon, Riesling can go with a variety of food.
After two world wars and Prohibition, German wine production was focused not on quality but quantity up until the 1970s. Brands like Blue Nun cemented the idea of sweet German wine in many people. But Riesling is also grown in other places in Germany and around the world.
Typically, Riesling from the Mosel region in Germany tends to be on the sweeter side and lower in alcohol. If you move west to Pfalz in Germany and, by extension, Alsace in France, Riesling becomes fuller bodied, higher in alcohol and is typically dry.
My 2 picks for dry German Riesling
2017 Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Bone Dry, Pfalz, Germany
Founded in 1849, Reichsrat von Buhl is located in Deidesheim, Germany. Focusing on dry styles across the board, this bottle shows ripe pear, apricot and honeysuckle with an underlying mineral component and bright acidity that will have you wanting more and more. You should be able to pick it up for about $24.
2014 Von Kesselstatt Riesling Graacher Trocken, Mosel
With a history that spans more than 650 years (1349-1999), Weingut Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt is one of the most traditional estates in the Mosel region. The von Kesselstatt dynasty immigrated to the electorate of Trier in the 14th century. The first documented mention of a vineyard purchase dates from 1349.
Ripe yellow delicious apples and nectarines lead to jasmine, honeysuckle and orange blossoms with underlying slate will keep your mouth watering with a very long, bright finish. Coming from the Graacher village in Mosel, this dry (trocken) style has just a touch of residual sugar to help balance out the acidity. Pick this little gem up for about $20.
Adam Arlen: “I am passionate about wine because it is history in a bottle.” He is the sommelier for The Peninsula Club in Cornelius, NC. Originally from Allentown, PA, he believes you should always branch out and find new things. His goal is to never stop learning and continuing to grow both personally and professionally. A fun fact about him: “I was a nuclear engineer on a submarine in a previous life.”