Not much more than a Century ago, many Rieslings were considered to be among the very finest wines in the world, and they also commanded the prices to go along with that level of esteem!
Many factors contributed to Riesling's,fall from those heady heights, but if I had to pick just one, I think it can be put down to the phenomenal success of “Blue Nun” in the mid-20th Century.
This simple sweetish wine was the first truly global wine brand, gained huge popularity due to its easy-drinking nature, and in-fact can claim credit for recruiting millions of non-wine-drinkers into the world of wine.
An unfortunate side-effect of this success was that a whole generation of wine consumers found it impossible to imagine Riesling offering anything other than simple sweetish wines.
Perhaps what saved this variety from terminal decline was the fact that throughout this time, Riesling remained an insider’s favourite among winemakers, wine-writers, sommeliersetc.
Thankfully, the comeback of Riesling is well and truly underway, and with excellent wine like those I have highlighted below on the market, it's no wonder!
While it’s fair to say that this Riesling revival is being spear-headed by dry wines, for my first choice I am going with a wine that is just off-dry, but no need to worry Selbach Riesling Incline (€14.99) is a fine example of quality German wine and a million miles from Liebfraumilch!
This wine comes from the Mosel Valley, which is one of Germany's top quality wine regions; and for many critics epitomises the ultimate expression of Riesling on earth.
Like all good Mosel Rieslings, this wine is all about balance between sweet ripe apple fruit and crystal clear crispness. Incredibly floral and enticing, this inexpensive wine outclasses anything else in its price-range.
Staying in Germany, Schönborn Riesling Trocken(€14.49 down from €16.49) is medium bodied, with deliciously pure green apple fruit and great minerality, this is a classic dry Riesling from the oldest estate in Germany under continuous family ownership: 27 generations spanning over 660 years. No other estate in the Rheingau possesses such a selection of fine vineyards as this highly traditional property in Hattenheim.
Across the border in France, Riesling’s home is Alsace, which is the country’s driest region, yielding wines which are richer and more intensely flavoured. It is here that bio-dynamic producer, Marc Keydenweiss makes his Andlau Riesling (€19.99). This small production, estate-grown Riesling derives from slopes that are a continuation of Grand Cru land. Dry but rich, complex and highly rewarding with tremendous underlying fruit, this is a dream of a Riesling and the perfect match for aromatic Cantonese or Thai cuisine.
For my final selection I have chosen a wine from New Zealand, Insight Dry Riesling (€14.99 down from €16.99) which is made by Eveline Fraser (Former chief winemaker at Cloudy Bay) offers the classic aromatic Riesling nose of zesty citrus fruit along with an almost-Germanic level of minerality. Undoubtedly thirst-quenching, crisp and juicy, the palate has vibrant tropical fruit and cleansing mineral tones.