Of course, the pun is intended! Although I’m not a huge fan of the ABC reality show, Bachelor in Paradise, I love the social media chats after each episode. Is he or she “in it for the right reason”? Do these “fan favorites or controversial characters” want to find love or sign a [fill in the blank] contract? Basically, who cares? I don’t! However, I do care about wine. When I have a sip of this favorite adult beverage, more often than not, I reach nirvana. Cares just slip away, I click the “off” button, and enter into total relaxation mode… without drama.

I’m a wine lover in paradise with very few heartbreaks (or palate disappointments). Lately, though, I was in it for the right Riesling. Here’s why.

It occurred to me at some point that I haven’t tasted many Rieslings. Very few choices are on the wine list at restaurants I frequent, rarely does anyone brings a bottle of Riesling to a party, and my Millennial offspring, one of whom craved the sweet style, now love Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir. What? This wine lover had to search for some Riesling love…

This fruity, aromatic white wine is cultivated predominantly in the Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau and Pfalz areas of Germany, the Wachau in Austria, Alsace in France, the Clare and Eden Valleys in Australia, and the Finger Lakes region of New York where both dry and sweet examples are produced. Of course, I discovered delicious Rieslings that are produced in regions that you may consider surprising: Israel and California.



Vineyards in the Mosel region of Germany

One of the many alluring characteristics of Riesling is that it can be found in styles ranging from dry to sweet, thanks to its ability to ripen late and grow in a variety of climates. A lovely Riesling may exude flavors of lime, green apple, orange, jasmine, and petrol. This variety doesn’t benefit from malolactic fermentation or oak ageing and can be kept up to ten years. Curious as to food pairings? Complement a sweet Riesling with any Asian food such as spicy Thai or sushi, Southwestern fare (tacos!), or your favorite pulled pork sandwich. A bone-dry style will complement chicken piccata, halibut stew, or fresh seafood. For more detailed information about Riesling, click here.

Riesling Grapes
The following wines, sent as samples, are beautiful examples of Riesling from distinct regions. I hope you fall in love with one or more of these choices… I’m confident that you, too, are in it for the right Riesling!

Urban Riesling 2016 Nik Weis Selection ($15) is a wonderful wine (and that price!) produced by Nik Weis, best known as winemaker and third generation owner of St. Urbans-Hof, a premier estate in Germany’s Mosel Valley. His Urban Riesling (the name is an homage to St. Urban, the patron saint of winemakers) is produced under his Nik Weis Selection label that offers non-estate selections. Riesling grapes are cultivated in the Mosel’s blue slate vineyards and valley floor vineyards with gravel and river sediments. On the nose, I craved each whiff of stone fruit, pear, lychee nuts, orange rind, yellow flowers, and hint of almonds. Dry with the smallest dab of residual sugar, the palate exploded with mouthwatering acidity, refreshing flavors of juicy stone fruit, refreshing minerality, and a long, full finish.

Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling
2014 Chateau de Riquewihr Rene Dopff Alsace Riesling ($17) is a delightful dry Riesling created in honor of the founder of Maison Dopff & Irion.  From the region of Alsace in France, grapes were grown in premier vineyards from 200 selected vinegrowers. The aromas were mesmerizing…spice, white flowers, juicy citrus, stone fruit, and that distinctive minerality. Dry with vibrant acidity, the zesty palate profile was broad and complex with generous notes of stone fruit, apple, fleshy peach, ripe pear, raw almonds, and just the slightest hint of turmeric leading to a persistent, lip smacking finish.

Alsace Dopff & Irion Cuvee Rene Dopff Riesling
From the growing region of Upper Galilee in Israel is Carmel Winery Kayoumi Vineyards White Riesling 2013 ($23). Grapes of 100% Johannisburg Riesling were cultivated in the Kayoumi Vineyard planted on a southeasterly facing slope at 750 meters above sea level. The climate is, in general, cool throughout the year with northwestern winds and often snow in the winter. The soil is predominantly Terre Rosso with a fair amount of stone. Highly aromatic, the entry on the nose presented powerful notes of juicy melon, honeydew, and cantaloupe. The palate was crisp and clean with a generous amount of acidity, minerality, freshly-picked limes, petrol, and a balanced, delightful finish.

Carmel Winery Riesling
Smith-Madrone Riesling 2014 ($30) from the Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, California was absolutely stunning. This bright and lively 100% Riesling prompted several “Wows!” when I poured tastes for friends. They were thrilled and rightly so. Fresh aromas of lemon, yellow flowers, orange peel, stone fruit, and minerality burst from the glass. Clean and gracious, with each sip, notes of juicy citrus and minerality, zesty acidity and a round mouthfeel were dominant. The finish on this crisp, dry Riesling? Long and luscious.

Smith Madrone Riesling

Cheers! ~ Cindy


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