Celebrate Riesling’s 587th birthday on March 13th with a glass of this wonderful wine elixir in your hand.
The homeland and birthplace of the Riesling grape is Germany and this area has a deep history of winemaking that dates back to ancient Roman times. Riesling has long been considered Germany’s most celebrated grape and winegrowers in the Rheingau and the Mosel regions have the longest tradition of growing Riesling, with historical records reaching back as early as the 15th century.
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As climate and viticulture evolved over the ages, the 19th century gave way to what is now known to be the golden age for German wine. By the 1990s, Riesling was known as the ‘Queen of German wines’ and is now associated and known amongst critics and enthusiasts as a high-quality and premium wine. Riesling is currently planted in all of Germany’s 13 wine regions – particularly in its river valleys, whose heat-storing capacity is especially well suited to grow this grape variety. Thanks to German immigrants, Riesling has also made its way into other countries around the world, such as Italy, Australia, Canada, United States, and New Zealand.
To celebrate the birthday of Riesling here are the 5 things you need to know about this wine
Riesling was Born in Germany in 1435
One of the first authenticated documents which mention growing the Riesling grape in Germany is an invoice from a winery in Rüsselsheim to the Count of Katzenelnbogen for “six vines of Riesling planted in the vineyard”, dated March 13th, 1435. So it is on this day every year wine lovers celebrate the birth of the beloved grape.
Today, with about 23,600 hectares, Germany is home to the world’s largest vineyard area dedicated to Riesling and grows about 40% of the world’s Riesling grapes. The grape variety is predestined for northerly regions, and depending on the type of soil and microclimate, it yields grapes that produce wines with extremely diverse and complex nuances.
Riesling Grapes Create the Perfect Wine Elixir
In many parts of Germany, Riesling vines grow on extremely steep hillsides where no machine is able to get to. When ripened to perfection, they are handpicked – a job that is nowhere near easy – and very challenging. The final liquid delivers an elixir that is the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness. A typical Riesling is reminiscent of peach, citrus and/or apple on the nose and has pronounced acidity – making many balanced on the palate and the ideal companion with many food pairings.
Riesling Juice is Versatile, Complex and Elegant
Riesling comes in a wide spectrum of profiles from bone dry to lusciously sweet and everything in between. With a cooler climate to grow in, the wines have delicate aromas and develop a great backbone of acidity for structure. Riesling wines are a great addition to your wine rack, wine cellar and can also age for a very, very long time. German Rieslings are wines with great class, elegance and offer depth and complexity as they age. In fact, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on these bottles for them to age gracefully and appreciate their change in taste and profile.
Riesling is an Ideal Food Companion
Not only is Riesling great to drink on its own it is also extremely versatile and refreshing. From a pairing perspective, it can be served with almost anything for a real palate pleasing experience. Although many people think Riesling is sweet (a common misconception) many of the bottles you will buy from Germany and around the world will be dry. Pair these wines with all sorts of foods including cheeses, fruits, curry, sushi, pad thai, roasted chicken and more! These wines are also the perfect bottle to always have chilled, or bring to a dinner party as they always are a fantastic aperitif.
Riesling Always Expresses a True Sense of Terroir.
The French term for a “sense of place” is “terroir” and German Rieslings have a fantastic way of really showcasing where they are from in their taste and aromas. From interesting mineral and lime notes from limestone soils, to wet stone and citrus profiles from labour-intensive stone terraced vineyards, Riesling aromas have a way of showing off where are from. German Rieslings also have a distinct profile from various regions, soil types and micro-climates. Many German Riesling vines also grow in black or blue slate, which if you search hard enough (or train long enough) you’ll find you’ll be able to pull out in their taste and aromas. If you are looking for a great tasting experience, try comparing Riesling from all over the world in a tasting, it will blow your mind!
On March 13th, around the globe, Wines of Germany is encouraging Riesling fans to celebrate the versatility and unique characteristics of this beloved variety with a German Riesling toast! Share your photos, tasting notes, and favourite German Riesling memories with the hashtag #RieslingBirthday on social media and join in on the fun!