Seven years ago, I didn’t really know anything about Riesling. Seriously. Most of the Rieslings I had tasted at that point were purchased in supermarkets. Which meant that they were all from California or Washington, and that almost without exception, they sucked.
I had yet to begin exploring the wines of Germany and Austria (I would shudder at the thought of decoding those inscrutable five-syllable names) and when it came to the wines of Alsace, I tended to pass over Riesling in favor of Gewurztraminer and Pinot Blanc. I had probably tasted one or two Rieslings from the Clare Valley in Australia, but as far as I was concerned, the entire grape variety was uncharted territory.
At a certain point, however, I got serious about filling in the major gaps in my wine knowledge and experience, and dove headfirst into Riesling, tasting hundreds of German and Austrian wines per year. I’ve kept that up ever since, and have come to love Rieslings, especially old ones, for their gorgeous, stony zest and brightness that is unique in the world of wine. I tend to prefer drier Rieslings — up to about the level of Spatlese — which makes some of my Riesling fanatic friends snigger over their Auslese, but despite my aversion for the super sweet, I pretty much think that German and Austrian Riesling kicks ass.
This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday event, the 45th in our series, is hosted by my friend Tim Elliot who runs Winecast.Net. He’s selected Old World Riesling as the the theme for the tasting. This means Riesling from Germany, Austria, and France, primarily, although if you can find some from Northern Italy or elsewhere in Eastern Europe, more power to ya.
If you’re not familiar with Wine Blogging Wednesday, it’s the Blogosphere’s virtual wine tasting event, where bloggers all over the world taste wine based on a theme, and then post their reviews on a designated Wednesday. For WBW#45, bloggers all over the world will be drinking and reviewing Old World Riesling on May 7th. Even if you don’t have a blog, you can participate by posting your review at www.winebloggingwednesday.org.
See you on May 7th, and may the Trockenberenauslese be with you.