GIBSON ON GRAPES: The Great Riesling Revival

The great riesling revival may be just wishful thinking on my behalf.

Saturday, 16th July 2016, 6:06 am

But I’ll make no bones about it, I love riesling.

If I had to choose just one white grape variety to take with me to my desert island it would come down to a choice between riesling and chenin blanc.

However, lets be honest about it, riesling is a hard sell.

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There are too many memories amongst some of inferior German wine in the 1970s and 1980s, and a perception that it only makes sweeter wine.

There is no doubt that riesling is gaining slightly in popularity but it should be so much more mainstream in the UK than it is.

If nothing else, amongst the many things that riesling has going for it is that it is so food friendly.

If you haven’t begun to explore riesling’s glories as yet, before you delve into its homeland of the Mosel, the Rhine and Alsace, the place to start is in Australia and New Zealand where the wines tend to be a little more approachable, certainly in their youth.

So, here are three to try. Jim Barry is one of the great wine names of Australia, situated in the Clare Valley; they make a truly impressive range including some sensational rieslings.

Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Riesling 2015, Clare Valley (Majestic £13.99 but £11.99 if part of a mixed six. £13.50) is a perennial bargain and a great introduction to Clare Valley riesling.

There is lime cordial on the nose along with citrus blossom and just a hint of petroleum.

The palate has more juicy lime along with zesty acidity and an incredibly long, dry finish given the price.

This would age well but why wait?

It works brilliantly with fish and chips.

Staying in the Clare Valley, O’Leary Walker Polish Hill Riesling 2013, (Waitrose £12.99) is another very food friendly wine.

Again, there is lime on the nose but also grapefruit and some minerals, before a really citrus filled palate balanced by ripe acidity and a lingering finish.

This would work beautifully as an aperitif or with some simply grilled fish or with some Asian inspired scallops.

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2015, Marlborough (Waitrose £10.49, Majestic £9.99 but £7.99 if part of a mixed six) shows that New Zealand is more than just a ‘one trick sauvignon blanc pony’ when it comes to white wines.

It’s very fresh and slightly more floral than the two Australian wines, with lemon and orange peel on the nose followed by a lively, fruit filled palate and a lovely mouth feel.

It is just off dry and would make a great summer aperitif or served with a prawn salad.

The riesling revival starts here.