“I love Riesling. I hope you will too after reading, or at least be encouraged to pick up a bottle.”
Can you think of a moment when you experienced awe and wonder in your life? Experiencing something of such grandeur that your senses were overwhelmed, a forever memory created? Concerning wine, Riesling is awe and wonder in a glass. Many winemakers, wine drinkers, wine critics, and sommeliers have had these aforementioned moments drinking Riesling.
Riesling is a true barometer of the climate and soil the grapes are grown in. Encompassing a kaleidoscope of flavors based on the wine’s origin and the style the wine is made in. From florals, mineral, citrus fruit, stone fruit, honeycomb, savory herbs, petrol, to tropical fruit, the varietal covers a vast spectrum of flavor and fruit profiles.
A Riesling’s style depends on a few variables:
Terroir of Origin: Certain regions known for producing more TDN (Petrol)
- Earlier pick → citrus peel, lime, lemon, floral
- Later pick → kumquat, tangerine, orange, honeycomb
- Late Harvest → apricot, peach, honey, beeswax, ginger
Residual Sugar Amount: if any, the winemaker decides to leave to balance acidity
Fermentation Vessel: oak, stainless steel, concrete
Botrytis Level: Botrytis or “Noble Rot” is a fungus that intensifies flavor and sweetness required in late harvest Riesling.
Small levels desired in drier Rieslings (adds flavor concentration and complexity)
Anderson Valley’s Storied History With Riesling
Many varietals grow well in AV with exceptional varietal character showcasing the unique stamp that only Anderson Valley can impart, truly cool and coastal. Some of the earliest plantings in Anderson Valley were Riesling. Today AV has only 25 acres of Riesling across 7 producing vineyards.
Personally, I love Riesling, especially from Anderson Valley. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards was an early “aha” Riesling moment for me. The wine was so pure, so transparent, so textural, packed full of flavor, and expressive.
Our brand, Read Holland, focuses on Anderson Valley in particular and finding historical significance in the vineyards we source from. I looked for 3 years before finding an old vine Riesling vineyard in the coolest part of Anderson Valley, the Deep End.
Riesling Might Be THE Most Versatile Wine to Pair With Food
Aside from the bounty of Thanksgiving & Christmas dishes, here are a few of my favorite food pairings to enjoy with Riesling!
Whew 2020 – at it Again and I am Beat:
Have’a Corn Chips
What Grows Together Goes Together:
Piment d’ville Espelette Crispy Chickpeas
Pennyroyal Laychee Goat Cheese
From the Sea:
Tuna Poke or Scallops
Dungeness Crab (Mendocino has an annual crab festival if you didn’t know!)
From the Land:
Harrissa Roasted Chicken
Fried Chicken (recipe from Mendocino local Chef Christina)
Stamp the Passport:
Thai (red/green curry)
Deviled Eggs (Chef Janelle at The Bewildered Pig has THE best on the planet)