Of all the grapes, Riesling is the one that seems to me the brightest. Produces wines with sharp acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Loire Chenin Blanc.
In a very dry Riesling, this can be felt almost laser-like, shimmering and direct.
The vibrant lime flavor that characterizes this Riesling is complemented by fresh lime juice, sunken lime zest, lime leaves, crystallized lime or lime marmalade, lime sherbet or sherbet, and sometimes some of these. Adds a slight floral scent that is released when a knife is passed over the top. You can have wines that can get you through the sweltering heat of summer and bring light to dark nights in winter.
modern and dry
I know Riesling failed to recover fashion after the Liebfraumilch tsunami of the 1970s, but this only adds value to the battered budget. And the wine selection is nothing like it used to be.
In Australia, Chile and South Africa, you can find very contemporary flavors of Riesling. Drinking it produces a cold, linear hiss that reminds me of an icicle. These wines are often dry, or quite dry if not dry. Because Riesling is so acidic, it can easily mask sugar, like a Caipirinha cocktail, even if it’s not completely dry.
Finest Tingle Up Riesling 2021, Great Southern, Australia (13%, Tesco, £10) is perfectly dry, with flavors of fresh clementine, lemon, kumquat and lime, making the first glass of the evening beautiful. Refreshing. Made by the esteemed Howard Park Winery in the southwest corner of Australia, this wine is his one of Tesco’s most underrated wines.
Cono Sur Reserva Especial Riesling 2020, Bio Bío, Chile (13.5%, Tesco, £10) is similar, more challenging than Tingleup, with wildflower honey, jasmine, galangal and rye seed flavors mixed into lime. I’m here.
The Tim Adams Clare Valley Riesling 2021, Australia (12% Tesco, £10) is also juicy and fresh. I usually follow these wines with dishes with ingredients like lemongrass, chili, lime, ginger, Thai fish sauce, and soy sauce.
great food match
If you’re drinking the wine with food rather than simply serving it as an aperitif, and if the food is spicy, look for wines with a sweetness that will help you tolerate the chilies. The spicier the dish, the more the wine should be sweetened.
Chili and Garlic Noodles or Thai Chili Basil Chicken, Lemongrass, Nampula, Chili and Lime Juice Marinated Chicken along with a medium Riesling where sweet and sour blends with the aroma and heat of the dish. Try the spicy Riesling, for example, made at South Africa’s Paul Klüver Estate, whose vineyards lie in the cooler Elgin Valley, surrounded by fynbos.
Paul Kluwer Estate Riesling Elgin 2021, South Africa (12%, The Wine Society, £13.50) has nectarine juiciness with sweet lime and braised apple flavors. It goes great with roast pork or spiced pork kebabs.
But the food also brings me back to Germany for the wine. Try the Grace Rate in Wine of the Week (below). Or you can have a dry Shhh with a thick buckwheat dish garnished with not-too-hot sesame and lime…that’s Riesling 2021, Mosel, Germany (11.5%, co-op, £6.25).1 The perfect combination of food and drink for a cold moon day.