Guide to Riesling: Sommeliers Share Their Picks
For a long time Riesling has been waylaid into a zone of misunderstood wines, but as more sommeliers are embracing it on their menus and educating their guests, this refreshing white has started to make waves. “The number one misconception about Riesling is that it’s always sweet,” says Joe Quinn, the wine director at Proof in Washington DC. In fact, he says, the majority of Riesling around the world has no sugar left after fermentation, it’s only a handful that retain a fruity quality that makes them more saccharine on the palate.
The major Riesling growing regions include Germany, Alsace in France, Austria and the New York’s Finger Lakes area. The characteristics of this glorious white grape include green apple, petrol, a rounded sweetness and many maintain a bright acidity, which makes it a perfect companion for pairing with rich and/or spicy foods. However, the most brilliant thing about Riesling, says Quinn, is its ability to showcase the terroir of its origins. “It’s one of the grapes that we refer to as being transparent,” he says. “It reflects, in a vivid way, the place it’s grown.” With that, Quinn, along with two other sommeliers, shares his favorite Rieslings and how they pair with their restaurant’s menu.