Taste scale for Riesling on the cards

Riesling, International Riesling Foundation News Wine News
  • Monday 28 July 2008

Every bottle of Riesling should carry a taste scale so consumers can see exactly what style of wine they are getting, the International Riesling Foundation has proposed.

In its first major initiative, the newly formed New York State-based foundation has created guidelines to help consumers predict the taste of any Riesling.

The foundation disclosed its so-called Riesling taste scale as the second annual Riesling Rendezvous, sponsored by Chateau Ste Michelle and the German producer Dr Loosen, began yesterday at the Washington producer's headquarters near Seattle.

The foundation has proposed descriptors it hopes to see on every bottle: dry, off-dry, medium dry, medium sweet and sweet, perhaps to be accompanied by a graphic.

Although Riesling is the fastest-growing white wine in America, the absence of

dependable common label information about gradations of dryness and sweetness makes most purchases a gamble, Riesling experts agree.

'Market research has shown that many consumers think of Riesling only as "a sweet white wine" despite the wide range of tastes it can represent,' the foundation said.

To help winemakers choose the most suitable characterisations, it created a chart of technical parameters involving the interplay of sugar, acid, and pH, which determines taste. Producers' use of the system would be voluntary.

The foundation, created last November, has an international board consisting of more than 30 top Riesling producers. Its president is James Trezise, president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, a trade association.

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