as much because of its tarnished reputation due to Liebfraumilch and the array
of wanna-be Rieslings which have arrogated the good name of Rhine Riesling
(Olasz, Welsch, Laski, Riesling Italico) as for the steely acidity which
generally makes for more demanding wines than those produced from Sauvignon or
Chardonnay. The late-ripening Riesling's heartland is the steep Mosel and
Rheingau valleys of Germany, where it produces wines rich in crisp, lime and
appley flavours and honeyed richness. Its classification from dry to sweet gives
it an entirely different cultural slant from its French counterparts, with the
perfumed, sweet styles ranging from auslese to trockenbeerenauslese in great
demand. Fine, dry Riesling is not only increasingly fashionable in Germany, but
in Alsace and Austria too, where, in the Wachau in particular, some of the
world's greatest dry Rieslings are produced. As a cool climate variety par
excellence, Riesling has not adapted as well as the other to classics to the New
World, but there are a handful of regions where it has been shown to do well,
most notably the Eden and Clare Valleys in South Australia, Mount Barker in
Western Australia, New Zealand's South Island, Washington State, and cooler
spots in California and the Cape's Constantia.
What does it taste like?
- apples and lime
- honey and petrol characters
In its Teutonic heartland of the Mosel and Rheingau Valleys, RIESLING produces elegant wines with crisp, lime, lemon, apple and peach flavours and honeyed richness. In the Mosel it is said to become slatey, which is easier to describe as minerally, developing honey, petrol and kerosene-like flavours. In Alsace it can be more floral and perfumed, while Australian RIESLING, particularly from the Eden and Clare Valleys, starts out lime and lemon-like and develops a minerally, keroseney character with age.
The finest grapes are produced at high altitude (500m above sea level), on the plateau of the picturesque Omala valley, where the soil is predominantly limestone. Robola produces full-flavoured, crisp whites whose alcohol ranges from 13% to 14% abv
This grape is a crowd pleaser and, as such, is widely planted all over Greece, forming the backbone of the Patras appellation in the northwestern Peloponnese. Two emerging sub-regions have staked their claim as the best sites for Roditis: one lies on the slopes of Panachaiko Mountain, the other is in Egialia, overlooking the Gulf of Corinth. Roditis is also grown in Attica and in Beotia, while the Macedonian hillsides, northeast of Thessaloniki, are making a reputation as a new venue for the vines. The northwest version is spicier than the southern, and is making a convincing case for a tightly structured 'northern style', in contrast to the more generous wines produced in the warmer climate of the Peloponnese