Riesling's fresh and aromatic character makes it the perfect addition to any picnic, BBQ or al fresco dinner this summer. Here's five German dry Riesling 2014 wines from Decanter's recent panel tasting...

Long gone are the days when German Riesling wine was all about bulk sweet hock on shop shelves: dry is now the trend for many.

Dry Riesling and ‘Sauvignon Blanc fatigue’

‘The consumer wants dry wines, and has done for several decades – and German dry Rieslings are some of the greatest, most compelling and exciting white wines on the planet,’ said David Motion, one of the Decanter experts in this panel tasting.

Giles MacDonogh, also on the panel, added, ‘It will be sad to lose the sweeter style, the proper spätlesen or kabinetts, but clearly the impetus in German wine is not for sweet wines now. In fact, the Germans stopped drinking them long ago, finding the sweeter wines unsophisticated.’

Matt Walls, the panel’s third member, believes Riesling could profit from ‘Sauvignon Blanc fatigue’, an issue recently covered on Decanter.com.

He said, ‘I think aromatic and refreshing dry Rieslings would be a very natural place for people to move on to.’

German dry Riesling 2014 vintage: The Decanter verdict

Despite the fact that the 2014 harvest was affected by constant rain in late august, our panel was pleasantly surprised by the end result.

‘There was enough heat in the spring and early summer to ensure the grapes were ripe at the time the weather broke,’ said MacDonogh. ‘So in certain regions, they were able to make really good wines if they made rigorous selections.’

With 85% of the entries in this tasting achieving a Recommended rating or better, many producers clearly dealt admirably with the climatic conditions. The best examples had ‘tension and excitement with a transparent expression of their terroir’, said Motion.

All concluded the dry German Rieslings are largely versatile and can stand many types of food. Walls suggested not only asian food but white meat, and Motion even added red meat to the list.

Edited by Laura Seal for Decanter.com

Decanter panel top picks:

Based on score and current availability.