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What food to pair with Auslese Riesling? – Ask Decanter

Sommelier Melanie Wagner has some ideas for this tricky match...

What to pair with Auslese Riesling?

Danny Lloyd, London, asks: I love German Riesling, but never understand how to drink Mosel Auslese. It’s too light for dessert and too sweet/acidic/lightweight for anything savoury. Do you have any suggestions?

Melanie Wagner, sommelier, replies: There are many possibilities: sweet Mosel Auslese goes with aged hard cheeses, such as very mature Comté or Gruyère, that have a certain minerality in the form of salt crystals, as well as with several goat’s cheeses.

But I also like the combination of Mosel Auslese with desserts.

It really depends on the degree of residual sugar in the Auslese, because the dessert shouldn’t be sweeter than the wine.

I would suggest a pairing with green apples, citrus fruits or strawberries – say a tart, perhaps with a rose-flavoured emulsion – or with marinated pineapple and coconut.

In general think of ‘green’ fruits or components with high acidity and herbal aromas or floral notes.

The vintage character, the vineyard and the style of each winemaker are very important in choosing which Auslese to pair with food, because the aroma of each wine will vary, as will the residual sugar.

I can’t give a generalisation; it really depends on the individual wine, so ask your merchant.

For main dishes, Asian cuisine is a excellent partner for intensely spicy wines, but for this I’d prefer a well-aged Auslese, which gives not the fresh fruit notes of the Riesling but the complex herbal and typical petrol aromas that have the effect on the palate of reducing the simple taste of sugar.

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