Types of Wine: Riesling

Riesling’s crisp, palate-refreshing acidity helps explain its well-earned reputation. Find out what to pair with one of the world’s great food wines.

Recipes to Pair with Riesling

Riesling is frequently bright with acidity and, depending on where it’s grown, on the low-alcohol side, with flavors of apple and citrus.

Try Riesling with spicy foods, poultry, pork, and fish–and there’s nothing better with Thai food:

Styles of Riesling

Despite being so food-friendly, Riesling is often overlooked when we’re deciding on a dinner wine. Why all this neglect?

Some of it could be the baffling wine labels on German Rieslings: So many looong German words, so little sense to make of them. Or it could be that sometimes Rieslings are somewhat sweet, though they can also be quite dry (“dry” simply means “not sweet”)–Rieslings really run the full gamut.

But don’t be turned off by a little sweetness. It’s a trademark of Riesling that even the sweet versions will offer enough palate-refreshing acidity to keep things balanced, so they’re still crisp rather than cloying. If you’re not sure if it’s dry or sweet, just ask the wine merchant.

Tasting tip: Try slightly sweet, lower-alcohol styles with spicy foods!

Where Riesling Calls Home

  • Germany: German Rieslings run the full range from dry to super sweet dessert wines. They have very good acidity and are low in alcohol, making them the perfect pairing with spicy foods.
  • Alsace, France: Alsatian Rieslings tend toward the dry (meaning “not sweet”) and full-bodied, usually with more alcohol than German styles.
  • Australia: Aussie Rieslings combine bracing acidity with citrus (often lime) flavors and more alcohol than German styles. They can be dry and steely.
  • Washington state: Washington Rieslings are known for having a toe in both worlds, bringing together the best of Australian and German styles; they offer a touch of sweetness balanced with refreshing acidity and a measure of alcohol typically greater than German styles.

Riesling Aromas: Riesling is known for aromas of green apple, lime, peach, grapefruit, honeysuckle, mineral, slate, floral, diesel fuel, and toast.