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For riesling fans, this is again the "Summer of Riesling", a month-long festival celebrating one of the world's great grape varieties. I take this as a charge to evangelize about riesling, to educate wine drinkers that it isn't always sweet, as well as to recommend examples that riesling newbies might like. I'm far from an authority though, my own exploration of riesling has been somewhat late in starting.
Most of us have a riesling horror story or two, I'm no different. There are terrible examples of sweet, syrupy, low-quality riesling you can buy from grocery stores, those do a disservice to the grape though. Such wines are how I thought riesling always was, until I tried some "real" examples from Germany several years ago.
I'm lucky to have some riesling-geek friends here in Oregon, most notably Dan and Chas of Wine Is Serious Business, who've introduced me to great wines and great riesling evangelists around Portland.
Last week, during the weekly Twitter chat #winechat, a large group of riesling lovers got together to talk about the Summer of Riesling and of course, about the wines. I was fortunate to get some samples sent, of riesling from Alsace in France, Rheingau in Germany, and Wagram, Austria. I present them from dry to sweet.
These three rieslings were excellent, and worth every penny. While $54 or even $25 is a lot to spend on a bottle of wine you may be unfamiliar with, that $18 Fritsch bottle is well worth a little splurge. One sip and any notions you have of a sweet, syrupy concoction will be obliterated in a rush of fresh, clean fruit flavors and vibrant acidity. I'd recommend it (or any Austrian riesling) to people just starting to explore the grape, but who do love crisp, aromatic white wines already.
For more information on the recent #winechat with the Summer of Riesling, here's a good blog from the Austrian Wine USA's Constance Chamberlain. You can tweet with Summer of Riesling @SummerRiesling, or for more detailed information about specific regions, tweet at @AustrianWineUSA or @drinkAlsace.
The wines in this article were kindly provided as media samples.
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