Synonyms: Riesling, Johannisberger Riesling, Rhine Riesling, White Riesling, Riesling Renano (Italy)

Wine Name: Riesling

Background: Riesling wines are somewhat similar to Chenin Blanc wines in that they are highly acidic which can make them last a long time in the bottle. Also the French Alsace and German producers have discovered how to temper the acidity of the grape with residual sugar fruitiness that results in a wine that can still taste dry but have a sweetness that is not a dessert style taste.

Cool weather Rieslings (German Mosel-Saar-Ruwar or Ahr regions, Austria) are lighter and more acidic. Warmer weather Rieslings (Alsace, USA, Australia, Chile, South Africa) are heavier in body and less acidic. Late harvest Rieslings are sweeter and fuller-bodied.

Classic Brands and Sources:
FE Trimbach, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Joh Jos Prum, Weingut Keller, Loosen Bros, Egon Müller, Chateau Ste Michelle, Pacific Rim, Best’s Great Western,


Style #1 – cool weather, dry, Old World

Body – light

Acidity – high

Sweetness – dry

Tannins – low

Style #2 – warm weather,dry, New World

Body – medium

Acidity – medium (+)

Sweetness – dry, fruity

Tannins – low

Style #3 – off dry

Body – medium

Acidity – perceived as medium

Sweetness – slightly sweet

Tannins – low

Style #4 – late harvest

Body – full

Acidity – perceived as low

Sweetness – sweet

Tannins – low



Wine and food pairing guidelines:
Dry Riesling pairs with acidic dishes while off-dry Riesling pairs better with savory, sweet and sour dishes, and lightly to moderately spiced (hot) dishes; Late Harvest Rieslings are primarily dessert wines that do well on their own or with sweet desserts.

Foods and Entrees that usually pair:
dry – light seafood poached, sautéed or grilled with acidic sauces, poached salmon, chicken, salads with vinaigrette, smoked and cured meats. Asian food not heavily spiced
off dry – pork, chicken or duck with fruity sauce, ham, fruit salads, fruits, cold cuts, spicy cuisines such as Cajun, Creole, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Curries with coconut, Indian , Tex-Mex, foie gras
sweet – desserts, caramel, pâté, blue cheese and other salty cheeses, fruits with added sugar, bread pudding

Cheese Pairings:
dry – Brie with rind, Brin D’Amour, Camembert with rind, Emmental, Feta, Garroxta, most goat cheeses, Muenster, Raclette, Reblochon, Saint-Nectaire, Swiss, Vacherin
off dry – Brick, Colby, Double Glouster, Edam, Fontina, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Langres, Vermont Shepard
sweet – any rich cheese, blue cheeses, “cheese cake”

See also Appetizers for dry and off-dry Riesling