riesling two glasses wine cheese

Wine 101

Riesling Wine Description and Food Pairings

March 08, 2022

Written By Coravin

March 13th marks an important day on the wine calendar: Riesling’s birthday! On this day way back in 1435, a cellar log of Count Katzenelnbogen in the Rheingau region of Germany includes the first documented evidence of the Riesling grape.

The grape was – and is – an aromatic white variety that can produce wines ranging in styles. For example, some of the German Rieslings you might be familiar with are on the sweeter side while many Australian Rieslings tend to be dry. 

Riesling wine description

Many wine drinkers have the same reaction whenever you offer up a glass of Riesling, “Oh, no thanks. I don’t like sweet wine.” Much like rosé, Riesling has gotten a bad rap over the years because of an overindulgence in the super sweet German Riesling in the 1970’s and 80’s. But, not all Riesling is sweet. 

Rieslings from Germany – specifically the Rheingau, Pflaz, and Mosel regions – are noted for their off-dry style. They have high acidity, intense aromatics, and minerality. In German Rieslings you’ll taste apricot, meyer lemon, beeswax, and undertones of petroleum which develops during the fermentation and aging process. 

Rieslings from the Alsace region of France have slightly different tasting notes than the wines coming from neighboring Germany. Instead of apricot, lemon, and petrol, you’ll pick up on green apple, lime, and smoke. Then, moving over to Australia, Rieslings from the southern region have unmistakable diesel-like aromas with citrus flavors (lime peel, green apple) and tropical fruit notes (green papaya).

How to serve Riesling wine

Riesling is a white wine that’s best served chilled to 45-55°F (7-12°C). If you don’t have access to a temperature-controlled wine fridge, place your bottle on the door of your refrigerator and take it out a few minutes before serving. 

As for wine accessories, this tasty white is best served in a white wine glass and doesn’t require decanting or aeration. If you’re serving it over the course of an evening or dinner, consider keeping the bottle cool using a wine cooler.

Riesling wines from the Coravin Wine Shop

2019 Domaine Mann Vignoble Des 3 Terres Alsace Riesling ‘Happy Lemon’ | Alsace, France

Domaine Mann makes this dry Riesling from three individual vineyards. Rich in texture, they call it ‘Happy Lemon’ after it’s flavor profile-citrusy and tart. A great food wine with a rich body, cleansing acidity, and pure lemon flavors. This is lovely with shellfish-think scallop crudo and oysters. 

 2019 Dandelion Vineyards Riesling ‘Enchanted Garden of the Eden Valley’

Coming from a seven acre vineyard nicknamed ‘Enchanted Garden’ because of the high quality of fruit, this vegan-friendly dry Riesling sings with salads. Low in alcohol at 11% but still completely dry, this is a great pairing for a notoriously difficult category of vinaigrettes. The all-female winemaking team has put together an elegant wine full of ripe apricot and apple fruit flavors that dances across your palate. 

2019 Von Hövel Riesling Kabinett | Saar, Germany

The only Riesling in our store with any residual sugar, the Von Hovel Riesling balances that light sweetness out with the characteristic high acid of the Saar valley. Classic German Riesling, this wine is all pears, apples, apricots, and peach with a light body. A great aperitif.

 2013 Sektkellerei Christian Madl Von Weissen Sekt | Weinviertel, Austria

A rare sparkling Riesling, this is also blended with Gruner Veltliner. Aged in the bottle for 60  months before being released, this wine was called the greatest non-Champagne sparkling wine in the world by famed wine importer Michael Skurnik. Rich in texture with overtones of freshly baked  brioche, backed up by a strong core of orchard fruit, this wine shows incredible balance and precision. Great for a richer dish such as chicken or veal in a cream sauce, this rare and unique wine turns a lot of heads. 

Wine similar to Riesling

If you like Riesling, you'll probably like Gewurztraminer, Muscat Blanc, Torrontés, and Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris. On the Coravin Wine Shop, we carry the 2018 Weinbach Pinot Gris Cuvee Laurence. For those that think Pinot Grigio isn’t a serious grape, take a trip to Alsace and try the Domaine Weinbach product named after the winemaker’s daughter, Laurence. Apples and pears on the palate with that famous rich texture and palate weight of Alsace, this is what all Pinot Grigio wants to be when it grows up. Often confused for a high-quality Riesling, this wine has converted many people into Pinot Gris fanatics.

Riesling food pairings

No matter where you look, we can almost guarantee you’ll find a recommendation to pair Riesling with spicy food – particularly Thai or Indian cuisines. This may seem like a confusing pairing but don’t knock it until you try it. For proteins, think duck, pork, and bacon. On the seafood side, think crab and shrimp. Here are some recipe recommendations from some friends of Coravin:

We’d love to see what you’re cooking up with Riesling! Tag us on social media, @coravin

SOC Riesling-Quick-Facts PN
IMG 4x3 wine-shop-bottles-1500x1125 (1)

Shop the Coravin Wine Shop

The Coravin Wine Shop offers a broad selection of time-honored labels as well as a collection of highly sought after and allocated bottles curated by in house wine experts and resident sommeliers.

Shop, Shop the Coravin Wine Shop