from Wine Magazine's online edition - www.winemag.co.za
ON THE VINE:
round, medium-sized white grapes berries compactly clustered in
small, cylindrical bunches.
colour ranges from pale straw to yellow-gold when mature or in sweeter
variety usually offers a bouquet of one or more of the following: apple,
floral/rose, honeysuckle and lime
In the same aromatic family as
Gewürztraminer, Bukettraube and the Muscats, Riesling is often redolent
of honeyed peach, apricot, pear, litchi fruit and spices: cinnamon, clove
and ginger. Kerosene-like terpenes show with age.
versatile varietal, it is made in off-dry to semi-sweet styles, almost
always without wood treatment, and may have a light, delicate, low alcohol
palate but with layers of concentrated fruit in the best examples. Maturity
brings a pungent, unambiguous waxiness with terpene whiffs.
as far back as the 15th century, though today Riesling occurs throughout
most of the winemaking world. Famed Rieslings emanate from the areas of
Alsace, the Rhine and Mosel (the latter two renowned for their Trockenbeerenausleses,
the ultra-sweet, usually botrytised wine from Germany).
imported and experimented with by Nietvoorbij in the 1960s, Riesling was
planted in commercial quantities from 1974 plantings remain scarce,
though (less than 1% of the Capes total area under vine). Most local
Riesling is made off-dry, with some delicious dessert wines in the Noble
Late Harvest (Botrytis) or Natural Sweet styles, and bears the qualifying
Weisser or Rhine tag that distinguishes it from the lesser Cape version,
Crouchen Blanc, which is usually labelled Cape or SA Riesling.
IN THE WORLD
produces some good expressions of the variety, and Riesling is also to
be found in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South America.
Alsace: Marc Krydenweiss, Zind Humbrecht. From the Rhine(gau): Robert
Weil, Langwerth. From Mosel/Saar: Von Kesselstatt, Von Schubert. In the
Cape, top dessert wines from Riesling include Buitenverwachting, Neethlingshof,
is regarded by many as the most noble white variety because of its maturation
potential and resulting complexity in the bottle far superseding
that of a wooded Chardonnay in the case of the best examples.
Riesling: lightly spiced or curried foods, stir-fries. Sweeter Riesling:
pork, chicken, meats with fruity sauces, nut or apple tarts and desserts.
and semi-sweet: 8° to 14° C. Dessert wines: between 8° and