broaden your palate

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

Are you part of the ries­ling revo­lu­tion? You may laugh, but it’s an ac­tual on­go­ing cam­paign by ries­ling lovers to con­vince peo­ple to drink the ver­sa­tile, age-wor­thy and, frankly, ut­terly de­li­cious va­ri­ety. It’s hard to know why ries­ling lacks pop­u­lar­ity. The wines are high in acid­ity, but then so is sauvi­gnon blanc. It can vary in sweet­ness lev­els... like pinot gris. So why is sauvi­gnon steady and pinot gris rock­et­ing while ries­ling needs a cheer squad to keep it in pub­lic con­scious­ness? Beats me. I love ries­ling and I find those I serve it to are equally en­am­oured. Maybe it’s just that in a coun­try awash in sauvi­gnon blanc and pinot gris, we stick to fa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory? Read on then, to dis­cover what you might be miss­ing...

Ries­ling 101 Light-bod­ied with moder­ate al­co­hols (eight per cent to 12.5 per cent is typ­i­cal), ries­ling is highly aro­matic, redo­lent with limes and lemons as well as ap­ple, quince, white flow­ers and notes of spice, beeswax and wet stone, de­pend­ing on ori­gin and style. Made with no oak in­flu­ence to en­hance its pure-fruited aro­mat­ics and del­i­cately pre­cise palates, ries­ling is be­guil­ingly de­li­cious when young, yet can mel­low over time into com­plex honey, toast and even petrol/kerosene rich­ness (tastier than it sounds!).

As be­fits a grape hail­ing from Ger­many, ries­ling loves a cool cli­mate and suits New Zealand well, par­tic­u­larly the South Is­land’s gen­er­ally cool, dry, sunny au­tumn con­di­tions. The long pe­riod of ripen­ing de­liv­ers not only height­ened va­ri­etal char­ac­ter and bal­ance but also a wide range of styles, de­pend­ing on when the grapes are har­vested – the later the pick, the sweeter, more in­tense the wine.

Styles Ries­lings vary from ul­tra-dry through to lus­cious dessert styles. Most New Zealand wines are just off-dry – as a guide, gen­er­ally the lower the al­co­hol, the sweeter the wine. That high acid­ity off­sets sweet­ness, lend­ing a rapier pre­ci­sion that’s re­fresh­ingly mor­eish. Check out the back la­bels for fur­ther guid­ance.

Food first Ries­ling is very food-friendly, a great all-rounder for seafoods, pork and sub­stan­tial sal­ads. Medium styles are es­pe­cially good with Asian cuisines, as the sweet­ness helps off­set spice and heat, and ries­ling also goes well with cheese, with drier styles suit­ing aged ched­dar and gouda, and sweet styles su­perb with blue cheese.

In a sea of samey sauvi­gnon and pinot gris, ries­ling of­fers a burst of bright­ness and char­ac­ter. And best of all for wine-lovers? Ries­ling is usu­ally ex­tremely good value for the qual­ity on of­fer. So on sec­ond thoughts, maybe we rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies should be keep­ing things quiet!

Ries­ling of­fers a burst of bright­ness and char­ac­ter.

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