In California, after several weeks of teasingly cooler climates, the temperature is back in the upper 80s. Welcome Indian summer! Indian summer is the time to savor those last sips of hot summer weather. And I can’t think of a better wine to do that than Riesling. Riesling is incredibly refreshing, and it goes well with just about everything. Try it with spicy Thai food, salads, fish, poultry, Mexican dishes, appetizers, and desserts.
Riesling can be very sweet (think traditional German Rieslings) to somewhat sweet to just barely sweet (or semi dry). The more dry the Riesling, the more food friendly it is.
Riesling’s food friendliness and refreshing qualities come from a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. Even with the sweetest of Rieslings, you are still likely to experience a puckering sensation as the wine goes down your throat. Riesling’s cleansing acidity leaves you wanting to take a bite of food, and after taking a bite of food, you’ll want a sip of wine. A tasty exchange.
Many people steer clear of Riesling, because they think of it as a syrupy sweet wine. If you haven’t ventured off into the drier Rieslings, you are in for a treat.
I would love to know what you think of Riesling and what your favorites Rieslings are. Please post your comments here!
“The more dry the Riesling, the more food friendly it is.”
[Picture Jon Stewart spitting water here] Agggg. Noooo. Er, I mean to say, I beg to differ.
As a lover of all things (good) Riesling – sweet, off-dry and bone dry – I contend that high quality sweet-style is a grand accompanyment to a wide variety of dishes (but no tomatos! – too high in acid, overwhelms the wine). (Not that I disagree that dry Rieslings are also fantastic food accompaniers – they certainly are.)
The main problem with “sweet” Rieslings is that some of the negative aspects of lousy quality wine can be covered up by leaving it on the sweet side. So lots of sweet versions are just bad wine. BUT they are made sweet ’cause they are bad to begin with; they aren’t bad ’cause they’re sweet. It’s also true that, due to sun/temperature issues, most Rieslings from California come out better if they are fermented completely dry. It’s the opposite of Germany, where all the best product is either sweet or off-dry. Somehow or other, Alsace manages to do both styles beautifully.
Great points. I need to get out there and pair some high quality sweet Rieslings with non-tomato foods. When I think about it, I haven’t had a lot of good sweet CA Rieslings, only good dry and semi-dry CA Rieslings. I still think that a sweeter Riesling would have a more narrow set of dishes that would be good accompaniments. But I’m eager to do some serious food pairing work 🙂