Riesling – The King of German Wine Grape Varieties
Riesling – Ambassador for German Wine Culture
The Riesling represents, more than any other Grape Variety, the long lasting Wine Culture and Tradition in Germany. Riesling overtook the high-yielding Rivaner (Mueller-Thurgau) Grape in the 1990’s and became the most planted Grape Variety in Germany. Since then, it enjoys the top position of all Grape Varieties, not only on a national level. Riesling is in terms of Importance for high quality Wines worldwide usually included in the “top three” White Wine Varieties, next to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
The long history of the Riesling Grape goes back to the 15th century, where written references about the “Rießlingen” prove the existence in the Rhine area for the first time in 1435. Older documents from 1348 contain similar spellings (Russelinge, Rissling) with regard to Wine Grapes, but there is no certainty that they referred to the Riesling Grape, as we know it today. It is commonly believed that the Riesling originated somewhere in a Rhine valley. Furthermore, there is evidence that the original Grape is a Crossing between the Traminer and Heunisch Grapes.
Nowadays, more than half the worlds Vineyards devoted to the Riesling are in Germany. The Riesling Grape grows in every German Wine Region and accounts for more than 22% (22,236 ha) of the total yields on Vineyards in Germany. The largest popularity experiences the Riesling in Rheingau (Rhine District), where it occupies 79% (2,472 ha) of the Vineyards. Other famous Riesling Regions are Pfalz (Palatinate), Mosel (Moselle) and Rheinhessen (Rhine Hesse). But as said before, in general the Riesling Grape can be found with mentionable numbers of Vineyards in every German Wine-Growing Region.
Full of Complexity, Versatility and Longevity
The Riesling Grape has a full, flowery Aroma, which is often described as being almost perfumed. Fragrances of crisp apples or ripe peaches can be found in the mineral rich Wine. It also contains a high, fruity acidity and is preferably used to produce a range from dry to sweet White Wines and also serves as the favorite Grape for the Production of Sparkling Wine. It is unlikely that the Riesling Wine is oaked, usually it comes pure.
The late Harvest Wines have a honey-like Taste caused by the Noble Rot Botrytis.