It's July, and there's no time better than now to declare it Riesling Month at Serious Eats. Our bottles are gathered. Our fridges are stocked. We're gonna drink riesling all month long, and check back here every weekday to tell you about our adventures.
Why riesling? Well, we love it.
We like our wines with acidity, and we like our wines to be refreshing. (We don't have air conditioning yet at SEHQ, so refreshment is very, very important.) And good riesling's alive with acidity, sometimes electric, fresh and bright. What riesling doesn't have? Too much alcohol. Which just makes it more refreshing.
Ok. But there are other refreshing wines. Why riesling?
Riesling rocks. We mean it—you can taste the rocks. And the slate and the mica and the limestone from where these grapes grew slowly in the cool weather. And when it's grown in the right spot, riesling seems to translate that place perfectly into the glass. Other people have said it better: "If you grow Riesling where it belongs," writes importer Terry Theise, "its wines come out of the ground already perfect...
Riesling does more than just imply terroir; it subsumes its own identity as fruit into the greater meaning of soil, land, and place. Riesling knows soil more intimately than any other grape, perhaps because it ripens so late in the fall and is thus on the vine longer than other varieties, and because it thrives in poor soils with deep bedrock strata into which it can sink its probing roots."
This isn't all. Riesling ages magnificently. It's underpriced, because people are afraid of it, thinking it's scary-sweet or just scary-labeled-in-another-language. All the better for us.
There's more to say. But we've got a month.
Want to join us? Check out the riesling section of your local wine store, and let us know what you find. We'll be trying wines from Germany and Austria, Alsace and New York, Northern Italy, Washington, and maybe more. We'll be trying them on their own and with food, picking favorites and sampling many different styles of wines made from this grape. After all, there are a lot of days in July.
And we're not alone. The cool kids at Terroir Wine Bar have once again declared it the Summer of Riesling—and this time it's a national celebration. Plus, Wines of Germany is celebrating 31 Days of German Riesling all month.
Grab a glass, let's get started.