Riesling's Rise

This white wine is hard to pronounce and varies in style but offers an astonishing and dramatic rainbow of expressions


Riesling’s earliest documentation dates back to 1435 in Germany, and although not wildly popular today, this is the white wine with the most astonishing and dramatic rainbow of expressions. Few wines start a meal better, and none enhance as wide a range of culinary preparations. So why is it unpopular? Pronunciation. But in the current market, German riesling is the screaming bargain. Fresh, low in alcohol content and redolent of garden fragrances, these three vary in style and are all irresistibly delicious.


Dr. Heyden, Oppenheimer Sackträger Riesling Auslese, Rheinhessen, 2015

Don’t miss this $16 Auslese from a great vintage. This wine is ultra-lush and pineappley, but with only about 5 percent noble rot in this warm, dry year. Flowery, gentle and mild in acidity, it bears a fragrance of ripe tropical fruits, with bright lemon zest notes, creamy sweetness and a lively zip of saline minerality from the vineyard’s limestone soils. It’s great with spicy curries, and—as is true of the next two rieslings—this can age for years.

$16, Giorgio’s, Waltham

Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt, Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, 2015

Produced in the cool climate of Saar Valley, this bottle is made from grapes grown on rocky gray slate soils at a 1,000-foot elevation. With close to perfect conditions, 2015 is already a legendary vintage in Germany, and the openness of this wine is remarkable considering that Scharzhofbergers often taste tight during infancy. It’s on the dry side, with subtle white peach, floral, stony mineral and lemon notes, and is a great partner for shellfish.

$18, Wine & Cheese Cask, Somerville

Paul Anheuser, Schlossböckelheimer Königsfels Riesling Kabinett, Nahe, 2016

The name is a real tongue twister, but each sip of this beautifully balanced wine will leave your palate refreshed. Anheuser—a 14th generation winemaker whose ancestor started a little brewery in St. Louis—makes this single vineyard riesling on very steep rocky sites. This medium sweet, juicy style features honeyed melon and spice notes balanced by baking spices and a dazzling apple-like acidity.

$11, Kappy’s, Malden


Sandy Block is a master of wine and the vice president of beverage operations for Legal Sea Foods.


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