Riesling A. Grape: Noble, Electric and Oh So Damn Picky
Posted on September 16, 2015
Well, it’s September. It’s sticky. It’s hot. And the only thing getting us through other than football and the promise of a cooler Autumn around the corner is, of course, WINE. (Sidebar: Football pairs JUST as well with wine as is does with beer, with about half the bloating side effect. It’s an opinionated scientific fact. Just sayin’.)
So to kick off the arrival of fall and say goodbye to the dog-days of summer, we, The Grape Girls, wanted something….bright. Something electric. Something that goes as well with a bucket of truffle fries as it does with fresh fish or roasted lamb. Enter our good friend, the Riesling Grape. With her flowery personality and high acidity, she’s not only the perfect pair for almost any meal, she might also be the most versatile of all the white wines out there. But, as with any great woman, there’s a catch: she’s so damn picky about where she’s grown.
The Noble Grape
Nicknamed The Noble Grape, the riesling is known for being a grape that directly reflects the terroir (terr-WHAT?) and natural flavors of where she’s grown. She can be stone dry, semi-sweet or syrupy sugary. But she’s always at least two things: mineral-ly and acid-y. In warmer climates, juicy peach flavors are up front and ready for tasting. In cooler climates, you’ll get a little more tree fruit in your grape. (Sidebar #2: The GG’s feel like the term “tree fruit” is a little vague. What the hell is a tree fruit, you ask? Well, so did we. And what we found was not rocket science.
Tree fruit just means fruit that comes from, DUH, a tree. They’re also classified according to the type of fruit they produced, often in relation to the seeds. For example, apples and pears are pome fruits, because they have many small seeds in the center, while cherries, peaches, and apricots are considered stone fruits, because they have one hard pit in the center. The more you know.)
We thought it’d be super fun to try an OG riesling for our first time. I mean, don’t you want to go with experience on your first go-around? So we grabbed a 2013 Gobelsburger Riesling from the Kamptal region of Austria. After all, the Old World we’re referring to includes Austria, Germany, Spain, France, Italy – you know, the places that have been around FOR-EV-ERR. We discovered that she’s a little more fruit forward BUT without being sweet. In fact, Austria, a small powerhouse in the world of riesling, is well known for making their rieslings bone dry. There’s no sign of malolactic (i.e.: second) fermentation or oak aging process here. Gotta respect the Austrians, y’all. They keep it simple.
We also learned a little history lesson about the riesling. To spare you all the consonants and drawn-out details, here’re the fun facts:
- Originated in the Rhine region of Germany
- Early 14th century Cistercian monks in Eberbach started planting white grapes because the red ones were’t turing out like he ones in France. From then on, it was a white grapes only kinda life.
- One of the first official wine purchases was in 1435, when Count Katzenelnbogen of Ruesselsheim purchases 6 Riesling vines. Good move, Count K.
- By the 16th century, Riesling was everywhere – GRAPES GONE WILD.
- Became a famous grape in 1716 when a fancy-pants prince buys the Benedictine abbey and orders the grounds restored and replanted with riesling. By 1721, over 294,000 acres of good ole wine-making acres are planted. HOORAY!
- Around the 20th century, riesling goes from the “It Grape” to the “Eh Grape”, when vintners’ attentions get distracted to other younger, hotter, more exotic grapes. Don’t worry, girl. Happens to the best of ’em.
- 1960/1970, Riesling gets (sometimes falsely) lumped in with sweeter wines made for export and Germany gets the rap as the “sweet wine” region of the world. Which, ya know, is better than some of the other things they’re remembered for.
A Brick of Brix
Hands down, the best part of our riesling journey on this day was the addition of our new friend, Brick Chocolate. YOU GUYS. This chocolate is DA BOMB. DOT COM. And it’s not just any ordinary chocolate. It’s chocolate made specifically to pair with wine. Is there anything better in life? I think not. According to Brix’s founder Nick Proia, “Cheese, move over…Wine has found a new love, and it’s Brix Chocolate.” We, sir, could not agree more.
Not only is the packaging gorgeous, it’s so straightforward and simple to pair. It tells you right there on
the box what to pair it with! Today, we were given the Smooth Dark Chocolate to pair with our riesling – and oh MAN are we glad we were. See, the thing about this chocolate is that it’s as much art as it is science. They start with the best Cacao (that’s the science part) and blend it beautifully to get the flavor and texture juuust right (that’s the art part). And they NAILED it. Not only did it help to cut the acidity of the riesling we were drinking, but it melts in, around, over and under your mouth in such a beautiful and lasting way, you’ll wonder how you ever tasted wine without it. Move over cheese, indeed. The Grape Girls are SMITTEN. Big shout out to Sally at Brix for introducing us to our new love. (www.brixchocolate.com)
That’s a Wrap
Have a riesling you love? Sipping something else this week? We wanna know! Find us on twitter @thegrapegirls or Instagram @anywineanytime and show us your glass! Join us next #WineWednesday when we continue our love affair with this noble grape, with Brix, and, of course, with you. We HEART you.
Tip It and Sip It,
Lo & Tee