Top 5 Riesling wines

Riesling is one of the most elegant white grape variety of the world, born and selected in Germany where it finds its homeland with ideal climate and soils. Even though it is widely planted in Germany, Riesling grape variety spread all over the world, starting from the coolest climate of Europe, such as Austria and Alsace, to the US and Australia.  In the so-called New World wine producing countries, Riesling had the ability to adapt to generally warmer climates together with other pretty popular French grape varieties, becoming one of the most well-known grape varieties in the last decades.  Riesling wines, especially in Germany and Austria, are made in a wide range of different styles from dry to incredibly sweet wines. The most popular wines in the last decades are the dry ones, called “Trocken” in German, with high refreshing acidity and no residual sugar; wines that can be easily paired with food or served in a wine bar as an aperitif. On the other side, we have sweet styles of Riesling that vary from Spatlese (the less sweet) to Trockenbeerenauslese (the sweetest ones). These wines are often left on the vine to shrivel and concentrate sugar before harvesting and fermenting. Trockenbeerenauslese wines, in particular, represent the most interesting example of sweet wines from Riesling because the grapes are left on the vine for several weeks and they are attacked by Botrytis Cinerea, that adds to the wine mushroom, caramel and incense aromas.  Mosel, in South-Western Germany, is the most important Riesling growing region throughout the world; it follows the river Mosel and the vineyards are located just above the river, taking advantage of the mitigating effect of the body of water. This means that the river absorbs the heat during the day and it release it during the night, helping the vines to continue the ripening even after the sunset. Moreover, Mosel soils are often made up of slate, a particular dark stone that absorbs heat during the day helping the grapes to be fully ripe at the end of the season. In summer the weather is warm, but certainly not hot, with an average July temperature of around 18°C. A long growing season helps develop the intense flavors in the Riesling grapes while keeping potential alcohol levels low.  The best Mosel Riesling wines are some of the finest whites in the world. Light and low in alcohol, they can be intensely fragrant with floral and powerful stony notes, with an incredible balance of sweetness and acidity.

Emrich-Schönleber,Mineral Riesling Trocken 

The Mineral label by Weingut Emrich-Schonleber is one of the best examples of modern-style Riesling from Germany. A dry white wine with refreshing acidity and elegant stony aromatics, like the name on the label says. It is an elegant and complex wine with the ability to age for decades in the bottle, keeping its freshness and citrus aromas balancing the tertiary aromas brought by the aging process.  As we said, the “Mineral” label is a Riesling Trocken that is produced by one of the most famous and highly rated wineries in Nahe.  The winery is a family business, which has been operating in the field of viticulture for over two centuries and which, since the Second World War. The estate covers about twenty hectares, with vineyards planted on steep slopes at an altitude between 160 and 250 meters above sea level. The cool climate and the blue slate and quartzite soils play a key role to create an ideal growing environment for Riesling, which matures slowly and with particularly rich and intense aromas.





Region    GERMANY


Allergens   Contains sulfites

 Price level   

Egon Müller,Scharzhofberger Riesling

Egon Müller is a name that immediately speaks of the history and tradition of the Riesling grape variety. The name of the Muller family is strongly linked with the Mosel, representing some of the best quality wines and one of the oldest family that still owns its winery.  The most interesting feature of Egon Muller winery is the fact that they only grow Riesling grapes, specializing a lot in the production of high quality wines from this region. Compared to the Rhine, the Rieslings of the Mosel and the Saar are light and fresh, with more austerity to them. The Saar is a much smaller area than the Mosel and the region is cooler because of the cold winds, making for “stricter” wines, with well-defined acidity.  All of Egon Müller’s wines are produced using his own grapes. The family own vineyards scattered throughout the region but the two most celebrated plots are the two single vineyard sites of Scharzhofberg and Wiltinger Braune Kupp.  There are different Riesling styles under the Scharzhofberger label, but one of the most famous is the Egon Muller Riesling Scharzhofberger Trockenbeerenauslese 2003, which achieved a perfect 100 point score from Robert Parker. Egon Muller wines are some of the most expensive of the Mosel region.

Winery   Egon Müller - Scharzhof Grapes   Riesling Region    Germany/ Mosel / Wiltingen Allergens   Contains sulfites Price level   €€€€

Joh. Jos. Prüm, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling

This is one of the most expensive German wines, even though it is not easy to identify the most expensive one because it all depends on the single vintage. This is a Trockenbeerenauslese wine made from Riesling in Mosel region, where it had the chance to fully ripen throughout the growing season.  As we said in the first part of the article, the Trockenbeerenauslese wines are sweet and made from grapes attacked by Botrytis Cinerea. These grapes must be hand-picked one by one, selecting only the grapes that are developed thanks to noble rot. This wine is made only in the best vintages because the noble rot requires specific climatic conditions to grow on the grapes: humid misty mornings followed by dry and windy afternoons during the whole autumn season.  This wine has a syrupy texture, due to the high sugar content, and an incredible high acidity that balances the sip and enhances the aromatic notes of candied citrus peel, beeswax, mushrooms and incense on the aftertaste. This wine has an incredible aging potential that easily exceed 50 years in the bottle.

Winery   Joh. Jos. Prüm Grapes   Riesling Region    Germany/ Mosel/ When Allergens   Contains sulfites Price level   €€€€

Franz Hirtzberger,Hochrain Riesling Smaragd

This is one of the best Rieslings from Austria, the second homeland of this incredible white grape variety.  Franz Hirtzberger winery is located in Wachau, in North-Eastern Austria on the Danube river. In fact, most Wachau vineyards are located on steep (often terraced) hillsides above the Danube – a naturally sunny location where warm summer temperatures are stabilized slightly by the river below.  The most flavorful Wachau wines come from vineyards planted on sun-drenched, south-facing terraces. Wachau's steep, sweeping, vineyard-lined riverbanks could easily be mistaken for those of Germany's Mosel, even if the wines are distinct. Classic Wachau Rieslings taste richer, riper and more tropical than their counterparts from the cooler, wetter Mosel.  The Franz Hirtzberger estate is located in Spitz in the far west of the region – an area influenced by cold winds blowing off the mountains to the North. The “Hochrain” label is fermented in stainless steel tanks and then aged in classic 3000-5000-liter wooden vats, helping the wine to get even more aromatic complexity.

Winery   Franz Hirtzberger Grapes   Riesling Region    Austria/ Weinland/ Wachau Allergens   Contains sulfites Price level   €€

Bouchaine, Bacchus Collection Riesling

The Riesling by the Bouchaine winery in Napa Valley represents one of the best example of Riesling grown in a warmer climate, compared to Germany and Austria.  Specifically, Bouchaine Riesling vineyards are located in Carneros, North of San Francisco Bay, near the city of Sonoma: this area is well-known for its climate cooled by the influence of the Pacific Ocean that brings cool winds that blow through the San Francisco Bay. The influence of the Pacific Ocean is crucial to grow high quality Riesling grapes, keeping the natural acidity and lively citrus aromas;  This wine produced by Bouchaine winery perfectly represents the features of Riesling grapes grown in a warm climate: the wine still has high acidity thanks to the cooling influence of the Ocean and the moderate diurnal range, but the texture is much fuller and the alcohol level is slightly higher. Furthermore, the citrus notes are much more linked to Mediterranean fruits like ripe lemon, combined with long-lasting notes of vanilla, beeswax and stony notes.

Winery   Bouchaine Grapes  Riesling Region  USA/ San Francisco Allergens   Contains sulfites Price level