The other day I came across this article that fits my own more rambling style on the general question of Riesling’s dryness or sweetness or the middle ground of it. The author, Jason Wilson, makes some great points about the frustrations of dealing with uninformed yet “on a mission” bartenders and wait staff that pour an 8% ABV as a dry wine, the dichotomy between German consumers (dry) and the US market (sweeter in general), the International Riesling Foundation’s sweetness scale, and why all of this is so confusing and not helping the grape.
The article contains some beautiful metaphors and expressions (one winemaker is quoted as as saying “We can show sweeter Rieslings until the cows come home.” – but no one will buy them in Germany), and makes some great points that are on my mind a lot.
One key take away, and I am repeating myself here: If you wonder whether the Riesling bottle you are looking at contains sweet wine, check the alcohol. If it’s single digits, it will be sweet(er), if it’s double digits it will be at least off-dry. You’re usually in safe dry territory above 11.5% ABV.