Tag Archives: sweet

Sunday Read: The Riesling Syndrome – Too Sweet or Too Dry?

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.

Cheers!!

Jason Wilson: The Riesling Syndrome – Too Sweet or Too Dry? 

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Sunday Read: New German Rieslings somewhere between dry and sweet

You wouldn’t believe how often I get to hear how Riesling is SO sweet. Yes, often it is. But then again, often it is not. What one has to understand about Riesling, at least in my opinion, is that as with all wines balance is key. Given that German Rieslings tend to have a significant amount of acidity due to the cooler climate they grow in and Riesling’s natural higher acidity, sugar in the wine is a key to balance that acidity. In years with lower acidity, like 2011, it was easier to make very dry wines because the acidity did not need that much sugar to balance it. In years with high acidity levels, I usually struggle with fully dry wines…

Throw in wine drinkers’ split personality: Many want to see the word “dry” on the label, and insist that they only like dry wine, but then prefer wines with some residual sugar in them that would qualify those wines as semi-sweet or off-dry. It’s a conundrum for wine makers, and the piece I am linking to today explores how German winemakers deal with this issue. Maybe we all should become more comfortable with the grey, in between areas. Some sweet, some dry, not either or. After all, it is the in between that is usually the more exciting area to explore…

Happy Sunday!

Jon Bonné: New German Rieslings somewhere between dry and sweet

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Sunday Read: Germany’s Rieslings on the Tip of the Tongue

Eric Asimov of the New York Times has done it again: He has written about Riesling. One of the reasons why I like his writing so much is that he has for a long time been a supporter of appreciating Riesling more.

In this piece, he makes some valid points about the discrepancy between German Riesling drinkers, who overwhelmingly prefer their Rieslings dry, and international Riesling drinkers who rather have significant residual sugar in them. As he seems to point out, there is a room for both. While he loves the sweet style, he also thinks it is time to embrace the dry style. And sees a future for both styles, which I agree with.

In my book, that is one of the reasons why Riesling is the greatest wine grape around: It is so versatile, and can be made to excellent wines in so many different ways that it is mind boggling…

Here are some quotes (which naturally made my heart swell):

“The sweet style is thoroughly distinctive. Residual sugar is beautifully balanced by snappy acidity, making for a wine that is refreshing, even bracing, rather than cloying. No rieslings anywhere in the world are like these.”

“In these dry wines, without the residual sweetness to create tension with the acidity, the balance must come instead from a wine’s body and texture, which include the components of alcohol and fruit. If captured properly, the wines feel full of energy, as if they are thrusting forward toward the next sip. If not, they feel flat and dull. ”

Well worth your time.

Happy Sunday!

Eric Asimov: Germany’s Rieslings on the Tip of the Tongue

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