Wine: Raise an Alsace Riesling
Alsace is one of France's most northern wine regions, bordered at the east with Germany by the River Rhine and at the west by the highly influential Vosges Mountains.
The Vosges act as a barrier to the rain clouds and are the principal reason why Alsace enjoys one of the sunniest and driest climates in all of France, in spite of its northern location.
This warm and sunny Shangri-La ripens the grapes flavourfully. As the setting for Franco-German tug-of-war dominance over centuries, not surprisingly Alsace wines have been strongly influenced by both cultures. Alsace is the only wine region in France where Riesling is permitted for quality wine status.
While the mostly white wines outwardly appear Germanic with their elegant flute-shaped bottles and Germanic named labels, the style of the wine in the bottle is typically French.
Flirtatiously food-flattering, the French connection means most Rieslings are made in a dry style.
Riesling is the king of all Alsace's grape varieties - aristocratic and improving greatly with age into a deeper and more intense silky-textured character.
Its naturally high acidity and light to medium alcohol and body makes it perfect with pork and any rich or creamy buttery dishes.
1) Riesling 2011, Domaine Zind Humbrecht 13pc
From the region's most highly regarded bio-dynamic winemaker, Olivier Humbrecht. Intense lime sorbet with mineral highlights and a very long lime zest finish. Delicious with skate wings pan-fried in butter with capers.
€35 at Sweeney's, Glasnevin; 64 Wine, Glasthule; Whelehan's Silver Tassie, Loughlinstown and jnwine.com
2) Signature Riesling 2011, Muré 12.5pc
Concentrated citrus palate in an oily smooth texture. Try with a smoked mackerel salad with grapefruit segments in a lemony mayonnaise.
€20.49 in Dublin at Mitchell & Son, Customs House Quay Building, IFSC and Glasthule.
3) Riesling 2011, Trimbach 13pc
Citrusy and satin-smooth texture, long lingering mineral and lime peel flavours. Try with pork chops braised in dry cider with onions.
€18.99 at O'Brien's Wines, nationwide; La Touche, Greystones; Kelly's, Clontarf and Donnybrook Fair.
4) Herrenweg Riesling 2012, Domaine Saint-Rémy 12.5pc
Lime cordial aromas. Light-bodied and elegant. Classic with a lemon oil and lemon curd finish. Go oriental with fishcakes, lemongrass and coriander.
€18.99 in Dublin at McCabe's, Mount Merrion and Wines on the Green, Dawson Street and Dicey Reilly's, Ballyshannon.
5) Riesling 2012, Hugel 12pc
Pithy and zesty lemon sorbet with a hint of mineral on the finish. Partner with prawns coated in ginger, garlic and coriander.
€18.99 at O'Brien's, nationwide; The Vintry, Rathgar and Redmond's, Ranelagh.
6) Riesling Réserve 2012, Cave de Turckheim 12.5pc
Invigorating fresh nettle and a grapefruit pithy. A zesty palate and finish. Serve with sushi.
€16.99-€17.99 in Dublin at Fresh Stores; O'Neill's, South Circular Road, Conway's, Ratoath and Savage's, Swords.