Friday 9 December 2016

Wine: Riesling reigning in summer

Liam Campbell

Published 29/05/2016 | 02:30

Flexible: Riesling is a good match for saucy fish and poultry dishes
Flexible: Riesling is a good match for saucy fish and poultry dishes
1. Bird Label Riesling 2013, Lingenfelder, Pfalz 11.5pc
2. Riesling 2014, Dr L, Loosen Bros, Mosel 8.5pc
3. Riesling 2013, Prinz Von Hessen, Rheingau 11.5pc
4. Riesling Trocken 2014, Baron Kynphausen, Rheingau 11.5pc

Why is Germany's Riesling so cool for summer? While wet summers are not uncommon in northern Europe, Germany enjoys Indian summers whose sunny warmth into November helps the grapes do their main ripening in the autumn. This results in semi-ripe fruit which has two impacts on style.

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Firstly, the naturally high acidity benefits from the addition of a little of the natural sweet grape juice (süsreserve) to the finished wine, counter-balancing the green apple flavours. These off-dry wines are labelled 'halbtrocken'.

Secondly, the semi-ripe grapes have lower sugar levels. With less sugar to ferment, the wines have lighter levels of alcohol, regularly weighing in at 9pc to 11pc. The combination of off-dry and light alcohol wines makes a superb match with chilli-hot vegetarian, fish and chicken dishes.

However, in recent years with global warming, the temperatures have increased and ripened the fruit more thoroughly with less need for adding süsreserve. The wines are now made in a dry style (trocken) making them more flexible matches with creamy and saucy fish and poultry dishes.

1) Bird Label Riesling 2013, Lingenfelder, Pfalz 11.5pc

Freshly zested grapefruit peel aromas. Very intense apple and ripe pear fruits with a crisp lemony acidity. Try with a smoked mackerel salad with grapefruit segments in a lemony mayonnaise.

€12.95 from €14.95 until end of June at O'Brien's nationwide

2) Riesling 2014, Dr L, Loosen Bros, Mosel 8.5pc

Homemade lemonade and barley sugar scents. Off-dry fruitiness of fresh grapes and apples. The vineyard's slate soil echoes on the mineral aftertaste. Delicate and light-bodied. Perfect with chilli-hot chickpea samosas.

€14 at Nolan's Supermarket, Clontarf; Donnybrook Fair; The Wicklow Wine Company and O'Donovans', Cork citywide.

3) Riesling 2013, Prinz Von Hessen, Rheingau 11.5pc

Dry with a citrus peel, ripe pears and green apple palate - still evolving. Go oriental with fishcakes, lemongrass and coriander.

€20 at Ardkeen Quality Foodstore, Waterford; Matson's, Grange and Bandon; No 21, Kinsale and The Wine Well, Dunboyne.

4) Riesling Trocken 2014, Baron Kynphausen, Rheingau 11.5pc

Chalk dry with pithy grapefruit and green apple skin flavours highlighted by a salty and lingering mineral finish. Serve with stir-fried prawn and pork with sugar snap peas and chillies.

€19.95 at Whelehan's Wines, Silver Tassie, Loughlinstown and whelehanswines.ie

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