24 Riesling Wine Recommendations
Riesling is the new Chardonnay. Which fills your glass?
Ask consumers to name their favourite white wine and most will answer Chardonnay. Ask the same question of wine professionals—sommeliers, writers, winemakers—and the universal answer will be Riesling.
Riesling, at least at its more exalted levels, is a wine that dazzles the attentive drinker with its haunting and subtle layers of flavour. More than simple, visceral pleasure, Riesling rewards careful thought and contemplation. It is the thinking man’s Sauvignon Blanc.
All dry Rieslings have certain characteristics in common—they are light, clear, clean, crisp and, if one is lucky, show hints of minerality and the varietal’s trademark oily, petrol-like quality.
Move up the quality scale and things get interesting. Riesling is the most terroir-specific of varietals—that is, it’s a mirror of the place in which it is grown. Having tasted more than 200 Rieslings from six different countries and four different American regions, ranging in price from less than US$10 to more than $100, writer Nick Passmore culled this list of 24 favourites.
Inexpensive: Under $20
Bollig-Lehnert Trittenheimer Apotheke, R Kabinett 2007, Mosel, Germany
Astounding for the price, hits all the marks you expect in a Riesling—lush fruit, hints of petrol, and a crisp mineral-laden finish.
Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Powerful, focused, sings to the heavens, glorious harmony of sweet and crisp fruit flavours.
Note: this is a non-vintage wine.
Domaines Schlumberger Riesling, Les Princes Abbes 2007, Alsace
Soft minerality and a tad off-dry.
Graf Hardegg R, Von Schloss 2008, Austria
A surprisingly delicate and gentle Austrian Riesling, hints of real minerality.
Grove Mill Riesling 2008 New Zealand
Unusually layered and nuanced for the modest price.
Gunderloch, Jean-Baptiste Riesling, Rheinhessen Kabinett 2007, Germany
A supremely delicate expression of all that’s wonderful about German Riesling.
Hosmer Winery Riesling 2008, Cayuga Lake, New York
Very fine for the modest price, shows real Riesling personality.
Jacob’s Creek Reserve Riesling 2009, Australia
Balanced, clean, crisp and quaffable.
Kallfelz R Kabinett 2008, Mosel Germany
A great example of the power and contradictions of a German Riesling.
Leitz Eins Zwei Dry 2009, Germany
Fresh, fruity and lively.
Ruhlmann Riesling, Grand Cru Frankstein 2005, Alsace
Hits all the marks—the oily character, the slatey minerality, the intense, bone-dry fruit.
A. Christmann Riesling, Mandelgarten, Gimmeldingen 2002, Pfalz
Absolutely extraordinary. Unbelievable levels of complex, nuanced mystery. Lush fruit overlaid with smoky minerality.
Domaine Gresser Grand Cru Kastelberg 2005, Alsace
Heavy and rich, just beginning to develop real depth, will be sublime in 10 years.
Josmeyer Le Dragon 2006, Alsace
Moderate Riesling, rich, pungent, oily, petrolly, fine fruit and pronounced minerality.
Marcel Deiss, Engelgarten 2007, Alsace
All subtle charm and grace. A pure delight.
Marcobrunn Marianne 2005, Rheingau, Germany
Rich and succulent, a tad off-dry, melons and peaches, but with a lingering dry citrus finish. Rich and intriguingly complex.
Neumayer Rothenbart 2008, Austria
Complex, with a subtle elegance.
Pewsey Vale, The Contours Riesling 2005, Australia.
Precision and complexity. About as good as it gets in a mid-priced Riesling.
Schloss Reinhartshausen Old Vines Riesling 2007, Rhinegau, Germany
Shows how German Riesling can combine lace-like gentleness with subtle minerality along with a fruity intensity.
Zilliken Riesling Spätlese Saarburger Rausch 1992, Saar, Germany
Shows an astounding complexity, and the ageing potential of great German Riesling.
Expensive: Over $40
Clos Schild, Lucien Albrecht 2004, Alsace
So much succulent, rich fruit on the front palate until one gets to the dry, grey-slate minerality of the finish.
Clos Ste Hune, Alsace Riesling Grand Cru 2002, Trimbach
Classic Riesling for the connoisseur. This is what it’s all about. Oily, petrolly, exceptionally long-lived.
Hugel Riesling Jubilee 1998, Alsace.
Offers a mouth-filling roundness along with a steely, precisely focused intensity.
Wittmann Morstein Riesling GG Rheinhessen 2008, Germany
Impossibly concentrated layers of flavour for a dry white wine.