March 13th is international Riesling day and given that this grape is often described as an ‘enigma’ it is important to share our love of this special grape and our readers to try our Hoepler Riesling too.
Often described as the King of Grapes this variety is late ripening, hardy and frost resistant. It loves ‘cool climate’ zones such as Austria. Indeed 7% of all Austrian white wine is Riesling – the 5th largest producing region in the world of this grape.
So why does Riesling pose a challenge to so many? Firstly, it expresses terroir very well. This means it adapts to the soil and location it is grown in which results in a broad and expressive range of flavours spanning from the floral, fruity, honey and spice to lime, apple, peach and gooseberry. It is a wine that ages well. Younger wines tend to be more aromatic but aged Rieslings can develop aromas like kerosene, which can be off putting to some.
The second reason is that the producing styles can vary significantly. Germany is the main producer of Riesling and in the 19th and 20th centuries it was common to pick the grapes unripe and stop fermentation early to compensate for the high acidity. This resulted in the production of wines with high levels of residual sugar, which is not always a style favoured by lovers of crisp, aromatic, fresh wines!
The good news is that Austrian Rieslings are always produced in a dry and crisp style and they are wines that develop complexity with age and pair beautifully with nearly all fish, a wide range of Asian foods such as spicey Thai curries and vegetable stir fries and, as you would expect, it is fantastic with Wiener Schnitzel. So, why not crack open a Hoepler Riesling and go all out ‘Austrian’ with a schnitzel this weekend to celebrate simply that we are lucky that we can.
Our current vintage of Riesling is 2020. It is mineral and slatey with a soft peach fragrance and ripe orange over tones. The palate is lively, fresh and defined by minerality and spice.