Riesling 2012

Riesling is entirely German. It became a major variety on the northern extremes of grape-growing, where its full ripening cannot at all be taken for granted. Only on the banks of the rivers is it where the steepest, most southerly facing vineyards are sure to get enough sunshine to ripen and the harvest runs late into the autumn. The topsoil has long been washed away by the rain as the roots cling to the cracks in the rocks, in the place where grape growing is an acrobatic and sometimes dangerous activity. Winemaking around the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is a struggle both for man and the grapes. But that is exactly the key to the greatness of Riesling. When it is good, Riesling is a uniquely lively, fruity and mineral wine. The vibrant acids perfectly balance out the residual sugar resulting from the often late harvest. Petrol is at times a distinctive note in quality aged Riesling, but it can also be surprisingly floral and fruity.

 

Riesling is grown almost everywhere in the world, but with this variety, the more favourable the conditions are for ripening, the more modest the resulting wine will typically be. At places where ripening comes easily, the chance of achieving complexity is severely limited and the sharpened blade of the all-important acidity is soon blunted. Beside Germany and Alsace, the most beautiful Rieslings come from Austria’s Wachau, but even these are usually relatively tame in comparison to the German ones. In Hungary, Szent György-hegy, Badacsony and the Balaton-felvidék seem to be the best areas for making serious Riesling, even though we’ve encountered beautiful gems from the variety in Muzsla and in Pannonhalma. The 2012 wines are a good example of this. In the spring, we promise that we will provide a detailed account of this variety as well.