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Riesling

Highly regarded by wine enthusiasts for its aromatic characteristics and diverse styles yet somewhat failing to reach a broader consumer appeal, Riesling is a must-have for any white wine lover.

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Riesling Wine

Perhaps a misunderstood grape variety and often incorrectly linked to unfashionable, low-quality German wines of the past. With its aromatic and fresh characteristics, influenced by climate, Reisling ranges from bone dry through to lusciously sweet, and some styles have the potential to age for many years.



Riesling Characteristics
This refreshingly aromatic white wine is native to growing along the River Rhine and is responsible for some of Germany's most coveted and longest-lived wines. Riesling is a light-skinned grape that boasts crisp citrus, beeswax, and lanolin notes. Combined with plenty of fresh acidity, not all Riesling wines are the same.

It's this acidity that gives Riesling's remarkable ability to age. Wines made in a sweeter style show even more potential for laying down for decades in a cellar. Thus, wine enthusiasts consider the petrol-like aroma a hallmark of superb Riesling quality. Riesling is often identified due to its own unique slender bottle shape, making this wine variety even more memorable.



The Varying Taste & Aromas of Riesling
Riesling's actual ability to age well comes from the complexity that occurs in the bottle from youth to maturity. A young Riesling is a fruit-forward wine, delivering fresh flavours of nectarine, orchard pear and ripe apricot with a supporting role of citrus, namely grapefruit, lemon and lime.

Signature aromas of herbs and spices combined with an earthy mineral make this wine unmistakable on the nose. You'll smell honeycomb, jasmine & ginger combined with rubber and petrol, and in some cases, the wines have a distinct saline taste from the minerals in the soil. As Riesling ages, the youthful fruity notes fade and are replaced by more complex aromas such as smoke, pine & spice. The grape's acidity softens, which produces a more full-bodied white wine.



Riesling Wine Styles & Regions
There's a common misconception that all Riesling wines are sweet. Stereotyped by the German styles of the past, most Rieslings produced worldwide are dry or off-dry, particularly in the New World regions.

Riesling's synonymous home is the regions that follow Germany's lower Mosel and middle Rhine rivers. Germany's most famous wine regions fall in this area and include Mosel, Rheinhessen, Rheingau and Pfalz. Riesling vines are planted throughout steep, slate-rich hillsides above these iconic rivers and are known to give the grape its signature characteristics.
The climate in Germany makes it perfect for growing Riesling grapes. Cool temperatures help the grapes retain their acidity, while the clay and limestone soils add minerality to the wines. In contrast, most of southern Europe is too warm for Riesling to grow appropriately. This extreme & warmer weather sees the grape ripen too fast and early, leading to a lacklustre flavour.

The Riesling from Alsace in France are usually riper than the Germans and more rounded. This region includes grand crus.

By contrast, South Australian wine producers offer some of the world's most coveted Rieslings and, in particular, the Clare Valley to the north and the Eden Valley to the east of Adelaide. These dry and bold Rieslings thrive in this pocket of Australia and age particularly well whilst exhibiting a perfect pairing characteristic for spicy cuisines and Asian flavour influence. The wine's naturally high acidity keeps the palate fresh, while bottles with residual sugar can balance even the spiciest of flavours.

 

Bordeaux Whites & Entre-deux-mers

While synonymous with reds, the Bordeaux wine region also houses some fine white wines, including sparkling, dry and famous golden-coloured sweet wines from Sauternes & Barzac. The appellation of Entre-deux-mers, located between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, is the largest in the Bordeaux region. The wines from Entre-deux-mers are usually white, with a small percentage of reds and rosés. White Bordeaux wines are typically blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. The wines are generally medium-bodied with aromas of citrus fruits, gooseberry and tropical fruits.

 

 

Bordeaux Appellations

There are four main categories of Bordeaux appellations: AOC Bordeaux, AOC Bordeaux Supérieur, Crémant de Bordeaux and Vin de Pays.

AOC Bordeaux
AOC Bordeaux wines must be made from a minimum of 90% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with the remaining 10% made up of any other permitted grape variety. The wines must also be aged for a minimum of 12 months in oak barrels before being released for sale.

AOC Bordeaux Supérieur
AOC Bordeaux Supérieur wines must be made from a minimum of 80% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with the remaining 20% made up of any other permitted grape variety. The wines must also be aged for a minimum of 14 months in oak barrels before being released for sale.

Crémant de Bordeaux
Crémant de Bordeaux is a sparkling wine made using the traditional method of second fermentation in the bottle. The wines must be made from a minimum of 60% Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, with the remaining 40% made up of any other permitted grape variety.

Vin de Pays
Vin de Pays wines are made from any grape variety and do not have to be aged before release.

 

 

Bordeaux Classification of Quality Control

Bordeaux wines are classified into two categories: Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) and Vins Délimités de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS). The AOC classification is the highest level of quality control, and VDQS wines are of a slightly lower quality.
AOC Bordeaux wines must be made from grapes grown in a specified area and must meet strict quality control standards. The AOC system was established in 1936, and there are currently 57 AOCs in Bordeaux.

VDQS wines must also meet strict quality control standards, but the specified area of the region is larger, and the requirements are not as stringent as for AOC wines. The VDQS system was established in 1947, and there are currently 17 VDQSs in Bordeaux.

 

 

Our take on Bordeaux Wines

Today's Bordeaux wines retain a certain stoical classicism whilst meeting more modern expectations of accessibility. Bordeaux is a region that was a true source of inspiration for many of the world's most popular wines. For anyone who prefers a red wine blend, we encourage you to sample both a Left and Right Bank Bordeaux. The Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot dominant grapes provide unique characteristics that only subjectively one can genuinely decide their preference.

 

 

 

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