Riesling Days Of Summer: Our Top Picks Of This Refreshing Potion

Whether it’s a day of blazing heat or a balmy, breezy night, a light and crisp Riesling is in order.

Freshly cut grass. Sliced grapefruit. Dazzling minerality. Riesling is much loved for its fine balance between fruit and acidity. We pick our favourite sips, from the grape’s ancestral home in Germany to its cool spots in Australia.

Rockford Eden Valley Riesling 2015

Eden Valley, South Australia

When was the last time you drank an Aussie Riesling? These refreshing thirst-quenchers—often planted in cooler, hilly regions—just don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. Barossa-based Rockford winery’s Eden Valley Riesling is the perfect antidote to our balmy weather. The straw-yellow wine offers aromas of citrus and vanilla, and ripe flavours of figs and peaches. Acidity is quite zippy, lending a playful edge to the wine’s finish. Pair this with some shellfish or grilled trout.
$59, from Hermitage Quality Wines. Tel: 6438 1120

Wild & Wilder, Thistledown, The Courtesan Riesling 2017

Clare Valley, South Australia 

Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW run Wild & Wilder, a winery that sources fruit from all over South Australia. Despite their heavy MW credentials, Cooke and Tynan are out to make wines that are fun and wacky. The Courtesan Riesling belongs to the Character Series—wines with labels inspired by the illustrations of 19th century French caricaturist, JJ Grandville. This Riesling, which was aged on its lees for three months, is a vivacious potion of cut grass, elderflower, thyme, lime, mint, and melon. 
$59, from Hermitage Quality Wines. Tel: 6438 1120

Dr Loosen, Graacher Himmelreich, Riesling GG Alte Reben 2017

Mosel, Germany 

Since taking over his family’s vineyards in the mid-1980s, Ernst Loosen has turned the estate into one of the Mosel’s top Riesling producers. The Mosel’s slate soils not only lend minerality to the wines, they also trap the sun’s heat during the day and release it back to the vines at night to encourage fruit ripeness.

The Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Alte Reben is a single vineyard ambrosia from a Grosses Gewächs (Great Growth) plot of 100-year-old vines. Aged for 12 months on the lees in oak casks, the wine offers a gentle bouquet of tropical fruit and flavours of grapefruit, honey, biscuits, and crushed stones. This is still a youthful Riesling which can benefit from some extra slumber in the cellar.
S$72, from 1855 The Bottle Shop. Tel: 6251 1855

Famille Hugel, Classic Riesling 2015

Alsace, France 

The family-run Hugel estate is arguably Alsace’s most recognisable wine producer. The estate exports 90 percent of its production to more than 100 countries, a marketing that move that has done much for the Alsace region as it has for the winery. If you already love Alsatian wines, then chances are Hugel introduced you to the world of Alsace, and not the other way around.

Hugel’s Classic Riesling remains the estate’s flagship wine, simply because it is a crowd pleaser, with a friendly price point to match. The 2015 vintage was regarded as an excellent year in Alsace, with a July heatwave that was, fortunately, tempered by a mid-August rainfall. On the nose, the pale-yellow dry wine smells of lime, kiwi, and thyme. The structure is well-balanced; a nice marriage between flinty accents and green apple notes.
$55, from Monopole. Tel: 6554 3680

J.B Becker, Wallufer Walkenberg, Riesling Spatlese Trocken 2011

Rheingau, Germany 

Founded in 1893, J.B Becker has a cult status in Rheingau, thanks in part to its eccentric, moustachioed winemaker, Hans-Josef Becker, who took over the family winery in the 1971, and immediately decided to focus on making dry instead of sweet wines—a controversial move at the time. 

Becker’s Rieslings may catch some people off guard: they can be rich and restrained all at once, but that’s part of the peculiar charm of his wines. Our favourite sip has to be the Wallufer Walkenberg Riesling Spatlese Trocken: it offers a savoury and minerally profile, with delicious touches of citrus, mint, soya, and stone fruit.
Price upon request, from Ares Konsultant. Tel: 9889 5184  

This article was first published in Wine & Dine May/June 2019: Game-Changing Innovations.

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