Yes, Riesling. I know what you’re saying. “Riesling should be with the aromatic whites.” Well, yes it should. “Riesling should be with the light, crisp white wines.” Well, yes it could. So why then is Riesling here with the rich white wines? Simply because many, if not most, Rieslings are endowed from birth with a bit or more of residual sugar. There is no denying that sugar adds weight and richness to wines, so for most people, I think this would be a sensible place to include Riesling.
Incidentally, since we are talking about the evolutionary tendencies of these rich wines, it is worth pointing out that the sugar in wines tends to disappear over time. Lightly sweet wines turn almost dry, and sweet wines turn lightly sweet, which also means that richness based on residual sugar will fade with time, so if you’re looking for a rich Riesling, look for either a young wine or a particularly sweet version.
Riesling is grown around the world and the grape has an uncanny ability to reveal the terroir on which it is grown, while at the same time, having the annoying habit of not really telling you how sweet it is on the label. As such, Riesling should have its own treatise here and that will come with time, but for now let this suffice: Riesling is delicious and straddles so many genres of wine that everyone should be out trying a few. If you find that you like Riesling but you’re looking for something new, why don’t you try a little…
Photo courtesy fortinbras via Flickr/CC