Sweet Riesling, Dry and Everything in Between: A 12-Bottle Guide

People drinking Riesling
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The darling grape variety of sommeliers and wine lovers alike, Riesling is renowned for its immense versatility and range of styles, thanks in large part to its naturally high acidity. Its structure enables winemakers who work with the variety to yield zesty, bone-dry options all the way to lusciously sweet Riesling wines with impeccable balance.

Riesling is grown across the globe, yet its spiritual home is undoubtedly Germany, where the full range of the grape is recognized. From trocken, or dry wines, to gently off-dry kabinett, to the sweeter spätlese and auslese, and even sweeter still beerenauslese, trockenbeerenauslese and eiswein, Germany truly offers it all.

Elsewhere in Europe, France’s Alsace region and parts of Austria make dazzling dry and off-dry Rieslings. In the New World, look to the incredibly lime-driven, bone-dry options from the Clare and Eden valleys in Australia or explore the range of styles available from Oregon, Washington, New York and Canada.

Taste through the diverse range of Riesling with these 12 pours.

Dry Riesling

Dr. Loosen 2019 Red Slate Dry Riesling (Mosel); $18; Wine-Searcher.com. Sunbaked slate and dusty earth tones introduce this spry, spice-tinged Riesling… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Pikes 2019 Traditionale Dry Riesling (Clare Valley); $28, Vivino. Notes of bright citrus, wax, kerosene, flower blossoms and honey lead into a bone-dry palate that’s fruit-driven, steering it away from overt austerity… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Ridgecrest 2020 Estate Dry Riesling (Ribbon Ridge); $24; Wine-Searcher.com. From the first vineyard planted in the AVA comes this sappy, complex, multifaceted wine… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Wagner 2020 Dry Estate Bottled Riesling (Finger Lakes); $15, Wine.com. Bright lemony fruit mixes with lime zest and white blossoms in this zesty, dry Riesling… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Off-Dry / Semidry Riesling

Bestheim 2019 Anne de K Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace); $32, Wine-Searcher.com. A pronounced petrol aroma promises good things. Despite being slightly off dry, this wine really leans into tasty characteristics… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Chateau Ste. Michelle 2020 Riesling (Columbia Valley); $9, Vivino. The aromas are fresh, with notes of lime, white peach and flower… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Heinz Eifel 2020 Riesling Kabinett (Mosel); $12, Wine-Searcher.com. Hints of smoky, spicy Mosel minerality accent juicy grapefruit and yellow-cherry flavors in this ripe and lusciously textured but zippy kabinett… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Hermann J. Wiemer 2019 Semi-Dry Riesling (Seneca Lake); $18, Vivino. Ripe mango, papaya and pineapple jump from the glass, with zesty notes of tangerine and lime lending focus to all that richness… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Sweet Riesling

Bollig-Lehnert 2019 Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese (Mosel); $22; Wine-Searcher.com. Delicate but perfumed, this deft, sprightly Riesling offers rich, concentrated pink grapefruit and white peach flavors etched by lime and steel… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Inniskillin 2019 Riesling Icewine; $80/375 ml, Wine-Searcher.com. This Riesling Icewine offers sweet, honeyed flavors of apple sauce and peach pie, with accents of candied apricots and dried papaya… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Pacific Rim 2020 Sweet Riesling (Columbia Valley); $11, Wine.com. The aromas are bright, with notes of freshly cut apple and white peach… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

Willi Haag 2019 Juffer Brauneberg Riesling Auslese Grosse Lage (Mosel); $27, Wine-Searcher.com. While the nose is subtle and stony, the palate of this laser-edged Riesling shocks with deep, penetrating streaks of lime, lemon and grapefruit… SEE SCORE AND FULL REVIEW

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Published on January 12, 2022
Topics: Buying Guide