International Riesling Day

International Riesling Day


March 13 is officially International Riesling Day, created by the German Wine Institute.

The idea is obviously to promote this noble grape variety which can give some of the greatest white wines on the planet, but above all to demystify the myths that surround it. The first, which is also the most tenacious, is the one who claims that Riesling is a sweet wine. Nay! Although Riesling production in Germany has long been dominated by wines with high residual sugar levels (partly to counter the often pronounced acidity, which helps achieve balance on the palate), most are very dry today. They can especially be spotted when they bear the mention “trocken” on the label, which translates into French as “dry”.

That said, nothing is simple in the world of wine. German law considers a wine to be dry up to a maximum residual sugar content of 9 grams per litre. Everything comes back again to the sacrosanct sugar-acidity balance. In other words, some wines with more than 4 grams of residual sugar (the standard recognized elsewhere in Europe to designate a dry wine) can appear perfectly dry to the palate thanks to their pronounced acidity. Without this residual sugar, the acidity of the wine would make you wince so much that you could lose your teeth! I'm just exaggerating…

Despite these subtleties, keep in mind that Riesling has an astonishing propensity to bring out the character of the terroir from which it comes. Sommelier Alain Bélanger, a fine connoisseur of German and Austrian wines, likes to say that Riesling is like “rock water”. Planted in the right place and skilfully vinified, it can produce stunning wines. This explains why, Riesling continues to grow in popularity, and Quebec is no exception.

Here are three that will allow you to explore some of its facets.

Drink less . Drink better.

Frey, Riesling 2020, Rheinhessen, Germany $20.40 – SAQ Code 13839745 – 12.5% ​​- 4 .7 g/L – Organic

It is the archetype of good balanced Riesling. Flavors of citrus, apricot and coriander. Ample mouth, barely sweet, but the acidity brings a nice vivacity and gives the impression of biting into the fruit. Serve chilled as an aperitif with a bowl of chips or to accompany your favorite fried foods.

★★ 1⁄2 $$

Donnhoff, Tonschiefer Riesling Trocken 2020, Nahe, Germany $34.50 – SAQ code 14574208 – 12% – 3.5 g/L

A Riesling produced by one of the best producers in Germany. It comes from vineyards in Leistenberg (in Nahe) which are distinguished by clay-schist soils, hence the name

“Tonschiefer” which means “clay slate”. We could place the quality level of this Riesling between a village and a Premier Cru of Burgundy. Tones of peach, lime zest, apricot and rock dust. A crystalline wine (the famous “water of rock” by Alain Bélanger) with a refined, vibrant and delicate touch. Saline and vaporous finish. Warning: high picolability index!

★★★ 1⁄2 $$$ 1⁄2

Siegloch, Sandhase Riesling Trocken 2019, Landwein, Germany $35.75 – SAQ code 14468931 – 12.5% ​​- 1.4 g/L

Lovers of orange wines, know that Riesling can give interesting wines from skin maceration. This is the case here with this bottle which has a lot of deposit. It is recommended to leave it standing for several hours and to decant it to facilitate service. A slightly funky nose of marmalade, yeast, ginger and undergrowth. Good presence in the mouth, the fruitiness intertwining with a feeling of bitterness felt. Of appreciable length with a “mineral” impression on the finish. For experienced amateurs.

★★★ $$$ 1⁄2


★ Correct

★★ Good

★★★ Very Good

★★★★ Excellent

★★★★★ Outstanding

More stars than dollars: well worth the price.

As many stars as dollars: worth the price.

Fewer stars than dollars: the wine is expensive.