Learn Your Wine: Riesling

By Betchy Crocker

Hooray for white wines – which are totes betchy, don’t stain our lips, and are like, less calories I presume.

Today we’ll explore Riesling – a super sweet but super yummy wine great for those who aren’t as into drier whites and reds.


Originating in the Rhine region of Germany, the Riesling grape is aromatic and nearly floral in its quality.  Think of Riesling as pretty much the exact opposite of Chardonnay. It’s lighter, crisper, sweeter, and usually has no contact with oak.

Types and tastes:

There are a few “styles” of Riesling – most of which are distinguished by sweetness. Additionally, Riesling can take on different characteristics depending on where the grape is grown: 

  • The sweet variety of Riesling has lots of residual sugar. It tastes like lush super ripe fruit and usually has notes of peach, honey, and apricot. However, a good sweet Riesling should never be syrupy like, say, a mead (made with fermented honey and water).
  • The semi-sweet Riesling variety is crisper than the super sweet kind. It also has ripe fruit flavors but they’re not as noticeable. 
  • Lastly, the dry Riesling variety is crisp and clean – not “muddied” with lots of honey or floral notes. It also has fruit flavors, but they’ll be more sharp in nature yet toned down by the mineral quality. If you end up buying a Riesling from the Alsace region, for instance, you'll have a crisp and dry wine which is more expensive than the sweeter varieties.

Drink with:

So like, Riesling is one of those classy bitch wines that you usually can’t find in a box (unlike its slutty and similar cousin, Moscato), but that doesn’t mean this is an off-limits, too-fancy-for-trashy-holiday-party wine. It goes with like, everything, food-wise, so this one is kind of a no-brainer:

  • The sweetest variety of Rieslings are best for desserts or aperitifs – think of it the same way you’d think of a Port wine.
  • For the semi-sweet variety, you could pair with Asian cuisine (trashy Chinese or Thai will do) of pretty much any variety. Think of where you’d want plum wine at a Japanese place and go from there.
  • The dry variety Riesling will pair best with chicken or fish, although pork works too for the non-Kosher betch.

So, get on out there and try Riesling, this betch’s fav wine. It’s sweet and sophisticated – like us … sometimes.




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