Riesling is the Rhineland’s ultimate varietal and the Rhine Valley is recognized the world over as its birthplace. Some experts believe it was the argitis minor wine grape in Roman times, and its culture goes back to the Roman occupation. According to Stoltz, Riesling was introduced in the 9th Century in the vineyards of Rheinghau. In 843, just after the division of the empire of Charlemagne, Louis II le Germain planted gentil aromatique, along the Rhine. The grape variety soon adopted the name Riesling, originating from the word Reisen (fall, in German), for before it was acclimatised to Alsace, it was succeptible to coulure (during difficult climatic conditions such as rain at the time of budburst, causing buds to fall to the ground. Under such circumstances, the grapes cannot grow). Different to its German cousin, AlsaceRiesling was introduced to our region at the end of the 15th Century. It is widely cited during the next century, but its culture did not develop until the second half of the 19th Century. It was after the 1960’s that it reached the highest rank of production areas in Alsace.
Pale yellow in colour, with bright green tinges that emphasize its characteristic freshness.
The bouquet is elegant and racy, with delicate fruity aromas (lemon, citronella, grapefruit, peach, pear, stewed fruits…) and flowers (white flowers, limeblossom, white nettle…). It also offers aromas of anise, cumin, liquorice and fennel seeds. As it evolves, Riesling is unique in that, depending on the soil in which it is planted, it develops mineral aromas (gun powder, flint, gasoline, etc.). These highly distinctive aromas are found in terroir-driven wines such as the Grands Crus and “lieux-dits” (single, named vineyards).
This dry wine displays great vertical structure. It is characterized by intense freshness that can be appreciated from start to finish, whilst the mid-palate is defined by opulence and richness. The body, both racy and delicately fruity, makes this wine an ideal partner for haute cuisine. Riesling from Alsace possesses unique and distinctive flavours that develop great intensity in certain terroirs. It is a wine that can improve in bottle over several decades. Harvested late, Riesling “Vendanges Tardives” or “Sélections de Grains Nobles” yield extremely elegant wines, sweet to a greater or lesser degree, with generous body and extraordinary harmony.
Renowned as one of the best white grape varieties in the world, Alsace Riesling is an excellent food wine. In addition to pairing naturally with traditional Alsace dishes such as Choucroute and pork-based dishes, it has a natural affinity with fish and shellfish, such as scallops, gracefully highlighting the salty, almost iodene flavours of the sea. It is also delicious with poultry, white meats and even goat’s cheese. As a late harvest wine, Alsace Riesling is an ideal partner for citrus-based desserts such as lemon tart.
Orbicular, thick. Medium serrated edges.
Small, cylindrical or cylindrical-conical, short, woody stalk, compact.
Spherical, small, light green to golden yellow, dotted with red-brown spots at full maturity. Thick skin, with a delicate and aromatic flavour.
Along with Sylvaner, Riesling is the latest-ripening of the Alsace varietals. It needs cool nights in order to reach maturity, so that, rather paradoxically, the organoleptic qualities of the wine surpass those of more early varietals in an average year. This grape variety has no equal when it comes to expressing the terroir. It is best suited to poor and even stony soils, with abundant light exposure. It has a particular affinity to light, well-drained terrain.