The say you never forget your first. It was a bottle of Hillebrand Estates Winery 1988 Riesling that turned me from casual consumer to bona fide grape nut. Something about that beguiling wine, with its I can’t believe it’s not Mosel Kabinett Gothic script font, made me a believer. Not just in wine, but in Canadian wine, Niagara wine… and in Riesling, the first grape that stole my breath and gave me butterflies.
Since then the variety that many consider the best in the world, myself included, has continued to live in the shadow cast by bestsellers Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Consumer surveys suggest that people think Riesling is too sweet or too fruity so they opt for a wine with less-residual sweetness like the aforementioned Big Three. I’m not sure I buy that logic entirely, especially as we watch Moscato sales climb.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that more education needs to be done to expose (and espouse) the diversity of styles that Riesling is capable of making — from dry wines with piercing acidity to honeyed dessert wines like late harvest or Icewines.
It’s also necessary to showcase the diversity of passionate individuals who are dedicated to making truly spellbinding Riesling around the world as well as those chefs, sommeliers and other advocates that want to elevate the best bottles to global attention.
That is what We Heart Riesling is all about. Over the course of the next 94 days, the team at VINES Magazine look to join the chorus of true believers who are supporting the Summer of Riesling and the 31 Days of German Riesling programs. We think Riesling expresses the pinnacle of winemaking, viticulture and wine appreciation. If you don’t see eye-to-eye with that we hope that you’ll check back often with an open mind. If you do? We hope we can capture a fraction of what made you lose your heart and mind to Riesling in the first place so that you may rediscover that magic again. CHRISTOPHER WATERS