Riesling is the most common varietal cultivated in Zell, a town in the Mosel, Germany. Zell’s 331 ha of vineyards makes it the second largest region in the Mosel, after Piesport.
As the 31 days of German Riesling continue, we want to honour the country for its incredible grape. Germany dedicates a considerable amount of their vineyards to the crisp white, producing 61.4% (http://www.germanwineusa.com/pdf/riesling-vineyards-worldwide.pdf) of the world’s Riesling. No other country can come close to their production.
Next up is Australia (12.1%), followed by France (9.9%), the United States (4.9%), Austria (4.8%), New Zealand (2.5%) and Canada (1.3%).
Germany’s long-standing history with the fabulous grape and creative winemaking practices has rightfully given the country the reputation of being experts and ambassadors for the crisp white wine.
The country’s rocky soils, diverse vineyards and cool climate have produced some of our favourite bottles of Riesling and we hope you’ve embraced the Motherland and its wine queens just as much as we have. And if you haven’t then hurry up, there are only 11 days left in the 31 days of Germany Riesling!
It wasn’t surprising when Vineland Estates Winery swept the gold medals in both the dry and semi-dry Riesling categories at the recent Ontario Wine Awards. Their world-class Rieslings are created with elements of history and passion. Located on the Beamsville Bench, the St. Urban Vineyard is modelled after the St. Urban-Hof vineyard in Germany and was planted by its founder Hermann Weis.
Today, the winery is true to its roots and produces outstanding Rieslings in the Germanic style, including its flagship wine, Vineland Estates 2009 St. Urban Riesling ($19.95, 038117, vineland.com). With prominent citrus, green apple and mineral notes on the nose, this fresh and lively wine is well-balanced – the key to third-generation winemaker Brian Schmidt’s creations. The puckering mouthfeel is complemented with flavours of pear, peach and lime and has a long finish.
Try it with white fish, chicken or fresh summer salads. Better yet, if you love German Riesling and are gearing up for the Canada Day long weekend, grab a bottle and turn on the Euro Cup and experience the best of both worlds. ANDREA FUJARCZUK
Paul Grieco, co-owner of Hearth restaurant and the Terroir wine bars in New York City, doesn’t just enjoy Riesling, he’s fanatical about it. In fact, he describes his Summer of Riesling initiative as an über love affair in Technicolor with the world’s greatest grape.
For the fifth year in a row, unless you’re willing to spring for a bottle, the only white wine option you’ll have at Terroir this summer will be Riesling. And at Hearth, an entire half of the white wine list will be devoted to the aromatic white.
The Toronto native launched the Summer of Riesling program in 2008 out of a deep-seated passion for the grape and with an aim to get people drinking, talking about and reconsidering Riesling. “Riesling encapsulates everything that I define a great wine by: delicacy, balance, complexity, longevity, terroir and yumminess,” says Grieco. Last year, sponsored by the International Riesling Foundation, Summer of Riesling went from a project among Grieco’s enclave of restaurants, to 222 establishments around the U.S. This year, the goal is to sign up 500 U.S. restaurants and 100 retail stores, as well as get a foothold in the Canadian market by enlisting several restaurants around Toronto. Restaurateurs who partake in the program needn’t only serve Riesling, though. Grieco simply asks they serve at least three Rieslings by the glass.
The goal is to continually spread awareness, and with Toronto situated only an hour and a half away from one of the world’s greatest Riesling-growing regions — Niagara — the hope is that Summer of Riesling will get people talking and garner even greater international interest than it’s already accrued.
Australia and New Zealand adopted the Summer of Riesling movement last year, inspired and supported by Grieco. Last year also saw the initiation of 31 Days of German Riesling — a program Grieco and his partners teamed up with Wines of Germany to develop and promote.
Participants are asked to serve at least two German Rieslings during the month, so for those restaurateurs signed on for Summer of Riesling, two of the three Rieslings must be German.
Grieco’s philosophy is: If you drink Riesling you will become a better person. With 94 days of summer, there’s plenty of time to at least try. KELLY SCHWEITZER