Archives for posts with tag: Summer of RIesling

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!

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Teaching Terroir: Domaine Ehrhart-Pfohl 2011 Riesling

Proud Canadians are trained to love our fresh and fruity Rieslings from the moment of our very first sip. Cool, crisp and offering apple and peach flavours in a glass… what’s not to love? But there are other flavours that Riesling can offer that are just as compelling.

At first sniff, Domaine Ehrhart-Pfohl 2011 Riesling (Alsace, $13.95, 282186) is clean and offers some fascinating floral notes. Having been fermented in stainless steel like all your other favourite fresh wines, this wine from Alsace captures the local terroir, which makes the wine intriguing but is still true to the grape.

Alongside the floral aromas are lemon, apple and mineral notes. The palate is consistent with the aromas, adding lime and melon to the mix, while the finish is crisp, clean and zesty.

Whether looking at a fresh New World Riesling or an aged and layered Old World Riesling, we feel that every bottle has a time and a place that will suit your summer soundtrack.

Paul Grieco shares his mad love for the world’s greatest grape

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

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