My F&W
quick save (...)

Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

RSS
Wine Wednesday

3 Rieslings Fit for a German Wine Queen

All hail Nadine Poss, the 65th German Wine Queen! 

read more
Tasting Room

5 Ways to Celebrate the Summer of Riesling

Yes: The Summer of Riesling has officially started. So what does that mean for you?

read more
Cheap Wine Challenge

A Napa Valley Sommelier’s Go-To

Kelli White, of Press in Napa Valley, oversees a luxe list, but at home she turns to this inexpensive Alsace Riesling.

read more
Cheap Wine Challenge

A Fantastic Finger Lakes Riesling

At Christie’s, Richard Young is used to tasting $500-plus bottles of wine. Here, his $17 pick (that you can sometimes buy for $14).

read more
The Usual

Sazeracs: They Get the Job Done

“I drink Sazeracs,” says chef Jeff McInnis of New York’s upcoming Root & Bone. 

read more
Essential Drinking

Winter's #1 Party Riesling

Winter's #1 Party Riesling

Because it pairs with such a vast array of foods, Riesling is one of the smartest wines to bring to a dinner party. This one, made by star winemaker Johannes Leitz in Germany's Rheingau region, is an especially good choice. Read more >

read more
F&W Rant

The Truth About Riesling

Wine expert Paul Grieco.

To borrow from Stephen Colbert, there is a "truthiness" about Riesling that unfortunately overshadows the truth. The truthiness is that Riesling is inherently sweet. The truth is that most Rieslings are so dry that the Garden of Eden would lose all its foliage if watered with a magnum. So let's start another conversation about Riesling, focusing on four things: balance, delicacy, complexity and sense of place.

We sometimes think of balance as one-dimensional. In fact, balance in wine requires a multiplicity of things—acids, sugars, pH levels, alcohol, magic dust—all in perfect alignment. And the cool thing about Riesling is that when one of these factors moves across the spectrum, the others shift to maintain equilibrium. There is no precise formula to measure balance; we just know it when we feel it. And what we feel with a glass of Riesling in our hand is what tightrope walker Philippe Petit feels every day at work.

Delicacy does not mean fragility or excessive sensitivity. Ultimately, the delicacy we yearn for in wine is a physiological rallying cry leading from one sip to a second. The palate should be so intrigued by what the wine has done to the taste buds that it cannot resist the opportunity to experience it again. With Riesling, one taste begs for another.

Complexity Put on your seat belt, because the journey through the various aromas and flavors of Riesling is a thrill ride that even Six Flags could not map out. Around every bend are citrus fruits, stone fruits, fruits that haven't even been named yet, coupled with floral overtones and buttressed by minerality that's like a quarry of boulders.

A grape's ability to express the land in which it's grown is one of the world's great mysteries (slightly below our fascination with Kim Kardashian). We recognize the existence of terroir when we line up five glasses of Riesling, from different places, and recognize the differences between them. That is Mother Earth screaming at us in liquid form!

Ultimately, the measure of truthfulness in Riesling is the happiness it creates. Your brain reels after every sip; your toes tingle so much you cannot put your socks on. As Ben Franklin famously said, wine is constant proof that God loves us. And with Riesling, we know God loves us absolutely.

Paul Grieco is co-owner of Hearth restaurant and Terroir wine bars in NYC.

Related: More from F&W's October Wine Issue
Riesling Wine Pairings
Guide to Perfect Wine Pairings

Wine Wednesday

It's Summertime, Drink Riesling

advertisement
The Dish
Receive delicious recipes and smart wine advice 4x per week in this e-newsletter.
The Wine List Weekly pairing plus best bottles to buy.
F&W Daily One sensational dish served fresh every day.
advertisement

Tune in on Wednesdays at 10PM ET for Top Chef: Boston, the 12th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Already looking forward to next year (June 19-21, 2015)? Relive your favorite moments from the culinary world's most sensational weekend in the Rocky Mountains.