Its almost something of a cliche, ask any sommelier what their favourite grape is and I can almost guarantee the answer will be either Riesling or Gruner Veltliner for the white. Its kind of a badge of honour, to distinguish the real sommeliers from the wannabe's. And if you press them as to why they named that grape, the answer will include such treasures as versability, diversity, compatability.
So I guess im going to stick to the cliche, because Riesling is one of my favourite white grapes. Im a sucker for the aromatic whites, and for me a good riesling fills all the criteria I look for. I do tend to prefer the drier styles typical of the new world, but I love the rich aromas it develops with maturity in the germanic style. I have a very dear friend who also loves riesling, and Im hoping to get her to bring me some Long Island Rieslings from New York when she comes home in december.
Two reasons I love riesling:
1) Dry River Craighall Riesling, Martinborough, New Zealand - Dr Neil McCallums Dry River winery has been making world class Riesling for a number of years. His wines are produced in tiny quantities, 2-3000 cases a year, and they frequently sell out their tiny allocations. The Craighall Riesling is a late harvest riesling that shows intense citrus/lime aromas on the nose in its youth, but with carefull cellaring develops the wonderfull secondary aromas of kerosene, candied peel and spicy notes. Its style could best be described as off dry, in its youth, the acidity keeps the sweetness at bay, but as it matures it gains an added richness and robust flavour. Truly a marvelous example of the potential of Riesling.
2) Max Ferdinand Richter "Brauneberger Juffer" Riesling Kabinnet, Mosel, Germany - with a 300 year history of winemaking, the Richter family can be sure that they know what they are doing. I think that this wine is a prime example of a good quality Mosel Kabinett riesling, juicy fruit sweetness upfront, well balanced acidity following leaving a crisp dry finish to the wine. Reasonably priced and with the potential to age well over a decade or so, these are an ideal addition to any wine cellar.