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October 25, 2021 | wine | Pacific Rim

Is Riesling a Dry Wine?

Is Riesling a Dry Wine?

Riesling comes as both a sweet and dry wine. Riesling is originally a wine made from grapes grown in the Rhine region of Germany. Initially, most Riesling made was of the sweet variety. However, over the past few decades, wine drinkers' tastes have changed, and they are choosing more and more unsweetened or dry wines as their beverage of choice. Is Riesling a dry wine?

dry white wine

How dry is a Riesling?  The dryness of Riesling wine is based on the content of residual sugar left at the end of fermentation. In general, if the wine has less than 10g/liter of sugar, it is considered dry. Riesling wines that contain more than 30 grams of sugar/liter are considered sweet. Anything in between is said to be off-dry wines.

Unlike red wines, most white wines like Riesling are usually dry. Other dry white wines include Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Gruner Veltliners, and Spanish Albarino.

Where is Riesling Produced Around the World?

Today, Riesling wine is produced in many countries other than Germany, including neighboring Austria and France. Outside Europe, Riesling is produced in Australia, Chile, South Africa, and the USA (California, New York, and Washington).

Grape Acidity

Riesling wine features make it so appealing to wine drinkers, but one unique characteristic is that the grapes are quite acidic.  The grape acidity is usually due to the environment (climate) it is grown in and the minerals in the soil. In general, unripe grapes usually tend to have high acid levels, and this acidity starts to drop as they ripen. 

Overall, grapes grown in cool or temperate climates tend to be more acidic due to the lack of sunshine and warmth, which are needed to boost the grapes' pH and sugar levels. Often the wine producer will artificially increase the acidity of the wine by adding tartaric acid before fermentation. This is frequently done when grapes grown in warm climates become overripe and have high pH levels.

How Dry is a Riesling?

Is Riesling a dry wine? If you want a dry Riesling, learn to read the labels. In general, look for the alcohol by volume (ABV) percentage on the label. If the ABV is less than 9%, then the wine is sweet. If the ABV is between 10-11%, then it is semi-dry and half sweet, and if the ABV is 12% or more, you have a dry wine. 

Most Riesling wines from Oregon, Washington, and California are dry. If you are buying the German Riesling, the label will say “Trocken,” which means dry. If all else fails, then simply taste the wine, and you will have your answer.

You can call Pacific Rim and Company at 1-503-863-5454 to have all your Riesling questions answered by a knowledgeable and experienced connoisseur.


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