Pacific Rim
August 5, 2021 | wine | Pacific Rim

The Essential Guide to Riesling Wine

Riesling Wine 101

Riesling wine is readily available in North America, but most consumers know very little about its history. This refreshingly delicate aromatic white wine is native to regions along the Rhine River in Germany. Besides Germany, Riesling is also made in Austria, throughout eastern Europe, South Africa, Australia, France, and the United States

Two glasses of white wine (Reisling) in vineyard

The wine is highly acidic in nature because it boasts a wide range of fruity flavors like apricots, apples, limes, pears, and peaches. A feature unique to Riesling wine is that it is one of the few wines with an iconic tall and slender bottle shape that makes it easily recognizable on the shelf. 

The History of Riesling

Riesling’s history can be traced to the Rhine wine region of Germany, where it was the preferred beverage of German royalty. It was a wine that was commonly consumed during business dealings by the Europeans during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Early on, it was quickly realized that Riesling was one of the few rare wines that aged gracefully and developed a high-quality taste over time. 

This is one of the common reasons why the best Riesling wines are often stored for decades and can be found in the basements of many estates. Part of the reason for its high quality is due to the high level of acidity. During the aging process, it is now known that a compound called TDN is secretly giving the wine its hallmark petrol-like aroma.

Riesling Producers

In the Rhine region, the majority of Riesling produced is medium- to full-bodied and more acidic. Besides Germany, Austria and France also produce very high-quality Riesling wines that tend to be light-bodied and sweet or maybe very dry.  Outside Europe, Australia is also a major producer of dry Riesling wine, which characteristically has unique citrus flavors.

In North America, Riesling is produced on both the East and West Coasts. On the West Coast, the wine is typically dry and contains mature stony, fruity flavors.  A delightfully 2018 Dry Riesling wine, produced in the beautiful Yakima Valley in the State of Washington, is pure and crisp, with jasmine, citrus, and mineral flavors to delight the senses.  The soils in the Yakima and Horse Heaven Hills areas of the larger Columbia Valley are ideal for producing complex Riesling wines.

The Taste of Riesling

In its youth, Riesling is most well-known for its fruity flavors. These fruity flavors depend on which part of the world the wine is produced. In Germany and France, it is known to have flavors of apples, apricots, peaches, and pears, but in Australia, the wine is most commonly associated with flowery tastes, including citrus, jasmine, and even stony fruits. In addition, as the wine ages, it will also pick up other flavors like beeswax, honey, ginger, and the distinct petrol aroma.

Is the Wine Sweet?

Most Riesling wines that come from Germany are sweet due to the grapes, but in other parts of the world, the wine may be dry.  A bottle of 2019 Sweet Riesling is processed in such a way as to maintain as much fruitiness and freshness as possible, with peach and pineapple flavors. 

A 2019 J Riesling, with the “J” and then the capital “R” standing for “Just Right” because that’s what it is – just right.  Both dry and sweet Rieslings are so popular, it seemed “Just Right” to craft a wine in between those two.  This charming Riesling works well with spicy dishes, while the acidity goes well with German and French foods that are richer and heavier. 

A wonderful dessert wine, the 2018 Vin De Glacière Riesling has about 16 percent residual sugar with nuances of jasmine, pear, and honey and a well-preserved natural acidity.

Pairing Riesling with Food

Riesling can be paired with a wide range of foods, but it is ideally best consumed alongside spicy and hot foods, like Thai curries, Indian biryani, or hot Chinese noodles. The high acidity of the wine will tame the hot spices and keep the palate refreshed after every bite. Other foods that pair well with Riesling include Mexican cuisine, roast duck, Cajun cuisine, and most Italian foods.

When Should I Drink Riesling Wine?

The best Riesling wine can be consumed at any time, it is ideal for the summer and warm nights. The reason is that the high acidity and the crisp taste will seduce you into making a spicy barbecue, followed by a cooling sensation after drinking a glass of sparkling Riesling wine. To maintain the freshness, Riesling wines are at their best when refrigerated and served cold.


Good Riesling wines are very affordable at between $10.99 and $16.99 when you purchase them online from Pacific Rim and Company or at a store that carries their products near you.  Pacific Rim is passionate about Riesling wines.  They care about the land and are responsible stewards in their sustainability practices to keep the State of Washington beautiful.

Whether you choose a dry or sweet Riesling or one that sits in the middle of the road and is “Just Right,” you can’t go wrong with a selection from Pacific Rim and Company.  They are very conscientious about using the best sustainable grape-growing techniques for low-input winemaking. 

In the vineyards, they conserve water by not overwatering the grapes and also use the natural yeast from the grapes for the fermentation process.  Go online today to check out their story and see the vast selection of the best Riesling wines available now for purchase.  You can enjoy your favorite Riesling soon!


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