Pacific Rim
June 19, 2023 | wine | Pacific Rim

What Does Riesling Taste Like?

When people hear ‘Riesling’, they may immediately think of sweet wine. While there are many sweet Rieslings, this wine can also range from sweet to bone dry and everything in between. What does Riesling taste like? Riesling is considered to be a refreshingly delicious aromatic white wine that is native to the Rhine region in Germany. Today, Riesling is produced in many places, including Washington State, and it still boasts the crisp flavors of a wide range of orchard fruits, along with a high level of acidity. It is one of the few white wines that can age gracefully for many years and still retain its quality.

Bartender pouring white wine from bottle into glass


The Aroma

Before you taste even a drop of Riesling on your tongue, the experience begins with the aroma while it is still in the glass. While the aroma depends on where the Riesling is from, in general, all Rieslings will have an aroma of orchard fruits, like apples, pears, nectarine, apricots, or peaches. Some may also include softer, lighter scents of lime and jasmine. But along with the lighter scents, the older Riesling may also have a more obvious aroma of petroleum wax or petrol, which can be a plus or a negative, depending on your preferences.

Riesling Taste

What does Riesling taste like? When it comes to the taste of Riesling, one of the first noticeable things is the high level of acidity comparable to what is found in citrus fruits, like tangerines and oranges. However, the younger Riesling produced from unripe grapes will have notes like lemon, lime, or green apples, as well as hints of jasmine and chamomile.

Riesling, which is produced from ripe grapes, is a rounder beverage with aromas of pears, peaches, apples, grapes, apricots, and oranges. The sweet Riesling will have a stronger taste of peaches and apricots, whereas the dry Riesling will have more intense notes of grapefruit and apples. Plus, it is not uncommon for the sweeter Riesling to acquire spicy aromas of ginger, cinnamon, and anise.

Is All Riesling Sweet?

The answer is no, not all Rieslings are sweet. What does Riesling wine taste like? In reality, the majority of Riesling wines produced globally are dry or off-dry. Even in Germany, where sweet Riesling was once the iconic beverage, the population now prefers the dry style of Riesling wine.

Alcohol Content

What may come as a surprise to many people is that Riesling, in general, is a low-alcohol wine, but the amount of alcohol can be higher when it is produced in warmer regions.

Overall, Riesling has a low ABV (alcohol-by-volume) that averages between 8-14 percent, but it really depends on the brand and the sweetness. The drier the Riesling, the higher the alcohol content.  Riesling from Oregon and Washington generally has a low ABV, which makes it a very pleasant wine to drink, even in large amounts.


What does Riesling taste like? One of the key features of Riesling wine is its high acidity, which gives it a tart and crisp taste. It is this high acidity which allows the wine to slowly mature in a bottle without going sour.

Age of Wine

The taste of Riesling also depends on its age. What does Riesling wine taste like? The younger Riesling tends to express more fruity notes, but the character of the fruit depends on where it is grown. The fruity notes may include luscious stony fruits to sweet citrus fruits. In addition, it is not uncommon for the young Riesling to acquire aromas of flowers and spices like jasmine, honey, ginger, and beeswax.

Food Pairings

Riesling is one of the few white wines that can be easily paired with almost any food type, but it pairs exceptionally well with spicy cuisines like Indian, Tex-Mex, and Thai. Some of the best food pairings include cheese and charcuterie, and it also goes well with sweet dishes.

Final Note: What Does Riesling Taste Like?

If you really want to know the answer to ‘What does Riesling taste like?’, try some of our affordable, top-quality Riesling wines:




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