Riesling Weiss, or Riesling as it is commonly called, is a green grape from Germany.

Characteristics
Riesling Weiss is a variety that produces grapes with high acidity that are highly aro­ma­tic. It is a va­ri­ety that fits well with cold cli­mate, hence its pop­u­lar­i­ty in for ex­am­ple Ger­many. If grown on sites where it will have prob­lems in becoming fully ripe, the grapes will express vegetative notes, so, given the fairly short ripening period in cold climate areas, it must be planted so it has access to as much warmth as possible. However, being of thin skin, it can have a problem with too much of direct sun exposure.

Aromas and flavours are typically of green apples, citrus, mineral and honey in young wines. When of age you can expect to find more tropical notes, for example of apricots.

You might also find Riesling wines where your nose will say Petroleum. This will happen when the wine’s level of TDN is high.

Riesling Weiss is used to make wines in the whole range of sweetness, from Dry to the truly Sweet, late harvest wines. It is also used to produce Sekt, the German sparkling wine. Riesling wines are known to be age worthy.

Wines
With Riesling Weiss, we have in front of us a variety that is reported to grow in no less than thirty-one countries. Of course, you will be able to find really nice wines in a lot of places.

The one’s from Germany’s Rheingau and Rheinhessen are particularly known for their crispiness and, if from the really best sites, their elegance.

Food pairing
Since Riesling is produced in all kinds of sweetness, it can also match a huge variety of dishes. A dry Riesling varietal or sparkling wine will pair excellently with Grilled Fish or Roasted Chicken, especially if you’re preparing a creamy sauce to go with the dish. The wine is best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.

An off-dry or semi-sweet Riesling will be a nice pairing with a well-seasoned dish, for example Chicken Tikka Masala, Thai Green Curry Chicken, or Kung Pao Chicken. Serve the wine at 10-12°C/50-54°F.

A sweet, e.g. a Beerenauslese, an Eiswine or a Trockenbeerenauslese, is a marvellous pairing with Mold/Blue Cheese or an Apple and Fruit desert. The wine is best served at 8-9°C/46-48°F.

Where is it grown?
Riesling is a world-wide renowned variety. Its total acreage is 49.997 ha/123,546 ac, making it the eighteenth most planted grape on the planet. Its reported acreage has, furthermore, grown with fifteen percent between 2000 and 2010.

The number one country when it comes to growing Riesling is Germany. In 2010, the four regions Pfalz, Mosel, Rheinhessen, and Rheingau accounted for more than seventy-five percent, with Württemberg, Baden, and Nahe reporting large planted areas as well.

Plantings larger than 1000 ha/2,471 ac are reported from

  • Germany 22.434 ha/55,436 ac, MPG 1, PTPA 22%
  • USA 4.852 ha/11,990 ac (an increase with 147%), MPG 11, PTPA 2%
  • Australia 4.114 ha/10,166 ac (an increase with 31%), MPG 8
  • France 3.513 ha/8,682 ac (an increase with 3%), MPG 26
  • Ukraine 2.702 ha/6,677 ac, MPG 7
  • Austria 1.852 ha/4,575 ac (an increase with 13%), MPG 7
  • Moldavia 1.343 ha/3,319 ac, MPG 13
  • Hungary 1.304 ha/3,222 ac (a decrease with 19%), MPG 18
  • Czech Rep 1.181 ha/2,918 ac (an increase with 4%), MPG 4

Plantings of between 1.000 – 350 ha/2,471 – 865 ac are reported from

  • New Zealand 979 ha/2,419 ac (an increase with 100%), MPG 6
  • Russia 882 ha/2,179 ac (a decrease with 36%), MPG 9
  • Canada 871 ha/2,152 ac (an increase with 81%), MGP 4
  • Croatia 676 ha/1,672 ac, MPG 7
  • Slovenia 676 ha/1,671 ac, MPG 12
  • Slovakia 605 ha/1,494 ac, MPG 6
  • Italy 446 ha/1,103 ac, (a decrease with 26%), MPG 117
  • China 437 ha/1,079 ac, MPG 6
  • Chile 367 ha/907 ac (an increase with 28%), MPG 19

In thirteen countries, there are plantings of 210 ha/ 519 ac or less, down to 1 ha/ 2,5 ac. In order of reported area (large to small) they are South Africa, Spain, Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Portugal, Uruguay, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, Greece, and United Kingdom.

One country, Bulgaria, reported plantings of 647 ha/1,599 ac in 2000 that were not in the reports for 2010.

History
One-hundred and fifty synonyms is an indication that Riesling Weiss is an old variety, and indeed, there is documentation of the variety that dates backs to the fifteenth century. Its origin is recognised as western central Germany, in Rheingau. This is along the river Rhine, where still today the largest plantings of Riesling are reported to be.