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Riesling Revival, Myth or Reality

germany riesling wine

There has been an awful lot of press recently about Nigella Lawson and her series on BBC2 TV, recommending Riesling as a superb grape variety to match with food. We have been hearing for the past 10 years about a Riesling revival, the renaissance of Germany’s classic grape variety, whether it is grown in Germany or in Australia New Zealand or South Africa.

Our company history is very much tied in with German wines as our original company founded by my parents, The Wine Schoppen Ltd which was situated on the corner of Archer Road and Abbeydale Road South (Sheffield) was specifically started to import the finest end of German wines, mainly Riesling Grape variety, to the UK for the first time. This culminated in the award from the wine magazine as the UK German Wine Merchant of the year.

So why then did we need a revival if the wines were so good?

The real problem for this style of wine happened in the mid 1980s when the Austrian ethylene Glycol scare was prevalant. Effectively adding anti-freeze to grape must to boost sugar was not the best way to advertise the quality of the product, especially as both Germany and Austria were renowned for their purity laws. Scandals followed in Germany and the wines of the best estates which were pure clean and vibrant were tarred with the same brush.

The 1990s turned into a New World Fiesta with people clambering for the taste of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand as well as Chardonnay from Australia and South Africa. German Riesling became less and less trendy.

This really is a shame. A good Riesling is about as good a white wine as you can buy. The Riesling grape offers big juicy fruit, massive acidity, big body and legs and a chance to age for 30 years or more. No we are not talking about Liebfraumilch, but estate bottled wines from the Rhine and Mosel, Nahe and Rheingau as well as the Rheinpfalz and Franconia.

Whichever style you try, take Nigella’s advice and try it with food. In terms of value for money you cannot beat it, with many wines being well under the £10 bracket even now, when we were selling them at about that price over 20 years ago!

The Riesling revival might actually start to happen if people take it seriously once more!

An article by Andrew R. Coghlan for City Business Magazine (Nov 2007)

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