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Wine expert puts Riesling to the test

Thu 23 Jul 2009 15:16

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Riesling wine is often misunderstood as cheap sweet wine, which has tarnished its reputation.

This is because people often think of Liebfraumilch from the 1970s, which usually didn't contain a drop of Riesling.

Riesling is actually a very fine wine, and Reisling grapes are sometimes regarded as some of the greatest around.

Here are wine expert, Tom Cannavan’s top picks of this type of wine.

1. Asda Extra Special Clare Valley Riesling 2007, priced at £5.98 at Asda

This Australian wine is from Clare Valley, a real hot-spot Riesling in the country. It is made by the highly-regarded Tim Knappstein, and like most from this area it is totally dry and more full-bodied than German examples.

Nice and fresh for summer, this wine has flavours of limes, nectarines and beeswax, and goes nicely with shellfish, garlicky seafood, salad Caprese and sushi.

2. Dr Loosen Dr L Riesling 2008, priced at £6.74 at Sainsburys

From the Mosel Valley, the most famous German region, this wine has a typical off-dry style but with superb acidity, which gives it balance. It’s only 8.5% alcohol, compared to the normal 12-14%.

This wine is good on its own as an aperitif or with fragrant Chinese or Thai food. it has flavours of red apples, lemons, peaches and almonds.

3. Mount Horrocks Cordon Cut Riesling 2008, priced at £14 from Woodwinters (Bridge of Allan and Edinburgh), Villeneuve Wines (Edinburgh and Peebles), and Luvians (St Andrews and Cupar)

A real rarity, this luscious Australian dessert wine is made by a unique process: when the grapes are fully ripe, a team of workers goes through the vineyard snipping the fruit from the vine, but leaving the bunches lying in amongst the branches. As long as the weather stays fine, the fruit dries and turns to semi-raisins. When it is then pressed the juice is thick and super-sweet, making a rich, decadent sweet wine but with great acidity.

This is a really unique wine for a very special occasion. A half bottle will serve six people because it is so rich and powerful that you don’t need much. Serve at a dinner party instead of dessert if you like as it’s so sweet, or it also goes well with fresh fruit desserts, such as roasted pears or apples.

This wine has delicious flavours of limes, oranges, honey and leaf tea.


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