Don't be chicken, wing it with riesling

Riesling is one of the most versatile food wines ever created, but with loads to choose from, here are some tips to help you find the right bottle.

Be a bit daring this summer by picking up a glass of riesling. Photo / Thinkstock
Be a bit daring this summer by picking up a glass of riesling. Photo / Thinkstock

What says summer more than a platter of hot, just-off-the-grill chicken legs slathered in smoky, spicy barbecue sauce and paired with a chilled bottle or two of a crisp white wine?

Make that white a riesling. You'll get a dry, lively flavour that can take the saucy heat and an intriguing aroma.

Riesling is one of the most versatile food wines ever created, the pros all agree. You can add it to everything from Thai green curry chicken to trout in a French mushroom cream sauce.

Don't look for the grassy tang of a sauvignon blanc or the buttery plushness of a chardonnay. Rieslings are distinct, original. You have to be a bit daring to try them.

Don't be afraid of riesling

Rieslings come in a wide variety of styles, from bone dry to honey-sweet. Unfortunately, it usually takes some detective work to discover the flavour profile of a particular bottle. Here are some tips on how to do that:

1. Read the back label, looking for any flavour description or suggested food pairings. Some wineries are now displaying a "flavour" graph that shows just how sweet or dry the given wine is. This is a great idea that more wineries should adopt.

2. Check the percentage of alcohol in the bottle. The lower the number, the sweeter the wine is likely to be.

3. Look for wine recommendations in newspapers, magazines or at online wine sites.

4. Immediately write down the name, vintage and maker of any riesling you encounter out at restaurants or in a wine shop tasting.

5. Turn to the staff of your favourite wine or liquor store. They're there to help you. Because they know what you like or dislike, they can zero in on just the right bottle of riesling for you.

- AAP

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