Cheers

Don Kavanagh is the editor of Hospitality magazine.

The great lost grape

By Don Kavanagh

2 comments

Don is the editor of Thirst magazine.

Don Kavanagh believes riesling covers all the bases from value to taste. Photo / Thinkstock
Don Kavanagh believes riesling covers all the bases from value to taste. Photo / Thinkstock

I was at a tasting recently when someone stood to ask me a question.

In fact, she wanted to ask me three questions, but being the economical type of guy I am, I managed to give her just one answer.

Her questions were: what did I think was the best-value wine variety in the country, what was my current favourite wine and what would be the next big star of the New Zealand wine scene?

The answer? Riesling.

For me, riesling has it all: structure, ageing potential, versatility and most of all, flavour. Any grape that can cover the range from bone-dry to lusciously sweet and everything in between has to be a winner.

The only real question I have about riesling is when is the rest of the country is going to tumble to it and start buying it in vast quantities? Perhaps not any time soon, though.

While winemakers, writers, judges and buffs go quietly ape over New Zealand riesling, the general public seems oddly apathetic.

Maybe it's the appalling abuse riesling has suffered in the past coming back to haunt wineries. Once there were awful, bland, sweet wines made from Muller-Thurgau grapes but labelled "Rhine Riesling".

Riesling is a hard sell, harder by far than pinot gris, which has a fraction of riesling's character and flavour.

Forget your thin, insipid pinot gris and sauvignon and take the top off a bottle of riesling today. You won't regret it.

Gladstone Riesling, RRP $24
Wonderfully crisp nose, with citrus and a hint of flint. Almost austere on the palate, with a mouthwatering acidity but it still keeps that lovely lime and lemon zest character. If you like a dry wine, this is the one.

Waipara Hills Riesling, RRP $21.90
A more medium style of riesling, with a whack of melon and star jasmine on the nose and a beautifully ripe palate, soft as a down mattress, but built around a nice acid spine. As slinky as a sack of snakes.

- NZ Herald

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