Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Yes: The Summer of Riesling has officially started. So what does that mean for you?
In case you missed the first six iterations of this restaurant-centric love-fest for all things Riesling, what happens is that, beginning June 21, a plethora of restaurants around the country agree to feature several Rieslings by the glass throughout the entire summer. There are also tastings, dinners, hootenannies (well, one hopes) and so on. The list of participants can be found at summerofriesling.com.
The purpose, of course, is to build awareness for Riesling, a great white grape that suffers from several misconceptions: First, that all of it is sweet (it isn’t), second, that it all comes from Germany (it doesn’t, though Germany is undoubtedly Riesling’s homeland), and third, that it’s weird and you’d be better off buying Chardonnay (definitely not).
It’s a wildly adaptable food wine. Good Riesling can go with anything from roast pork to oysters on the half shell, and if fact if you thumped any random sommelier on the side of the head and said, “Hey, buddy, what’s your go-to white when you’ve got a bunch of people ordering different things on the menu?”, then he or she would undoubtedly cry out, “Riesling!” In fact, I suggest you try this with the next sommelier you see.
So to help out the Riesling cause, here are five good (and affordable) bottles to check out, from five of the world’s wine regions best known for this delightful white.
Germany: The Mosel Valley
Washington State: Columbia Valley
New York: The Finger Lakes
Australia: Clare Valley
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