(22% of total cultivation area)
Riesling is without question Germany` s grape variety number 1. Genetic research has confirmed that this white grape is the result of a Heunisch cross with a Traminer seedling.
Riesling is the most extensively grown variety and grown throughout the whole of Germany with more than 21,000 hectares. However Riesling is also grown in France (Alsace ), Austria, Slovenia, Italy (southern Tirol ), Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, America, Chile and New Zealand. Worldwide 13th on the list of most widespread grape varieties covering a total of 60,000 hectares.
Characteristics and requirements:
Riesling is one of those varieties to ripen a lot later than it`s relatives (mid October to November ) and is often the last sort to be harvested. Of all varieties, Riesling has the highest essential requirements to its cultivation site. Ground soils capable of retaining and giving off heat are priority number one in order to allow the grapes to reach maturity.
Soil quality, mineral and nutrient content however, take a back seat. Riesling grows just about anywhere. This frost hardy little fellow has upright growth, maturity profiting from airy cultivation methods and a little fertilization.
Ideally its vigorous habit may be stifled using optimal stock and the use of restrictive nitrogenous fertilizer. Yield reduction is achieved through selective green pruning through which quality levels benefit.
Given the ideal conditions, our Riesling is quite capable of reaching, on an average site, must weights of 70° to 80° Oechsle. Yet not only the must weight determines the quality of a good Riesling. It is the acidity which lends character and mirrors the soil conditions on which it has been grown.
The wine itself:
Although the Riesling has a prominent varietal character and is distinguishable by its` apple, peach and citrus fragrances, it is definitely a “terroir” wine. This means the soil conditions and micro climate play an important role in influencing fragrance and taste.
On the palate, a fine Riesling is full bodied and should enfold with fruity acidity, high in extracts. Riesling wines are therefore dense in taste and low on alcohol.