I will admit, I did some serious unnecessary hating on Riesling for quite some time. I will be the first to say I was wrong...real wrong. This beautiful grape is far from the sweet wine, one-step up from Boones Farm, that I once thought it was. The perfect balance of tart and sweet. So versatile. So great with so many foods. I could go on and on. Now, not all Rieslings are made equally. There is a reason I once compared it to Boones Farm. I am partial to German and Alsatian Rieslings, which is why I dig this Clean Slate. It comes from the heart of Germany's wine region, Mosel. This region is known for their slate soil, offering perfect growing conditions for this grape. The ripening period is prolonged due to the slate, allowing for max flavor development and crisp acidity. Grapes from Upper Mosel offer fresh, peach flavors, Lower Mosel provides mineral notes, and Middle Mosel brings the spice. Clean Slate takes grapes from the Upper, Middle, and Lower parts of Mosel to create a beautifully balanced wine.
Understanding the label on a German Riesling:
Understanding the label will make sure you are getting the style Riesling you want based on levels of quality and sweetness.
Quality Ripeness, grape quality, and regional specificity help determine the quality of the wine. In order from low to high quality, wines will be labeled as such:
Landwein or Deutscher Wein
Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP)
Sweetness Also referred to as "level of ripeness," Prädikatsweins may be classified further based on this characteristic. In order from least to most ripe:
Kabinett: ranges in style from dry to off-dry
Spätlese: typically richer and sweeter than Kabinett, unless the bottle also has the word "Trocken," in which you can assume it is a dry style with higher alcohol
Auslese: these grapes have noble rot and are hand-selected, producing sweeter and bolder wines
Beerenauslese: these are grapes that are picked once they have hit the "raisin" state and have acquired noble rot, making them very rare and precious dessert wines
Trockenbeerenauslese: the most rare of all the Rieslings, these grapes have completely raisinated and dried out on the vine
Eiswein: these grapes are frozen on the vine and pressed while still frozen, hence the name "ice wine"
There is so much more to what makes Riesling so great, but I hope this "down-and-dirty" version answered your pressing questions.