It happens, with friends, that you taste a white wine blindly even without wanting to, because someone quickly poured it into the glass. If it is Riesling, this is probably the least complicated white wine to recognize. You just need to know the key aspects and have done some practice.
One of the most famous and most peculiar white wines in the world, native to Germany ... let's see how to recognize Riesling blindly, at the first sip but perhaps even before.
What does Riesling grapes smell like?
Riesling is a semi-aromatic grape variety: the grapes are characterized by faint floral aromas. After alcoholic fermentation, the smell of the wine continues to have a dominance of floral notes. With the passage of time, completely peculiar hints of hydrocarbons gradually emerge and intensify.
How to recognize Riesling?
1. The color ranges from pale straw yellow with greenish nuances in young dry wines to straw yellow with golden reflections in those aged in barrique.
2. If young, Riesling expresses itself more on unripe fruity notes (lemon, lime, cedar, green apple). There is no shortage of flowers : hawthorn, jasmine, wisteria, chamomile. Warmer Rieslings have softer fruity notes (peach, pear, grapefruit, apricot, apple, exotic fruit). If evolved it develops notes of butter, honey, wax . And then the famous hydrocarbons (don't be fooled: they are very pleasant).
3. In the mouth it is fresh and mineral .
What are "hydrocarbons" in Riesling?
Riesling has a unique flavor profile. On the nose it expresses intriguing notes, of hydrocarbons in fact, which recall kerosene: a bit like the smell that came out of our grandparents' stoves.
What causes Riesling's typical hydrocarbon scent?
The molecule responsible for this peculiar scent is called 1,1,6-trimetril-1,2-dihydronaphthalene (TDN). It is a powerful odorous molecule, with a very low perception threshold.
What should you pair Riesling with?
These are very versatile white wines and you can indulge in food-wine pairings . Excellent with fish, molluscs and crustaceans because the mineral notes go very well with the iodine flavors of the food. But pairings with chicken and other white meats, as well as goat's cheeses, are also worth trying.
Tips for tasting Riesling
1. Uncork the bottle half an hour before tasting.
2. Pour it into a medium-sized glass : it is a complex wine.
3. Serve it at around 10°C .