Australian Riesling vs German Riesling

Published on 09/25/2020 by Priscilla Hennekam

This photo is from 2018, when I was working on the Riesling grape harvest in the Mosel wine region, Germany. 

Riesling is a white grape of German origin, and it is expected that the largest plantation of the variety is in Germany, with more than 20,000 hectares. Australia is in second place in the worldwide production of Riesling. The grape variety arrived in the country in 1817 with John Macarthur and was also planted in 1833 by James Busby; known as the "father of Australian wine". And it doesn’t stop there, we can also find Riesling plantations in Austria and Alsace - France, in addition to other regions in the new world such as Finger Lakes and Washington in the USA, and New Zealand (with a small production).

The wines made with the Riesling grape generally have a high acidity, with aromas ranging from green apple and lemon to more intense aromas such as apricot and peach. As it ages, Riesling begins to show attractive aromas of nuts, toasts and honey.

Each wine region in the world is characterized by its “terroir”. Different wine-making methods, soils, climates and altitudes in each region, result in wines with different characteristics. Australian Riesling tends to be dry and with citrus and floral flavours, while European versions are voluminous and with varying degrees of sweetness (although the tendency to produce dry styles is increasing). Germany has a labelling system that includes the names from the driest to the sweetest (Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein.)

The diversity of Riesling styles is immense, the most refreshing and driest styles found in Australia harmonize perfectly with fish and seafood, and the semi-sweet styles found in Germany are wonderful with Thai foods. Botrytized styles and Eiswein (Ice wine) work perfectly with fruit desserts and intense-flavoured cheeses.

Yeah, I know you're dying to try a Riesling from Germany and Australia now, right? We are too!