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Riesling Wine and Food Pairing – Perfect Matching

Riesling is a rather misunderstood and underappreciated wine. With origins in Germany, interpretations on this varietal have taken off across the globe, with a wide range of expressions. Because of the grape’s natural acidity and early ripening qualities, it can adapt rather seamlessly into either a bone dry or very sweet style based on climate and winemakers’ choices.

Such adaptability means there are plenty of rubbish Rieslings on the market, either far too tart or sickly sweet. The good news? There is an ample supply of superb Rieslings out there, particularly here in Australia, where you can find an affordable bottle to suit just about any occasion, meal or palate.

People most commonly associate Australian Riesling with SA, specifically Clare Valley and Eden Valley, which produce the most classic expressions of the wine – think fresh, zesty and vibrant. Producers from cooler climates across the country, however, are making some very interesting and beautiful stuff, ranging from intense minerality and boisterous florals to crisp sweetness.

Depending on where and how Riesling is grown, expressions of the wine can be wide ranging

Generally speaking, wines with acidity (ahem – Riesling, people!) do quite well with food. Here are a few suggested starting points for pairing Riesling with grub, along with some of our favourite Aussie bottles, which are quite the bargain:

Seafood

Nothing complements fresh, delicate seafood dishes like a classic dry Riesling, such as Pewsey Vale’s Riesling from Eden Valley, SA ($28). Well suited for a balmy summer evening, a glass of this will be refreshing, crisp and dry with notes of citrus – perfect to serve alongside a lemony-pasta with prawns, a pot of steamed mussels or try matching with a beautiful snapper fillet.

Classic Rieslings go beautifully with fresh seafood

Check out the Australian Riesling Challenge 6 pack

This wines were selected from the recent Riesling Challenge which showcases Australia’s finest

 

Spice and bold flavors

Off-Dry (or semi-sweet) Rieslings are commonly paired with spicy foods, and there is good reason why – plenty of acidity with just a hint of sweetness offers a big playing field for meal pairings. Thai curries and heat-packed Indian dishes do well with these types of Rieslings (we love Hochkirch’s from Henty, VIC at $35). A glass of this also shines when served with bold, savoury flavours, such as a pungent cheese plate.

Dessert

A sticky, sweet Riesling, like Brown Brothers late harvest Patricia Noble Riesling from King Valley, VIC ($36), has its place, and that is alongside dessert. Whether it’s crème brulé, apple tart or date pudding, try a glass of this with your next sweet dish and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

The world of Riesling can be a tad confusing, and even intimidating, since there is such a wide range of styles available. Once you taste your way through some decent bottles from SA, WA, Tasmania, and Victoria, though, we reckon you’ll want to stock your fridge full of this understated wine, as there is nearly always a bottle that will enhance your next meal.

James Halliday selected this Australian Riesling 6 pack

These wines were selected by James Halliday as some of the best expressions of the variety in Australia

Want to know more about pairing wine with food? See what we think works best with Rosé and Chardonnay.

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Jill Haapaniemi

Jill Haapaniemi

Jill is a lover of all things food and wine. As a food blogger and recipe developer, she is passionate about sharing meals with others, never without a bottle of something to enhance the experience. She spends her free time at her partner’s family winery just outside of Melbourne, and can usually be found drinking Oregon Pinot, wines from the Rhône Valley or Victorian Shiraz.
Jill Haapaniemi

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