We are thrilled to offer tastings again but there's always a sense of nervous energy when hosting one on Riesling, the sixth most planted grape in New Zealand with a miniscule two per cent of the country's 41,603 hectares of vines. We know many of our customers love and adore this great white grape but so many more misunderstand the role Riesling plays in the world of wine - for instance, it is not all sweet and the trend today is towards bone dry Rieslings.
Riesling also inspires a seemingly larger club of nerdy devotees than most other grape varieties. Many of its fans see Riesling as a world in itself when it comes to the vast swathe of wine styles it can make.
Bone dry, crisp glass of refreshing, succulent, super savoury white? There's a Riesling that fits the bill beautifully.
Or if a medium bodied, succulent, rich and honeyed wine is more up your street, Riesling ticks that box too.
It also makes many of the best super sweet dessert wines in the world which can last for decades, but these wines tend to be the smallest in volume.
So, is Riesling destined to the history books and the best wine cellars?
The short answer is: no because it's too admired and adored, but since Riesling has shrunk from 986 hectares in 2010 to 619 hectares this year, it is clearly not on the rise. Pinot Gris seems to have eclipsed its place, for now, but Riesling has a lot more going for it than the ubiquitous Gris.
What makes Riesling great?
It's one of the oldest known German grape varieties, first documented in 1435
It can age far longer than most wines, red or white, thanks to its naturally high acidity, which acts as a preservative
Powerful aromas, acidity, flavours and structure make Riesling well suited to dry, medium and sweet styles of wine
It's more versatile than most other wine grapes, red or white
So, we are diving into the delicious world of Riesling this month at a tasting upstairs at Regional, which will reveal the beautiful world of Riesling, young and old, to existing devotees and newcomers alike.
Riesling around the world
Hosted by in house wine adviser and Riesling lover, Joelle Thomson
Thursday 26 May 6pm to 8pm
Wines will be served with cheese, salamis and a handout on Riesling.
The line up
2013 John Forrest Collection Dry Riesling
Mystery aged Riesling from Joelle’s cellar
2017 Domaines Schlumberger Grand Cru Riesling Saering
2019 Mount Edward Riesling
2019 Pegasus Bay Riesling
2014 J J Prum Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Spatlese
2014 Jim Barry The Florita Riesling
How to attend...
* Statistics from New Zealand Winegrowers Vineyard Report 2022.