Everything You Need to Know About… Riesling with Erst

This July, Erst is celebrating the King of Grapes (and in-house sommelier Kim McBride’s favourite grape variety) - Riesling.

Kim McBride is a huge fan of Riesling, and she is of the school of thought that it is the perfect wine for summer, which is why Erst are celebrating all things Riesling this July.

I had a chat with her to find out about this delicious grape variety as well as sampling a couple of her favourite wines that are available on the menu as we speak.

Riesling is a grape variety that hails from the Rhine region where Germany kisses France and Switzerland. Nowadays, it is one of the most sought after and collectable wines in the world by top sommeliers and connoisseurs around the globe.

The grape is best known for its natural sweetness and fruit aromas that rise from the glass, even when it is ice cold. Classic notes are of orchard fruits like apricot, pear and apple and even pineapple which range in sweetness depending on the ripeness of the grapes.

Riesling is known for its botanical flavours on the nose too such as honeycomb, jasmine or lime peel. It is not unusual to have a slight smell of petrol or petroleum in Riesling wines too which comes from a natural compound in the grapes called TDN.

On the palate, Reisling has high acidity which gives a lovely tartness with its sweetness which creates a bright, easy-drinking wine which is best served cold (or 6° C to be exact).

Erst has kicked off their 31 glorious days of German Riesling this July with two beauties by the glass from the iconic Mosel Valley and with 2000 years of winemaking history how could we start anywhere else?

The Mosel has around 9000 hectares of vines growing on its steep slopes, the majority of which are Riesling grapes. Although it is famed for luscious sweet wines which age for decades, Mosel also produce wines which are bone dry like the Pauly Purist 2016.

Axel Pauly harvests his grapes a little later in the year which gives the wine opulence and richness of fruit. Like with most Mosel wines, the Pauly Purist has mouth-watering acidity and pairs beautifully with seafood and fresh, acidic dressings. Erst matches it with their Salt Cod and Blistered Tomatoes.

Kim tells me that Erst couldn’t celebrate German Riesling without serving an Auslese.

Auslese wines are made from very ripe late harvest grapes and can only be made in very good, slightly warmer, years. On the Erst list at the moment you will find the Andreas Bender Hofpasch Auslese Riesling 2015.  It is light, refreshing wine with white grape, lime and gooseberry notes.

An ideal pairing with light desserts like the Prosecco Sorbet with Green Strawberries but Kim’s favourite food match with Auslese Riesling is cheese, particularly mild, creamy cheeses like Dorstone Goats Cheese.

So forget everything you’ve been told about German Riesling, pour the Blue Nun down the drain and give Riesling a chance…you won’t regret it, and that is a promise from Kim herself.

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