German Riesling: Food’s most formidable ally

Welcome.  I know you’re busy, and may appreciate me getting right to it, so to speak.  So here it is: with a small investment of our time, curiosity, and focused attention, German Riesling offers the finest value in the world of wine.  Many of us have already discovered the fascinating and rare flavors offered in this category, as well as Riesling’s unmatched ability to partner with virtually everything we regularly eat.  But that so many (including a woeful number of industry professionals) continue to perpetuate the baseless misconception that German Rieslings are deficiently sweet and consumed by novices not yet graduated to the more sophisticated virtues of dry wines (!) seems callow at best and blatantly dishonest at worst, not to mention perniciously misleading in either case.

I admit to feeling a bit like a lawyer defending a category of wine so much the target of unwarranted slander.  Were that the case, for a small fortune might hinge on the facile task of producing, by drinking the wines, irrefutable evidence for German Rieslings as singularly delicious wines of utter originality.  (And if I were channeling my inner shark, I’d pull out a $20 Selbach-Oster Kabinett to show that for an eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head sort of experience, these are the most outright inexpensive wines in the world.)

With German Riesling, a supremely fine and capacious varietal finds its most searchingly beautiful voice, with outstanding wines produced in styles ranging from feather-light and ethereal Mosel Kabinetts, to tenderly sapid Nahe Spätleses, to rare late-harvest delights that undeniably number among the most viscous, massively concentrated, and timeless wines produced anywhere on our planet.  That nearly all of the best German Rieslings remain pitifully underpriced is a fact evidenced by uniformly excellent values offered through  This, of course, means that we can afford to explore and experiment as these extraordinary wines insinuate themselves into fixtures at our dinner tables.

The simple affinity of grape and place obviates culinary versatility.  If you’re new to this, here’s the short explanation.  The northerly positioning of Germany’s best Riesling vineyards conspire with the grape’s inherent predilection for much of the country’s geological underpinnings to ensure wines possessed of two eminently crucial elements at the table: high acidity and low alcohol.  The first generates the synergy between wine and food, cleansing the palate and triggering a compelling counterpoint to the flavors of myriad dishes, especially those with spicy or fatty flavors and/or rich textures.  Low alcohol manifests as a certain modesty or graciousness, possessed by wines whose lively, finessed personalities allow them to marry seamlessly with an exhaustive array of ingredients and cooking methods.

For me, this means that I never have to fuss about building a meal that works well with a good bottle of German Riesling.  Whether seafood, poultry, pork, veal, and whether the sauce is rich and creamy or pungent and vinegar-based, these wines will embrace your food indiscriminately.  Further, nearly all partner seamlessly with cheese, from soft, buttery chèvres to intensely powerful and aromatic blues.  In short, no wines on earth are as useful and practical as these lithe, uniquely beautiful creatures.

– Jason Jacobeit

3 thoughts on “German Riesling: Food’s most formidable ally

  1. Reblogged this on the winegetter and commented:
    Jason Jacobeit over at nabberjabber has written poetically about his love for rieslings, and I fully agree. I just got back from a family reunion in Oregon, and while I am trying to catch up on my writing, this makes for a pretty good read…Enjoy your summer wines!

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