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About Riesling

Wikipedia Article About Riesling on Wikipedia

Riesling is a white grape variety and varietal appellation of wines grown historically in Alsace (France), Austria, Germany (see German wine), and northern Italy. It is a very old grape, first documented in 1435, in which year the storage inventory of the Counts of Katzenelnbogen (a small principality on the Rhine) lists the purchase of six barrels of Riesling from a Rüsselsheim vintner. Rieslings are sometimes considered a good “introductory wine” for novice wine enthusiasts though wine lovers of all experience can certainly enjoy the elegant complexity of this grape.

The most expensive wines made from Riesling are late harvest dessert wines, produced by letting the grapes hang on the vines well past normal picking time. Through evaporation caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea ("noble rot") or by freezing, as in the case of ice wine (in German, Eiswein), water is removed and the resulting wine offers profoundly richer layers on the palate. These concentrated wines have more sugar (in extreme cases hundreds of grams per liter), more acid (to give balance to all the sugar), more flavors, etc. Due to its concentration, late-harvest Riesling is among the longest-lived of all wines. The beneficial use of "noble rot" was discovered in the late 18th century at Schloss Johannisberg (when the permission from the Abbey of Fulda, which owned it, to start picking the grapes arrived too late, the grapes had begun to rot, yet it turned out that the wine made from them was still excellent and actually better).

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