HOME > Chowhound > Wine >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

The Most Versatile White Wine on Earth?

TombstoneShadow Jan 9, 2014 10:07 PM

The cover page of the October 2013 Food & Wine caught my eye with this headline: " The Most Versatile White Wine on Earth ".

The headline refers to an article titled "The Case for Riesling" by Megan Krigbaum.

As my many posts on riesling show, I'm a diehard fan of this luscious varietal and really welcome this informative article. Megan provides a tremendous backgrounder to the "wide-world" of riesling from the vast range of styles, terroir differences in it's many growing regions, pairing suggestions,etc.

In fact, she makes a compelling case that riesling is the world's most versatile and food-friendly wine period, not just white wine.

Highly recommended reading. I haven't located the article online but here are some excerpts: http://www.foodandwine.com/articles/worlds-best-riesling-wine-regions?utm_content=bufferf48d9&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer

Links to suggested pairings: http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows...

  1. c
    collioure Jan 19, 2014 08:51 AM

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    About to order some Riesling (and Gewurz) from Château d’Orschwihr whose wines are mostly exported.

    Anyone here have an opinion on Château d’Orschwihr?

    2 Replies
    1. re: collioure
      TombstoneShadow Jan 20, 2014 12:01 AM

      Definitely have an opinion... try to find 2007's, the best Alsatian vintage of the past 10 years or more IMO.... enjoy.

      1. re: TombstoneShadow
        collioure Jan 20, 2014 12:44 AM

        Thank you. The Orschwihr Riesling Enchenberg Vieux-Thann 2007 is the one I would like to prefer, but I'd love it if someone here knew Orschwihr.

    2. grayelf Jan 16, 2014 12:29 AM

      I know almost nothing about wine but when I read the title of the OP Riesling immediately popped into my head.

      1. Robert Lauriston Jan 15, 2014 05:57 PM

        I've had fine old Riesling Spätlese with beef and it was a great pairing.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          TombstoneShadow Jan 15, 2014 10:20 PM

          This is a very important point...

          Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese do have different pairing characteristics which seem to transcend the greater sweetness and really go to the flavor itself, especially in food pairing.

          I notice it in pairing riesling with cheese... For my palate, Colby and Leyden pair better with SPatlese. Gouda pairs much better with kabinett.

          Gruyere is "fair" with spatlese and verging on yucky with kabinett. Parmesan and spatlese has a funky quality... better but not great with kabinett. I find cheddar "bitter" with spatlese but almost enjoyable with kabinett.

          The best match for both: emmentaler.

          Back to the post on spatlese and beef... can't recall trying this pairing but I would not find it suprising that it matches significantly different than kabinett.

          Riesling can certainly pair splendidly with beef sausages...

          1. re: TombstoneShadow
            john gonzales Jan 19, 2014 03:47 PM

            To me if one is combining sekt through TBA then one is considering the variety not the WINE. The wine would to me require choosing one type.
            Anyway If I had to look at it as having one specific wine I'd choose champagne. If I could cheat and then include rose bubbly.

            Personally, I don't care for riesling with red meat and I eat a good amount of it as an entree. I'd just as soon have pinot/burg with a white fish or as a cocktail wine, as I would try to stretch riesling through a red meat entree, unless it had a spicy/sweet sauce.

            That's just me.

        2. linguafood Jan 15, 2014 11:18 AM

          Riesling is the best white wine, period. Versatile, complex, delicious.

          1. Tripeler Jan 15, 2014 06:46 AM

            To me, Riesling is from the land of extremes. Some of the best white wine I have ever had has been Riesling, and some of the worst. It really requires skilled winemaking, I suppose.

            Actually, in my experience, the same has been true with Viognier. But I always give it a try.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Tripeler
              TombstoneShadow Jan 15, 2014 11:15 AM

              Extreme white wine to my palate: chardonnay.

              When it's "on" there's nothing better for me... but most of it is average to mediocre unfortunately.

            2. ChefJune Jan 14, 2014 01:54 PM

              While I do agree that Riesling is probably the "most versatile white wine on earth," the extremely versatile white wine that nobody but wine geeks know about is Gruner Veltliner. :)

              6 Replies
              1. re: ChefJune
                zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 02:01 PM

                Depends, June, upon where you live. I dare say there is a lot more Austrian GV consumed here in California restaurants than there is German and Alsatian Rieslings combined.

                1. re: ChefJune
                  TombstoneShadow Jan 14, 2014 02:15 PM

                  Scheurebe also relatively obscure...

                  The first time I encountered it I had byob'd several choice gewurztraminers to lotus of siam in las vegas around 1995 or so.... The owner's son took interest and asked if I'd ever tried scheurbe... Tried it? I never heard of it... just delicious with thai food and it comes off as a "cousin" in flavor to riesling and gewurztraminer.

                  These are all great and versatile wines... riesling, gewurz, gv, scheurbe.... and killer matches with the right foods.

                  1. re: TombstoneShadow
                    zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 02:56 PM

                    Joseph Phelps used to make one when Walter Schug was still their winemaker in the 1970s.

                    1. re: zin1953
                      maria lorraine Jan 14, 2014 03:27 PM

                      They still make it and call it Eisrébe.

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 03:51 PM

                        Thanks, ML

                  2. re: ChefJune
                    autumm Jan 15, 2014 09:09 PM

                    I had a wonderfully happy week in Austria sampling all the Gruener Veltiner's I could, and I just love it. It plays so well with so many foods. I seek it out, but rarely find it outside of very well stocked wine shops in my area.

                    A good riesling is always welcome around these parts. Cause it plays nice with almost everything. Some parings might not be optimal, but not "bad" especially for a wine novice

                  3. Bill Hunt Jan 10, 2014 07:19 PM

                    In general terms, I agree about the versatility of Riesling, and rely on it for many "difficult" dishes.


                    1. ChefJune Jan 10, 2014 11:31 AM

                      I agree mostly...

                      I don't want Riesling with Prime Rib, thank you.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ChefJune
                        byrd Jan 14, 2014 12:12 AM

                        Leftover Prime Rib sandwich, a bit of dijon/mayo with a Kabinett or Spatlese might work...

                        1. re: byrd
                          zin1953 Jan 14, 2014 07:39 AM

                          Uhhhh, no.

                          Years ago, I went to a tasting and dinner in Monterey, CA hosted by the producers of the Charta Estate Rheingau Rieslings -- see this NYT article for more: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/06/02/gar... Other attendees were wine buyers and sommeliers from the top restaurants in Monterey and Carmel, along with several winemakers and wine writers.

                          The producers present included Weingut Eberhard Ritter, Edler von Oetinger, Verwaltung der Staatsweinguter, Schloss Vollrads, Furst Lowenstein, and Weingut Georg Breuer -- among others. There were at least 12-15 producers present, IIRC, perhaps more.

                          At the tasting portion of the evening, the wines SHINED! They were outstanding. Truly.

                          Then came dinner, prepared by a Michelin-starred chef who came over from Germany with the winemakers of the estates (all of whom were also present).

                          The Sekt served with the mushroom soup worked . . . sort of. Riesling with the next two courses (a pâté, followed by a perfectly poached salmon) were beautiful pairings. But when they brought out the Riesling with the rack of lamb, I think we all struggled. Indeed, one of the winemakers leaned over to me and said, "Wouldn't you just kill for a Pomerol right now?"

                          / / / / /

                          Riesling *IS* one of the world's most versatile wines and, as I think we all agree, is seriously under appreciated in the US *and* across much of the world. Color me "guilty" -- I love Riesling, and I readily confess I often overlook it. (It's a bit like, "D'oh! I coulda had a V-8!") That said, I made a concerted effort and increased my Riesling consumption in 2013 over 2012, and everyone I served it to loved it.

                          But I continue to draw the line at beef and lamb. ;^)

                      Show Hidden Posts