How to read German Riesling labels

Many wine-drinkers don’t appreciate the virtues of German rieslings. The usual complaints are that labels are too difficult to understand, and that most of the wines are so sweet. But there’s a great variety of Riesling in the marketplace and the diverse types pair very well with a wide range of foods. We’d like to take the guesswork out of choosing a German Riesling wine to help you select wines you’re most likely to enjoy or the most appropriate ones to send as unique corporate gifts. In doing so, we’ll provide some helpful information on pairing these delicious and dynamic wines with food and provide links to some great wine club options.

The labels on these wines can be difficult to decipher (unless of course, you can read German) Key terms for dry Rieslings, are halbtrocken (half-dry) and trocken (driest). These words combined with the grape varietals below will determine how dry the wine will taste.

Kabinett – This is the driest of the Rieslings with a semi-light body. Kabinett is a good complement to seafood, sushi, Asian entrees, Thai entrees, vegetables, garlic dishes and light poultry or pork entrees.

Spatlese – This is made from “late harvest” grapes that are overripe and is often an off-dry wine with a medium-body. Spatlese works well with spicy foods, fruit dishes, seafood, fatty and oily dishes like pork and rich, smoked meats.

Auslese – These “selected harvest” grapes are selected and handpicked from very ripe bunches in the autumn. Auslese can be sweeter than the Spatlese and well balanced. These wines are a great pair with rich cheeses, spicy foods like curries, pork and Szechuan dishes like duck with sweet & sour sauce.

As for the sweeter, dessert Rieslings, you can choose from:

Beerenauslese -Great with apples, peaches and cream, pie and even caramel.

Trockenbeerenauslese – Drink this wine alone but if you insist on pairing, choose a ripe, crisp fruit.

Eiswien – Another dessert wine to drink alone, or if you have an intense sweet tooth, pair with a decadent dessert.

A great way to learn more about these wines or to share the experience with others is to send wine of the month club. Whether you’re inviting people over for dinner tastings or sending a 3 month Wine Club or as unique corporate gifts, there’s no substitute to trying the different wine gifts and picking which ones you like best. Choosing a wine of the month club will help you expand your tastes, whether you enjoy a dry Riesling such as a S. A. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett Wine or a balanced fruity S.A. Prum Essence Riesling Wine.

Mel and Rose Wine Clubs: