Swirls: Riesling Rendezvous -- the good news and bad about riesling

Ted Baseler, president of Chateau Ste. Michelle, opened the conference here this morning in Bellevue, Washington with some good news: young people are embracing reisling more than ever; people are discovering its ability to match with exotic cuisine; and lighter-alcohol wines, a category into which riesling falls, are now “very contemporary.”

The bad news: the sweetness issue and lack of knowledge about dry rieslings remain a challenge; other burdens include the language of riesling and the words often used to describe it, including “racy acid, rot, diesel, petrol, young. Doesn’t that sound inviting,” Baseler asked, “when we’re talking about acid, rot and petrol? Right now, anything to do with petrol is not a good thing.” Lots of laughter after that remark.

Ernst Loosen, owner of Germany’s Dr. Loosen estate, also cited “the tangled web of foreign words” but noted that the range of diversity of riesling is what makes it so fascinating even if it is “hard to embrace by consumers.”

A fascinating tasting of 14 dry rieslings followed; notes and comments to follow.

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