Riesling is a high acid wine, and for this reason, can be incredibly long-lived. Although the grapes ripen to high sugar levels, the wines produced can be quite low in alcohol. This is due to the fact that many producers leave a little residual sugar in the finished wine as a counterbalance to its bracing acidity. Many Rieslings from the Mosel area of Germany, for example, are often under 12% alcohol; some are even as low as 7 or 8%.

The charm of Riesling is in its kaleidoscope of flavors and aromas and the taste bud’s tantalizing play of acidity, sugar and fruit across the palate. Riesling, as a table wine, is a study in delicacy and nuance. Although full-flavored, the wines are seldom power-packed. The dessert Rieslings, however, are high-impact and world-renowned.

Riesling is the preeminent grape variety in Germany and is an important grape in Austria and Alsace, France as well. New Zealand and Australia are making fine examples of this wine in cool-climate areas, as is the USA and Canada.

But there are many grapes world over that masquerade as Riesling. Only White Riesling or Johannisberg Riesling are synonyms for true Riesling. For example: