The world is rediscovering what some think is the greatest white grape
She’s the sexy, mysterious sister that slinks in the shadows. Tall and lithe; underneath she’s spicy and racy. Gives you goose bumps. Gets under your skin. Only speaks when she’s spoken to; never gives it up after one sip. But once she lets you in, you’ll never forget her.
Discovering riesling is a bit like love.
Hailed by many critics as “the greatest white grape variety in the world,” riesling is perhaps the most misunderstood, especially in South Africa, where, outside wine-snob circles, it’s usually recognised as dubious, sweet and cheap.
That’s because we’ve been duped. Right up until the 2010 South African vintage, tonnes of quaffable white has been flogged as “Cape” or “Paarl” riesling. But these bear no resemblance to the noble grape; they’re in fact the inferior variety, crouchen blanc. The “oops!” happened when crouchen blanc vines imported from France were mistaken for riesling.
Little wonder true riesling has had a stunted growth in SA compared with other parts of the new world; Aussies and Kiwis glug it like water, and in the US, riesling and sauvignon blanc sales are neck-and-neck.
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