In case reading that heading makes you feel dazed and confused: yes, it does mean red Riesling, and it’s not a joke. The white queen has a red sibling! Well, red… let’s make that pinkish in berry and white in the glass. But it’s rare. To my knowledge it’s been almost extinct until 2006, when a few producers in the Rheingau started to look after it.
Some people tag red Riesling with the buzz word „indigenous“, and think of it as Ur-Riesling. Well, here is a quote from Wine Grapes (Jancis Robinson’s totally fascinating and generally very thoroughly researched read about the world of grape varieties – highly recommended!): „Genetic investigation has established that the mix of berry colours in the same bunch is most likely due to complex mutations in the bud. Therefore it can’t be considered a forerunner to Riesling…“ Sorry guys… But does that really matter? I don’t think so.
Ur or not, it adds an intriguing facet to the world of Riesling. At a recent small tasting of various Rheingau Red Rieslings, my favoured one came from Corvers-Kauter in Oestrich-Winkel. In general I would say (and I admit that that tasting was my first exposure to the white queen’s red-white sibling) that the pinkish berries yield a wine that seems to be a touch more rounded and bold than the queen, both in aroma and in texture. In the Corvers-Kauter wine in particular, the acidity sang a very seductive nordic tune, making for crystal clear freshness. Red, pink or white – this is good stuff.
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