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Treating Riesling with respect

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Pegged as one of those varieties that are always going to be “too sweet,” Riesling tends to have a bad reputation among many wine drinkers. According to the International Riesling Foundation, Rieslings have roots in Germany, but are now made all over the world. They come in varying degrees of dry to sweet, making them “the ultimate food wine, as well as a great sipping wine,” the website claims.

The beverage team at Sway aim to help educate patrons in the diversity of the grape with a new addition to the main wine list featuring just Rieslings (and Riesling-like wines). Director of Operations Nate Wales said the style is much more broad and complex than people give it credit for, and should be enjoyed not only in the summer but year-round, which is one of the reasons why they wanted to give it permanent special attention on the menu.

Wales says the other reason they chose to feature Rieslings over other white wine styles, is because he believes they are the perfect complement for the Asian cuisine they offer.

“The balanced elements of acidity, sweetness, minerality, tropical fruit and petrol are amazing counterpoints to the spicy, sour, crunchy and bitter sweet notes found throughout our food so why not give it its own list?”

One of Wales’ favorite brands on the menu is the Cahteau Montelena from California, which has “tons of tropical fruit, honeysuckle apricot, well rounded on the palate.” He also offered up several other suggested menu pairings, below.

If you are looking to explore the grape outside of the dining world, The International Riesling Foundation has also worked to help consumers navigate through the style, by designing a tasting profile graphic that is featured on more than 26 million bottles in the U.S. So next time you are at a store, look on the label to see if the IRF dry to sweet spectrum is listed.

Recommended Riesling pairings at Sway:

gundlach bundschu gewürztraminer, 2012, sonoma coast, california

paired with: nashi pear chicken

bischöfliche weingüter, “scharzhofberger” riesling, spätlese, 2011, mosel, germany

paired with: salt & pepper blue prawn with red chili nahm jim

markus molitor riesling, kabinett, 2009, wehiener sonnenuhr, mosel, germany

paired with: texas wagyu beef jungle curry