From aromatic Thai curries to traditional pork chops, this perfumed grape enhances a wide variety of flavours

P30 Winesupp Dec06

Riesling’s combination of perfumed fruit character and steely acidity makes it a match for a wide range of dishes. In particular, it’s great with spicy foods. The citrus qualities make it compatible with the fresh coriander and lemon grass flavours of Thai dishes, while its acidity cuts through the heat and rich flavours of a good masala or chicken tikka. Likewise, it’s excellent with Chinese food, especially sweet and sour dishes. The acidity provides a foil to the sweet elements, while the sour enhances the grape’s natural sweetness to create a balance of flavours. It’s a yin and yang thing of the mouth.

It’s also a great partner to rich, fatty dishes. While it hasn’t got the body for a fine fat duck, riesling is the business with foie gras or a pork chop, its acidity cleansing the palate after each mouthful.

P30 Winesupp Dec06

Cheat Sheet

Petrol head
Don’t worry if you get slight aromas of four-star wafting around the fruity fragrances – petrol is a component of the perfume profile of many rieslings.
Down Under debate
Australians used to label their Hunter Valley Semillon as Rhine Riesling. An agreement with Europe in the late Eighties put a stop to this, but many Aussies remain confused as to why their favourite home-grown riesling is now a semillon.
Just desserts
Riesling in its sweet incarnation has been much maligned, but the authentic sweet German versions – ie Auslese and Trockenbeerenauslese rather than Piesporter – are among the great wines of the world. The grape’s acidity, balanced by unctuous, silky-sweet flavours, stops these stickies from being, well, too sticky. It also gives them incredible ageing potential.

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