#AskMelissa – Are All Rieslings Sweet?

wH Guest: I’ve heard people say they don’t like Riesling because it’s sweet. Is all Riesling sweet?

For goodness sake, NO! Based on conversations I’ve had with other industry folk, this is one of the most frustrating assumptions that consumers make. Not all Riesling is sweet. I repeat, not all Riesling is sweet.

Honestly I feel bad for the grape. All it wants to do is be awesome and pair beautifully with [insert any and every cuisine here]. Instead, when I say “Riesling,” most people make a weird facial expression as if they had just licked a dirty sock.

So here’s my challenge for you: Give Riesling a shot. It really is an amazing food companion because of its beautiful natural acidity. If you’re looking for dry styles, look for the word “trocken” on the label (which means “dry” in German), or as luck would have it, many producers are conveniently putting the word “dry” directly on the front label (presumably so people don’t make the dirty sock face). You can also look at the ABV: Usually sweeter Rieslings are between 8-10.5% ABV, while drier ones are above 10.5-11% ABV. However, if you’re a fan of spicy food and haven’t tried an off-dry/sweet Riesling yet, that is seriously a crime punishable by forcing you to lick a dirty sock.


Have a question about wine? Ask Melissa (melissa@chicagowinehouse.com)!