Don’t be surprised to come across signs in Tel Aviv this month that read “I Love Riesling.” It is part of a campaign that started in New York to promote the virtues of one of the world’s most noble grape varieties.
Riesling – and I am referring to the German variety, not to Emerald, Laski, Welsch or any other imposter – is astonishingly underrated and undervalued by many of the world’s wine drinkers.
Yet to the serious wine drinker and confirmed Riesling fan, this grape variety produces some of the greatest of all white wines.
Riesling is very versatile. It produces wine that covers the full spectrum from bone dry white wines with great acidity to delicately balanced semidry wines, as well as frothy sparkling wines to luscious dessert wines. The Riesling aroma will always be delicate and not blowsy, reminiscent of wild flowers and honeysuckle.
The wines will show a refreshing minerality and reflect a sense of place. They will not be oaky or high alcohol. In fact, they are ideal wines for both our climate and cuisine.
The person who has led the Riesling campaign in Israel is the charismatic, talented Aviram Katz. He is the sommelier of Toto Restaurant, arguably the leading wine restaurant in the country.
By his example and through his dynamic lead, Tel Aviv will be giving this focus to Riesling. I recommend you make the most of it.
The king of Riesling is, of course, Germany. But Alsace, Austria and New Zealand also make superb Rieslings.
Then there is also Australia. For those who drink blue and white, there are even some Israeli Rieslings, such as the Carmel Single Vineyard Riesling, Gamla Riesling, Vitkin Riesling (NK) and the Teperberg Silver Riesling Late Harvest.
Anything called Riesling, White Riesling, Johannisberg Riesling or Rhine Riesling is the real thing.
Seek it out and join in the fun. You might also end up saying, “I love Riesling.”
Adam Montefiore works for Carmel Winery and regularly writes about wine in both Israeli and international publications. firstname.lastname@example.org