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Best Riesling

Riesling is made from an incredibly aromatic grape that is commonly grown in Germany, France, and the New World. The grape itself has a higher sugar content than many other wine grapes, and many wine makers chose to honor this quality by crafting their Rieslings to exhibit this sweetness. Alternatively, Riesling can be made in the dry style, with very little residual sugar left in the wine after fermentation. These wines can often seem sweet at first sip, where the aromas of bright fruit overwhelm the minerality, but finish crisp and dry as the actual flavor of the wine overpowers the aroma towards the end of a sip.

In Germany, where Riesling is one of the most common varietals, the cool, northern latitude climate gives these grapes a lower sugar content and a higher acidity. Because of this, traditional German Rieslings are usually on the dry side. Riesling grown in warmer climates, on the other hand, often have more sugar and flavors of peach and lime. These grapes lend themselves to the sweeter style of Riesling and can even be left on the vines late into the season until they dry out slightly, increasing the sugar content and creating a wine that is sweet enough to be a dessert.

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Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling

Riesling is a white varietal that usually holds up well to a few years in the cellar. If you're looking for an excellent vintage that's ready to drink right now, Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling is an excellent choice. Over the years, this wine has developed a deep gold hue and aromas of white peach and honey that are well-balanced by flavors of stone fruit, citrus peel, and stone. Grown on the border of France and Germany, this wine is from the historic home of Rieslings and is perfectly balanced between a dry, crisp mouthfeel and a luxurious, sweet aroma.

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Poet's Leap Riesling

Poet's Leap Riesling is a complex wine that's perfectly balanced. Though it's from Washington state, it's grown in a slightly warmer climate than its native Germany and as such is able to develop a bit more sweetness than Old World Rieslings typically have. The nose is absolutely dry, though still intense, with notes of white flower, tropical fruit, and citrus peel. Once you take a sip, the natural sweetness will take over, showing off flavors of dried fruit, fresh flowers, and honey. The finish is rather long and incredibly clean. Wine critics have been quick to praise this vintage, which has scored a staggering 94 points in Wine Enthusiast. The sweetness in the wine makes it a great choice to balance out a spicy dish or to start off an evening as a before-dinner drink.

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Eroica Riesling

A New World Riesling with Old World sensibilities, Eroica Riesling is one of our Best Picks. This wine has intense aromatics, with lots of orange blossom, typical for Washington state Rieslings. The flavor, however, lacks the pronounced sweetness often seen in American Rieslings. Instead, the wine has an intense minerality and notes of spiced apple that perfectly compliment the long, acidic finish. As a predominantly dry wine, Eroica pairs well with seafood and spicy Asian dishes, including Thai and Indian curry.

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Heinz Eifel Riesling Spatlese

German Rieslings tend to run on the dry side, but for those who like things sweet, there are a few excellent late-harvest German Rieslings on the market. One such wine is Heinz Eifel Riesling Spatlese. Since the grapes have been left on the vines past normal harvest, the flavors have had plenty of time to concentrate, and the sugar level has increased. The resulting semi-sweet wine is full-bodied and rich, with notes of stone and ripe fruit. It's ideal as a desert on it's own, or paired with an after dinner cheese plate. If you enjoy sweeter wines at dinner, this wine is also excellent paired with rich, spicy foods such as Thai curry.

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Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling

If you're looking for an excellent Riesling for an incredible price, look no further than the Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Dry Riesling. Frequently sold for under $10 a bottle, this wine has all the complex aromas you'd expect in a Riesling for less than half of the amount you might pay for a comparable bottle. Well-regarded by critics, this wine scores in the high 80s. It's fruit forward and aromatic without being in the least bit sweet. In fact, the rich nose of mandarin orange and white flowers quickly give way to a strong acidity and a clean, bone dry finish. The dryness and intense aromas of this wine make it a favorite to pair with shellfish, especially oysters.

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Francis Coppola Sofia Riesling

A film maker who has made a great name for himself moonlighting as a wine maker, Francis Coppola makes some of the best wines in California's Napa Valley. The Sofia Riesling, a Double Gold Medal winner at the San Francisco Wine Chronical, is an off-dry wine grown in one of Northern California's cool microclimates. Reminiscent of Old World Riesling, this wine is off-dry and acidic, with flavors of spice and honey, and aromas of lime and mineral. There's not much sugar up front, but there is a little sweetness to the finish, making this wine one that you'll want to return to for another sip. Since it's fairly dry, it pairs well with seafood, and since there is a hint of sugary sweetness to this wine, it's also excellent with any spicy dish.

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