Top Ten Summer Rieslings for Under $25

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The level of ripeness will definitely help you whittle down which wines you’re keen on. Because the German wine regions and single-vineyard sites are varied in style and flavor, this will be a brief and basic introduction to how to pick a region and what to roughly expect from that region. It’s not formulaic, although there is a degree of precision as the Germans are often wont to do—German wine’s styles and flavors are consistent, but vary from one vintage to another, but this can serve as a rough guideline for getting you started.

Please let me know what else you like to drink! Are you a Riesling newbie, or a junkie like me? If you have favorite pairings, vintages, or producers, I’d love to hear them in the comments section.

2007 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg

Jess Watsky’s Top Ten Summer Rieslings for Under $25

1. 2010 AJ Adam Dhron Hofberg Kabinett (MSRP: $22) AJ Adam is one of my favorite new, young producers. This particular wine is bright and zingy in style, with a piercing acidity. We like this with seared duck confit and raspberry sauce.

2. 2007 Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Sonnehnuhr Kabinett (MSRP: id="mce_marker"5) 2007 has been one of the best German wine vintages of the decade. This also happens to be one of the best values. This is a citrus-forward, fruity example of a wine with a brightly acidic flavor and pleasant sweetness. Try this with grilled pineapple slices and sriracha-marinated grilled chicken.

3. 2010 Hermann J. Weimer Dry Reserve (MSRP: 19) This Finger Lakes producer rivals some of the best modern German producers today. The Wiemer 2010 vintage produced some austere, dry wines, with saline, acidic nuances of lemon rind and grapefruit best enjoyed with grilled balsamic-soaked plums and polenta for dessert.

4. 2010 Willi Haag Brauneberger Juffer Kabinett (MSRP: id="mce_marker"9) A classic producer, Willi Haag makes some of the sweetest, most approachable Kabs I’ve had this year. Green apples, slate, pineapple, and chalk are some of the dominant flavors in this one. Pad thai or chicken satay will go wonderfully with this.

5. 2010 Donnhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Kabinett (MSRP: $24) Donnhoff is one of Germany’s most renowned and celebrated producers. The Oberhauser Leisteinberg site offers a consistent flavor profile and quality, with an expressive, light texture and aromatic flavors of mango, apricot, and minerals. Despite its levity, it holds up well to spicier dishes, so bring out the buffalo wings or spicy salsa and enjoy!

6. 2010 Fitz-Ritter Riesling Sekt (MSRP: id="mce_marker"5) What a way to spice up a casual occasion! This is one of my favorite wines of the year. It combines all the playful fun of bubbly wine with the depth of Riesling flavor. Try this with shredded chicken tacos and homemade salsa verde. Its spritely, spritzy citrus and brown sugar notes are sure to delight anyone.

7. 2005 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Turckheim (MSRP: $23) This is an Alsatian wine from famed producer Zind-Humbrecht. Known for their quirky GC wines, their estate and site wines are just as fascinating and high in quality. The ’05 is honeyed, with a petrol nose and sweet finish. I like this with a brinier-flavored dish, like salmon and cilantro sauce.

8. 2010 Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Kabinett (MSRP: $24) If you’re looking for a drier wine with a more aromatic, floral set of flavors, this is the perfect Riesling for you. With an herbaceous, lemon-driven nose and orange zest and honey nose, this wine is blazingly acidic, but has a lot going on. This is great to cut the indulgence of a classic German dish, schnitzel and spatzle.

9. 2007 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese (MSRP: $22) With its Granny Smith apple flavors and brown sugar nose, this is a great wine from an exceptional vintage for you to introduce yourself to Riesling with. It’s a really easy, inexpensive drinker, so be sure to have a few bottles on hand. With a dish like tikka masala chicken enchiladas, what’s not to love?

10. 2007 St. Urbans-Hof Ockfener Bockstein Spatlese (MSRP: $23) Here’s one for the sweet teeth out ther3—this is a maple-tinged, brown sugar-heavy wine. Very rich and sweet, could pass for a dessert wine. Try this with a honey-cumin crème brulee or a selection of harder cheeses and bread.

If you enjoyed this and would like to find out more about German Riesling and other quirky wines, visit Jess's wine critiquing and education site, Nobly Rotten. For snarky food writing, check out her other site, Foodette Reviews, for recipes, reviews, and more!

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