For me, there are a lot of reasons why March is one of the most exciting months of the year. It not only marks the transition to Spring which is celebrated with International Happiness Day on the 20th of March. It is also the month of Riesling Birthday (on March 13th) and St. Patricks Day, the patron saint of Ireland on March 17th. Plus, the long Easter weekend is usually not far off either.
With so much to look forward to, my list of ‘what to cook and which wine to pair it with’ for the month is getting longer and longer.
And any decision is not made easier considering Riesling is one of the most versatile grape varieties, meaning it will work superbly with a large range of different foods. In addition, it is the most planted variety in Germany and the list of excellent Rieslings to choose from is huge.
Thankfully, there’ve been a couple of different Rieslings I wanted to try for a while on my list and Riesling Birthday was the perfect excuse to tick a few of them off.
Riesling: Germany’s most exciting grape variety
Riesling is Germany’s most important grape variety. Almost one quarter of the total area under vines in the German wine country is planted with Riesling. Which is around 45% of Riesling in the whole world.
Though the origins of the Riesling grape are bit unknown, what is known is that the variety originated in Germany. And whilst it is most likely much older, Riesling was first mentioned in a document (an invoice more precisely) dating 13th March 1435.
For that reason, in 2019 Deutsches Weininstitut (Wines of Germany) has established 13th March as official Riesling Birthday.
Having an official day celebrating the grape variety has actually been long overdue, especially considering many other well-known international grape varieties have their own national/international day for a long time already. Yes, looking at you Chardonnay, Merlot, Shiraz and all those more.
Within Germany, the Rheingau region just half an hour south-west of Frankfurt has long been tied to the Riesling grape. Many of the areas historic wineries are well-known as major producers of Riesling over the centuries.
That said, excellent Riesling is made across all of the thirteen official German wine regions. Indeed, should you ever go on a winery tour in Germany, you will quickly realize there is hardly any winery that will not have at least one Riesling in their range.
The styles of Riesling made across the country will vary widely, however.
Riesling styles range from dry to juicily sweet and fruit-forward aromas that cover the whole range from fresh citrus to ripe tropical fruits. What they have in common is a high acidity, which gives them a unique structure as well as a good aging potential.
Background: Reichsrat von Buhl winery
The story of Reichsrat von Buhl goes back to 1849 and since is one of Germany’s most lauded family-owned wineries.
Located in the veritable Pfalz wine region, the winery is part of a string of great wineries along the main road aptly named Weinstraße (wine road) in the small historic village of Deidesheim.
Learn more of the lovely wine village of Deidesheim and its many wineries in my post Why you need to visit Deidesheim on the German Weinstrasse
Although steeped in history, the winery is nevertheless on the forefront of state-of-the-art winemaking and is certificated organic and an active ambassador of natural, sustainable wine.
The winery, easily found on the main road leading through Deidesheim, is welcoming visitors to their lovely tasting room and during warm days also in the beautiful courtyard.
On my bucket list – so watch this space – is the Sushi B restaurant opened in 2019 on the premisses of the winery. Obviously a very thorough choice, as Riesling pairs fantastically with spicy Asian dishes and of course sushi.
Tasting notes: SUEZ Riesling, Reichsrat von Buhl
Being around for a long time means, the winery has also first-hand witnessed a large range of important world events. And since no event of a global significance can be celebrated without serving excellent wine to those in attendance, Reichsrat von Buhl can proudly claim having played an important part in at least one of these happenings.
Which brings us to the winery’s SUEZ edition launched in 2018.
SUEZ Riesling was made to remember the winery’s Riesling served during the opening of the Suez channel in Egypt in 1869.
SUEZ Riesling is made from hand-picked grapes of the highest quality that come from the winery’s Ersten und Großen Lagen vineyards (the best vineyards according to the VDP classification).
In the glass, the wine is a lovely light straw yellow with only the smallest hints of green.
On the nose, SUEZ Riesling is very elegant with aromas of white peaches accompanied by floral and herbal notes.
On the palate, mineral, powerful and profound.
Riesling, as mentioned before, is a hugely versatile grape and pairs exceptionally well with a large range of food. When opening a bottle of dry Riesling, you can go for anything from raw, cured and smoked fish, fresh or lightly dressed shellfish, creamy sauces, fatty pork (think pork belly), lightly pickled vegetables, goats cheese and spicy, Asian style dishes.
Devilled eggs come in somewhere between creamy and spicy and for me, they are a great accompaniment when you want to have something to nibble along but clearly want to put the wine in the limelight.
Thus, I decided to pair the SUEZ Riesling with a small assortment of devilled eggs. Working out perfectly, I personally found the varieties filled with green (peas and chervil in this case) not only tasted great with the wine but also were a very stylish addition in terms of colour-coding.
Head to my post Devilled Eggs that will rock your St. Patrick’s Day and Easter brunch buffets for the instructions if you want to make those varieties yourself.
Personally, I think opening a bottle of Reichsrat von Buhl wine is always a good idea.
With the full range of wines largely focused on white wines, including Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as well, my preference will likely always be one of the excellent Rieslings which the winery knows how to make shine.
That said, also excellent and never disappointing are the Reichsrat von Buhl sparkling wines, a couple of them also made from Riesling.
I am pretty sure I will turn to Reichsrat von Buhl Rieslings on many more occasions throughout this year and the highlight will be returning to the winery once it will be safe to do so again, popping into their tasting room and – high on my list – the Sushi B restaurant.