Riesling. The queen of grapes. With its enamel-gripping acidity, Riesling can do it all. I’m always nervous when I pick up a bottle of Riesling when I don’t know the residual sugar levels. I like mine dry to bone-dry, since sweetness doesn’t hold much appeal for me.

I love Niagara Rieslings for the wide range of styles produced. This one is an Alsatian-style Riesling with low residual sugar on the palate.

The bottle of The Good Wine 2012 VQA Riesling by Good Earth Food and Wine has been hiding in our wine fridge for a while, so I’m not sure how much we paid for it. I think this 10.9% refresher followed me home from the Wychwood Barns farmer’s market during the summer, but it could also have been sitting there for over a year knowing me. We visited the vineyard around Thanksgiving weekend for lunch before a hike, and the bottle was definitely in our fridge before then. There is limited LCBO distribution for some of their wines. Your best bet is to make lunch reservations at the vineyard in Beamsville, ON and stay for a flight while you’re there.

Appearance: Light straw with some green tinge.

Aroma: Green apple, lime zest and lime juice, wet slate, petroleum. Very typical of a Niagara Riesling.

Taste: Acidic lemon and lime juice, more green apple, honeysuckle flower notes. Medium plus acidity, low residual sugar.

Aftertaste: Clean, low-bodied crisp and racy white wine.

Suggested food pairing: Sushi, lightly seared tuna, or arugula salad with grilled pears and walnuts.

Overall: An easy drinking option for an apératif that is relatively low in alcohol. Keep your eyes open for the 2016 harvest when it’s released – it’s going to be a beautiful year.

Shawna O'Flaherty

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