Austrian rieslings are almost always dry. Alsatian rieslings, unless they are late-harvest bottlings, ought to be dry. For a time around the beginning of the century, some were bottled with residual sugar and without designation, which could be a rude surprise. But this issue has largely been rectified in the last few years.
Australian rieslings tend to be dry unless marked otherwise. This is also true of American rieslings, most of the time. But occasionally I am surprised. If you’re in doubt, it’s worth double-checking with a retailer or sommelier.
Dry or sweet, riesling is among the most transparent of grapes, one that can be grown and produced around the world with distinctive results, assuming it has been planted in the right sort of place, ideally with a cool climate in rocky soils on a slope, the steeper the better.
I love rieslings year-round, but am particularly drawn to them in the spring and early summer, maybe because they are so good with seasonal dishes like asparagus, soft-shell crabs and wild salmon. Rieslings are light and refreshing, and German ones in particular, dry or sweet, are often delicate and low in alcohol, though I have come upon a few surprising bruisers.
In the interest of championing the beauty of riesling, here are 10 moderately priced bottles of dry riesling, roughly $20 to $45, from around the world.
With so many great dry rieslings, why these? In the pandemic mode of shopping online, these are the ones I could find, which is not to demean them. They are wonderful. So are many others. This is not a Top 10 list by any means.
Why these prices? I have written about less expensive rieslings before. The Finger Lakes is a great source, from producers like Ravines, Forge Cellars, Bloomer Creek, Nathan Kendall, Dr. Konstantin Frank and Red Tail Ridge.