Despite years of efforts to clarify its image, Riesling still suffers from an identity problem: Many wine drinkers still believe that Riesling is a synonym for sweet wine. While some are indeed sweet (and are among the world’s most coveted wines), there is no shortage of crisp, dry Riesling out there — whether from Germany, France’s Alsace, Australia, or New York’s Finger Lakes.
An excellent example is from Austria, Bründlmayer’s 2019 Riesling “Terrassen” from the Kamptal region of Lower Austria. While Grüner Veltliner is Austria’s white wine of the moment, dry Rieslings like this one show why the variety deserves much more attention.
It’s about as dry as it gets — a flinty, laser-focused wine with 12.5 percent alcohol that shows lovely stone fruit tastes plus notes of citrus, almond, and wet stone. The grapes are from younger vines growing on terraced vineyards (hence the name “Terrassen”) and in stony soils at higher elevations. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless-steel tanks.
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This is an ideal wine for fish and shellfish including sushi, as well as chicken, veal, and pork dishes — and for sipping on its own. You’ll find it for around $20 to $24, which makes it an excellent value for a terroir-driven wine with this kind of dimension and character.
The Kamptal region northwest of Vienna is producing some of Austria’s — and the world’s — finest white wines. The area is divided by the Kamp river, which flows into the Danube, and is marked by the large day-night temperature swings that are a hallmark of great wine-growing regions and give the wines proper acidity. Riesling and Grüner Veltliner are the only varieties permitted under the Kamptal appellation. And under the rules of the appellation, the Riesling must be dry.
The grape has no identity issues here.