I live in Texas, y’all, where it’s hotter than a firecracker a lot of the time. That’s okay with me, I much prefer heat over the horrid, numbing cold. I’d rather sweat than pile on sweaters. So it’s okay. But it means that sometimes I ponder what to drink when the mercury rises. Sure, I like beer, but I find that it makes me puff up. It’s not light and lovely. Good for its own purposes, but not something I quaff with joy on a hot summer day.
So I turn to white wine. Most of the US prefers red, I get it, but listen: I think it’s because you haven’t been encouraged to be adventurous and to try white wines. Here are the stereotypes:
- Chardonnay is always big and oaky and “fatty”
- Chablis is the cheap crap that your mom’s friend drank out of the Gallo gallon jug
- Pink wine is sweet and nasty
- Riesling is sweeter than your Great-Aunt Fanny
I can myth-bust all of these, but today we’re gonna start with Riesling. I went into the liquor mega-store and told the wine man that I wanted “A crisp, minerally white wine. Perhaps a dry Riesling.”
“Wow,” he said, “You’re the second person today that’s actually asked for a Riesling. Why don’t more people like it?” It’s because you think it’s cloyingly sweet, people, and I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be. Riesling has quite a bit of acidity, and while the sugar levels can vary, just ask your wine guy for a drier version. If your wine shop is divided by region, you’ll be looking for Germany’s Kabinett styles, Alsace, Washington State, Australia and New Zealand. The German and Alsatian bottles can be a bit tricky to translate, but again, just ask your wine person – they’ll know. You’ll taste peaches, or citrus. Minerally, steely, crisp or clean are other descriptors. But note – nowhere in there do I say “sweet”.
Track down a dry Riesling. Chill, and enjoy. Less tangy than a Sauvignon Blanc, but with citrusy fruit and a crisp flavor – you could learn to love it.