Having been trained as a wine maker in Germany, I just have to make Riesling. So, I've learned to produce warm climate Riesling, being a northern California wine maker. We produce three Rieslings from northern California, the Angel Ice I talked about in the last blog as well as Napa Valley and Mendocino County wines, both in the medium dry style. Known in German as Halbtroken Kabinet.
Also, since I'm such a Riesling nut, I have to produce a cold climate Riesling now and then. Three years ago in the 2005 vintage we made a New York Riesling from the Finger Lakes and last year in the 2007 vintage we produced a Michigan Riesling from the Leelanau Peninsula. I have gotten together with other Riesling producers world wide and we have founded the International Riesling Foundation to promote Rieslings world wide. The first thing we realized was Riesling sales were being hampered because so often when someone purchased a bottle of Riesling, it was in a different style than what they were looking for. We decided the first order of business was to develop a taste (sweetness) scale to put on the bottle that the wine buyer could see. Often, I have purchased a bottle of Riesling looking for a dryer style and gotten one to sweet or the opposite when I needed a sweeter one, the wine I purchased was to dry. This last Sunday at Copia (The American Center For Wine Food & The Arts) in Napa Valley, we unveiled the scale at a Riesling seminar & wine tasting. I sat on a panel with Jim Trezise who is the president of the New York Wine and Grape Foundation and David Strada representing the wonderful Rieslings of New Zealand. We talked about how the scale was developed and how it would be used by Riesling producers world wide. This scale had a tremendous amount of input from my favorite weekly wine writer Dan Berger (Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences). His website is www.VintageExperiences.com. To learn more about the scale go to www.rieslingrules.com/taste-profile. Shown below are examples of the scale wineries will be able to put on their back labels.