10 rieslings that won't break the bank
As I tasted riesling last week, I considered some of the reasons for its lack of wider popularity. Some say it's because the wines range from dry to very sweet, but I’m not convinced. I think one of the reasons is that too much riesling out there relies on that sweetness to make the wine appealing, leaving consumers wanting more from their wine.
What follows are 10 of the best values I tasted, wines that can bring a lot of interest to the table even if there’s enough sugar present to make almost anyone enjoy them (though not all of the wines are noticeably sweet). This set of wines would actually make for a good introduction to riesling, with at least a wine or two that will make your palate stop and reconsider.
My full set of notes, more than 40 wines tasted, will be released on Thursday. Hopefully by then your interest will be piqued! Now onto the wines.
Click here to find the perfect budget-friendly riesling for you.
— Gregory Del Piaz, Snooth
The Best Riesling
Riesling, often seen as the wine connoisseur's white, is a rather amazing variety that can range from sweet to dry, from simple to complex and from young to age-worthy. It offers a fascinating (and delicious) look into just how different the same variety can be expressed in different areas with different winemaking techniques. And while many of these wines can be quite expensive, in our list of the best Riesling we've highlighted some very affordable and delicious picks under $20.
Originally from Germany, where it still prospers, excellent examples are also found in nearby Alsace and Austria. Not nearly as widely grown as grapes like Cabernet and Chardonnay, the variety needs the right conditions to really prosper. Outside of the aforementioned regions, we've also found remarkably good Riesling in Australia and New Zealand.
In the USA, Washington produces some fine bottles but the best spot in the country may actually be the Finger Lakes area of New York State, believe it or not.
One of our favorite aspects of this grape is the wide stylistic range of wines that can be produced. From complex, dry, age-worthy bottles to the very sweet, our list of the best Riesling under $20 includes plenty of examples of both types -- and everything in between!
Read on for all of our picks of the best Riesling under $20!
Braised Short Ribs
Unctuous and hearty, short ribs are cheap but taste like a million when dressed up with ingredients like chocolate, stout, or wine. Classic red-wine-braised short ribs are a surefire crowd pleaser. Serve the ribs atop a bed of polenta to sop up the sauce and alongside a simply dressed arugula salad to cut the fattiness of the beef. (If you love ribs, you'll want to take a look at these 15 Fantastic Regional Rib Recipes.)
Delicious Cheap Dinners for the Budget Gourmet
If you, like so many, are currently on an even tighter budget than usual right now, you can still eat well. These cheap dinners are not only affordable, they’re easy to prepare. Win-win-win (the third win is for your tastebuds). Plus, they rely pretty heavily on pantry staples, so you might not even need to deal with the grocery store.
It’s OK, you can admit it. We all have one. You know, an easy, go-to dish that you fall back on when exhaustion is high and funds are low. I call mine “Poor Girl Pasta.” And even though it only requires a couple bare minimum essential ingredients, stuff I always keep on hand—dried spaghetti, olive oil, garlic, parmesan, salt, and red pepper flakes—it doesn’t at all taste like a last resort. The trick to giving the dish its gourmet edge is making the most out of what’s in there. So in this case, mixing in roasted rather than raw garlic to give an extra layer of depth and richness. It’s so good I make it even when I haven’t spent all my grocery budget on wine.
If you’re looking to add to your repertoire of gourmet dishes on a shoestring budget, these 10 easy recipes should give you plenty to play around with in the kitchen.
1. Cacio e Pepe Pasta
I expect anyone with the good, smart-budget sense to keep a box of dried spaghetti on-hand to have this classic Roman dish in their back pocket. But for the uninitiated, let me break it down: Four basic ingredients and just a couple minutes of your time will reward you with a buttery, cheesy, salt and pepper-flecked showstopper pasta. Supporting characters be damned, this here is the little black dress of spaghetti and it’s glam AF. Get our Cacio e Pepe Pasta recipe.
2. Perfect French Omelette
When it comes down to it, pricey ingredients ain’t got nothin’ on good technique. Take the iconic French omelette, for example. With no fancy toppings to hide behind—just a little cream, butter, herbs, salt and pepper—it still manages to be the most luxurious omelette-eating experience you’ll ever have. The secret, as they say, is all in the wrist. Quickly shimmying the whisked eggs over high heat creates a soft, just-set texture that gives the rolled omelette a decadent, ultra-creamy quality. Pure classe, ladies and gentlemen, pure classe. Get the Perfect French Omelette recipe.
OXO Good Grips Nonstick Hard Anodized Skillet, $19.95 from Sur La Table
3. Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin
Sure, plain white rice and zucchini are pretty “vanilla” as far as ingredients go. But I’d prefer to be glass-half-full about it and call them “versatile” instead a blank canvas for all kinds of flavor. (Plus they won’t leave your wallet half-empty, either.) In this much-simplified adaptation of a classic Julia Child recipe, the two are combined with salty, savory parmesan cheese, garlic, onion, and a little salt and pepper to create a heartily satisfying dish. Get the Zucchini Rice and Cheese Gratin recipe.
Turns out that forgotten loaf of slightly stale, day-old bread sitting in the cupboard hasn’t missed its chance at culinary glory after all. It just takes some bright, zesty lemon-garlic vinaigrette, and fresh additions like tomatoes, basil, slices of crunchy cuke, and tangy red onion to breathe new life into the torn chunks of past-its-prime Italian bread. This dish isn’t about having to eat leftovers, it’s about craving them. Get our Panzanella recipe. Or try this Panzanella with Shallot Vinaigrette. (You can even do it for dessert, as in our Sweet Strawberry Panzanella recipe.)
5. Spicy Yogurt Chicken
A technique often used in Indian cuisine, marinating chicken in yogurt not only adds flavor and acidity to the profile, but also helps tenderize the meat. Raid the spice cabinet for powerful, punchy players like paprika, cumin, and cayenne, and you’ve got everything you need to transform basic, boring chicken thighs into a “wow”-worthy entree. Get our Spicy Yogurt Chicken recipe.
6. Chuck Eye Steak with Chili-Herb Butter
When it comes to the butcher shop, we have a bit of a tunnel vision problem. Our eyes seem to be almost involuntarily drawn to the sexier (pricier) prime cuts. But budget-minded cooks are wise to remember what savvy chefs and industry pros have been urging us for years: The cheap cuts can be just as delicious. Take chuck beef, for example. Usually relegated to the grinder for a future in burgers or chili, when left as a steak, it fills in as a damn fine understudy for a ribeye. Give it a good, hard sear, baste it in lots of butter, and treat yourself to a steakhouse-quality experience at a fraction of the cost. Get the Chuck Eye Steak with Chili-Herb Butter recipe.
10 All-American Rieslings for $26 or Less
From the East Coast to the West Coast, American Riesling is the perfect companion to any picnic. Riesling’s high acidity matched with various levels of sweetness—from bone-dry to luscious—sets the stage for infinite food pairings.
The citrus and green fruit tones of zesty dry Rieslings complement grilled chicken salads with fresh garden greens and light, salty bites like deviled eggs. The touch of sweetness in off-dry and medium-dry Rieslings brings out notes of citrus, floral and peach, making it the prefect refreshment for spicy dishes. Intense medium-sweet and sweet versions are the perfect match for tasty desserts, from grilled peaches to Key lime pie.
These ten Rieslings hail from Oregon to New York, and can take you from appetizer to dessert.
Trefethen 2019 Estate Grown Dry Riesling (Oak Knoll District) $26, 94 points. Entirely steel-tank fermented, this white is crisp and clearly focused in layers of fennel, apple, lemon and apricot. Fresh and complex, it stands well on its own yet should be a beautiful companion to many meals. —Virginie Boone
Montinore 2019 Almost Dry Riesling (Willamette Valley) $18, 93 points. Sourced from old vines with an average age of 37 years, this outstanding wine will show best if it’s not over-chilled. Fermented entirely in stainless steel with a German yeast strain, it’s smooth and supple, with rounded flavors of apples, citrus, pears and kumquats. The lengthy finish adds a streak of breakfast tea. Editor’s Choice. —Paul Gregutt
Fess Parker 2019 Rodney’s Vineyard Riesling (Santa Barbara County) $25, 92 points. Chiseled granite and crushed gravel aromas make for a very stony entry to the brilliant nose of this bottling, which also offers tight apple-peel scents. The palate sizzles with acidity and grips with mineral-driven tension, allowing struck stone, lemon-pith and lime-peel flavors to compete for deserved attention. Drink now through 2039. Cellar Selection. —Matt Kettmann
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2019 Riesling (Columbia Valley) $9, 91 points. The aromas intoxicate, with notes of white peach, lime, jasmine and flower. Off-dry leaning sweeter stone fruit and Nestea Lemon Iced Tea flavors follow, with a strong sense of acidity threading through it. The balance and intensity are exquisite. It’s everything one could want from this variety. Best Buy. —Sean Sullivan
Poet’s Leap 2018 Riesling (Columbia Valley) $20, 91 points. Vibrant aromas of pear, flowers, Meyer lemon and herb are followed by off-dry drinking, medium-bodied Nestea iced tea flavors. Vibrant acidity backs it up, heightening the interest. It’s delicious, but give it some time to open up. Editors’ Choice. —S.S.
Weis 2019 Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) $18, 91 points. Bright aromas of lemon and lime peels meld with white flowers and pear rind in this zesty dry Riesling. There’s good weight to the medium-bodied palate, with persistent juicy orchard fruit flavors propped up by driven acidity. A gentle stoniness creeps in on the midpalate to ground it all, ending with a slightly pithy mouthwatering finish. —Alexander Peartree
Watch us make some our favorite 30 Minute Dinners:
- Skillet Lasagna
This lasagna actually only takes 20 minutes from start to finish! Serve with a bagged green salad and a loaf of easy homemade French bread for a perfect meal.
2. Seven Can Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is the ULTIMATE dump-and-go dish – dump it all in and let the Instant Pot do it’s magic. It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. Serve with our favorite cornbread.
3. Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
The best version of sloppy joes out there! Serve with our Baked Sweet Potato Wedges.
4. Cheesy Beef Taco Pasta (Instant Pot)
Who knew that tacos + pasta were a match made in heaven? Serve this dish with our favorite Mexican Street Corn Salad and some chips and salsa dinner is done!
Homemade pizza loaded with flavor and ready in less than 20 minutes! Serve with a green salad and your favorite fruit.
One big baking sheet full of flavor – I love that it’s your main dish and side dish in one!
One of our favorite ground beef recipes – serve it over rice or even wrap it in a lettuce wrap. Serve with a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables to round it all out.
8. Meatball Lasagna Roll-Ups
All the flavor of lasagna without all the hard work! Add a side salad and our 30 Minute Homemade Dinner Rolls for a quick and easy meal everyone will love.
9. Cream Cheese Chicken Roll-Ups
These have been a staple in our family for decades. They are easy to throw together and have great flavor! We serve them with mashed potatoes and gravy.
10. 20 Minute Taco Cups
This is a great recipe to have your kids help with! Serve with our Spanish Cauliflower Rice and enjoy!
11. One Pan Chicken Alfredo
This is consistently one of our most popular dishes on the blog and for good reason: homemade alfredo in 30 minutes! Serve with our favorite green beans.
12. Pesto Salmon
If you love salmon, this easy dish is for you! The pesto adds incredible flavor. Serve with our Parmesan Orzo on the side.
13. Pizza Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Two of my favorite foods (pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches) come together to make the best dinner ever! We served these with a green salad and it was delicious.
14. Shrimp Scampi and Pasta
This dish takes only 20 minutes and is ALWAYS a crowd pleaser!
15. Sweet and Tangy Meatballs
This meal takes 17 minutes from start to finish (give or take a few minutes depending on when your Instant Pot comes to pressure). We always serve it over rice and my kids LOVE it. It’s quick, easy, and only has 3 ingredients.
16. Garlic Parmesan Wings
If you have an air fryer, these wings are AMAZING. They take 25 minutes from start to finish and are so good. We love to serve them with roasted potatoes.
17. Flatbread Mexican Pizza
A quick and easy dinner that comes together in minutes! Top it with your favorite toppings and dinner is ready for you.
18. Quick and Easy Calzones
Another popular recipe on our site – these little calzones are a family favorite! Load them with your favorite pizza toppings and dip them in sauce. You can’t go wrong with these calzones!
19. Ground Beef Tostadas
My family loves this simple meal that takes 15 minutes to make – sometimes I use the ground beef filling for tacos and burritos as well. Serve these with our homemade guacamole for the best combo ever.
20. Chicken Street Tacos
Flavorful chicken topped with pico de gallo – this is our go-to Mexican chicken recipe!
21. Easy Pizza Quesadillas
This is my go-to meal on busy nights! My kids can make their owns and they are delicious. Serve with Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks.
22. Ham and Swiss Poppy Seed Sliders
My kids love little sandwiches and these are a family favorite! Serve them with our Homemade Macaroni and Cheese for a kid-friendly meal.
23. Cheeseburger Wraps
All the flavor of a cheeseburger wrapped up in a crispy tortilla. These are one of the best ground beef recipes! Serve with our Red Potato Wedges.
24. Chili’s Copycat Cajun Pasta
This dish was made to impress! It’s loaded with flavor and is so good. It takes 30 minutes from start to finish. Serve with our Chili’s Copycat Queso Recipe.
25. BBQ Turkey Burgers
Who knew that ground turkey could taste so good?? These burgers are always perfect moist. Serve with our Honey Roasted Carrots for a quick side dish.
9 Rieslings for People Who Think They Hate Riesling
Whether you think of Riesling as overly sweet or aggressively acidic, the German-born white wine has a lot of misconceptions to overcome. Yes, there are plenty of unbalanced Rieslings out there, but there are also terroir-driven bottles being thoughtfully made worldwide, from France and Germany to Australia and the U.S.
Ready to rethink Riesling? We gathered a panel of loyalists and detractors to find bottles with widespread appeal. Here are nine Rieslings for people who have sworn off the stuff.
2017 Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Dry Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia
While some of our tasters found this bone-dry bottle “a little harsh,” acid fiends will appreciate its bracingly tart, lemony palate. The floral notes on the nose are unmistakably Riesling-esque, but there is none of the honeyed sweetness or creamy texture many American drinkers associate with the variety. Serve it with oysters and salty snacks. Average price: $18.
2017 Best’s Great Western Riesling, Great Western, Australia
A sweet nose reminiscent of Frosted Flakes gives way to a dry, balanced palate on this widely available bottle from Australia’s Great Western region. “It’s got a little bit of everything,” one taster commented. Its accessibility and food-friendliness won over our panelists. Average price: $21.
2017 Riposte ‘The Scimitar’ Single Vineyard Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia
Mouthwatering, but not screamingly acidic, this dry, single vineyard Riesling from South Australia reminded our tasters of a cheeseboard: It balances honey and fruit with salty funk. “The perfect combo,” one taster said. Average price: $23.
2017 Julian Haart ‘1,000L’ Riesling, Mosel, Germany
Fans of natural wine might like this savory variety from Mosel, Germany. Green herbs on the nose are followed by notes of chicken jus and half-fermented apples on the palate, giving it a funky, earthy quality. “If you served this with fried chicken in a Brooklyn restaurant people would lose their minds,” one taster said. Average price: $22.
2016 Josmeyer Riesling Le Kottabe, Alsace, France
Can something smell sweet? The nose on this Riesling from France’s Alsace region makes a strong argument for it, inviting comparisons to everything from Funfetti Betty Crocker cakes to Italian meringue. The medium-bodied palate combines acid up front with a balanced finish. It’s an approachable wine with considerable value for money. Average price: $25.
2014 Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Saering, Alsace Grand Cru, France
Our hands-down favorite, this rich, nuanced wine has “a lot of dimensions to it.” A well-priced Grand Cru from France’s Alsace region, it encapsulates what is great about Riesling with none of the pratfalls. Its honeyed nose is followed by green, flinty flavors and impressive structure. (“It tastes… majestic,” one taster commented.) It would be a fantastic aperitif wine, but could also stand up to heartier fare, like shellfish or summer soups. Average price: $29.
2012 Burg Ravensburg Husarenkappe Riesling Grosses Gewachs, Baden, Germany
This Baden bottle demonstrates Riesling’s stellar aging potential, and its capacity to produce site-specific wines at reasonable prices. “This is like a tailored suit, after you try on a bunch off the rack,” commented one well-dressed taster. Sweeter than acid-driven Australian Rieslings, it nonetheless remains dry and balanced with dried apricots on the nose followed by a “silky” palate. Average price: $31.
2015 Smith-Madrone Riesling, Napa Valley, USA
“This is what people mean when they call wine ‘racy,’” one of our tasters said upon sipping this California Riesling. Its acidity is bright but balanced by soft fruit and a funky nose. Its deliciously long finish impressed our panel, as did its aging potential. Average price: $37.
2016 Hermann J. Wiemer HJW Vineyard Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA
Bright and balanced, this Riesling comes from a leading American label. (Mosel-born Hermann J. Wiemer is credited with helping establish the wine industry in New York’s Finger Lakes.) “It’s just tasty,” commented one of our tasters, while others praised its “creamy, custardy” texture. Average price: $39.
Budget vegetarian recipes
Make a budget-friendly vegetarian supper with simple, storecupboard ingredients. Try a nourishing soup, a hearty pie or a curry to feed a crowd.
Roasted aubergine & tomato curry
Slightly sweet with added richness from the coconut milk, this simple vegan curry is a winner. It's also freezable if you need a quick midweek fix
Red lentil, chickpea & chilli soup
Come home to a warming bowlful of this filling, low-fat soup
Veggie yaki udon
Pack in the veg with our flavour-packed Japanese-inspired yaki udon. It takes just 25 minutes to make and is healthy and low in fat and calories to boot
Cheesy broccoli pasta bake
Whip up this cheap, simple and satisfying meal in just 30 minutes.
Vegetable curry for a crowd
This vegetarian curry is great for feeding a group of mates on a budget, or make a batch to freeze.
Red lentil & carrot soup
This warming and budget-friendly vegetarian soup is perfect packed in a flask for lunch. It's also easy to double the quantities and freeze half for later
Black bean chilli
This chilli is great for casual entertaining - just lay everything out and let people add their own toppings
Oregano halloumi with orzo salad
This affordable dish featuring slightly salty, herby halloumi is a great meat free meal. Any leftovers make a great take-to-work lunch for the next day
Somerset stew with cheddar & parsley mash
This family winter warmer is full of flavour and goodness. Adapt for meat lovers by adding sausages
Sweet potato & spinach bake
If you're after some substantial comfort food on a budget then this vegetarian bake is just the thing. Add lamb chops for the meat eaters
Roasted cauliflower with tomato & cashew sauce
For an easy veggie dinner, try this roasted cauliflower. It has a deliciously nutty flavour that works well with a simple tomato and cashew sauce
Pea falafels with minty couscous salad
Give falafel a makeover by using a mix of chickpeas and frozen peas, serve with couscous and a dollop of yogurt for a cheap but tasty meal
Pan-cooked feta with beetroot salsa & bean mash
Whip up this budget vegetarian dinner in minutes - pile slices of light feta onto cannellini bean mash and top with tangy beetroot salsa
Peppered potato soup
This thrifty dinner party leek and potato soup recipe has an attractive pale colour from using the bottom end of the allium and a bouquet garni
Jacket potato with whipped feta & sumac
The perfect budget-friendly, filling supper for one. The fragrant, zesty flavour of sumac is a refreshing contrast to the creamy whipped feta
Asparagus, chilli & feta farfalle
A simple, budget pasta dish with a touch of chilli, squeeze of lemon and fresh basil. Add a drizzle of oil and sprinkling of feta cheese to serve
This lunchbox or picnic-friendly dish takes an Italian-style thick omelette and adds some Indian spice, along with potatoes, peas and coriander
Whip up shakshuka, a Middle Eastern favourite, in just 10 minutes. Perfect for brunch, lunch or supper, it's healthy and a great option for a budget meal
Satay noodle soup
Prepare an easy veggie noodle bowl in 25 minutes with mostly storecupboard ingredients. A simple budget meal that's filling and vegan-friendly
Brown butter linguine
Cook this simple brown butter linguine as a filling meal for one. It costs just 90p per serving and only takes 20 minutes to make – ideal for busy weeknights
The Best Wine Slushie Recipes: Cool and Refreshing Wine Slush Ideas
Well hello, there warm weather! It&rsquos so nice to have sunny days and warm temperatures back again! When it comes to warm and sunny days, it&rsquos definitely nice to have something cool and refreshing to sip on!
These cool and refreshing wine slushie recipes are exactly what I need at the end of a hot, busy day! They&rsquore perfect for serving to your girlfriends at a summer brunch or for chilling with your favorite people at the beach too.
To prepare your next wine slush, make sure you have a bottle of wine, a blender, and fresh fruit garnishes. You can mix and match various white wines, bubbly, or even sangria. These wine slushie recipes should inspire you to blend up your favorite combinations for a summer party. I can&rsquot wait to hear what you make!
10 Reasons You Should Give Riesling Another Look
Critics love it, consumers not so much. But the beauty of these wines requires stubborn advocacy because they are that good. Really.
No other wine has been the object of such devoted campaigning, proselytizing and ardor as riesling.
What has been the result of all that fervor? Yawns, mostly.
According to Nielsen, retail sales of riesling in the United States have dropped over the last few years, though they shot upward over the first two and a half months of the pandemic, outperforming sales of wine as a whole during that time.
Riesling seems to be one of those wines, like Loire reds, that do not seem to move consumers in the way wine writers assume and hope, no matter how impassioned the promise that it takes only one sip to become a convert.
Perhaps it’s confusion: Is riesling sweet? Is it dry? How can you tell?
The glory of riesling’s versatility is paradoxically both a strength and a commercial weakness. Its capacity to make complex, thrilling dry wines as well as luscious yet refreshing sweet wines is unmatched. But in a world that prefers simple messaging, riesling’s spectrum of possibilities may be confounding.
This is compounded by a general fear of sweet wines. For too long in the mid-20th century, riesling was associated with cheap, bland German sweet wines like Blue Nun and Black Tower.
These had little connection to good, moderately sweet German kabinetts and spätleses, or the much sweeter, contemplative wines like beerenauslese and eiswein. Nor did they have much to do with great dry rieslings from Alsace or Austria.
Even today, sweet German rieslings can be polarizing. I think they are gorgeous: wonderful with food, and both refreshing and transporting. Still, when I wrote a 2017 Wine School column about German spätlese rieslings, readers’ resistance to these wines was strong.
People seem more accepting of dry riesling, which is the predominant style around the world, even in Germany.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to discern which rieslings are dry and which have some degree of sweetness. German rieslings marked “trocken” are always dry, but not all dry German rieslings carry the designation. Some might be marked “grosses gewächs,” indicating a dry wine from a top site, unless it comes from the Rheingau region, where such a wine might be marked “erstes gewächs.” If in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask.
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.
For a little more money, the West Coast offers some excellent rieslings, but producers like Smith-Madrone, Stony Hill and Tatomer in California and Brooks, Trisaetum and Teutonic in Oregon are not always so easy to find.
Alsace makes terrific rieslings, but they tend to be more expensive. Terrific rieslings are coming from Australia, like Frankland Estate, Grosset and Mac Forbes, though, sadly, some of the best bottles, from producers like La Violetta, don’t even come to the United States.
What to Cook Right Now
Sam Sifton has menu suggestions for the coming days. There are thousands of ideas for what to cook waiting for you on New York Times Cooking.
- Do not miss Yotam Ottolenghi’s incredible soba noodles with ginger broth and crunchy ginger. for fungi is a treat, and it pairs beautifully with fried snapper with Creole sauce.
- Try Ali Slagle’s salad pizza with white beans, arugula and pickled peppers, inspired by a California Pizza Kitchen classic.
- Alexa Weibel’s modern take on macaroni salad, enlivened by lemon and herbs, pairs really nicely with oven-fried chicken.
- A dollop of burrata does the heavy lifting in Sarah Copeland’s simple recipe for spaghetti with garlic-chile oil.
In general, cheaper riesling is simpler riesling. While there’s always a time and place for these wines, it’s sometimes necessary to pay a little more to experience riesling’s ability to convey the nuanced characteristics of a place.
Wine from great vineyards is labor-intensive, especially from wineries with wildly steep hillsides like the Mosel Valley of Germany. Those rieslings are farmed by hand and made by hand. They may cost more, but they are great values.
Here are the 10 bottles in order of price, from low to high.
Hermann J. Wiemer Seneca Lake Riesling Dry 2018 $19.99
Hermann J. Wiemer, an immigrant from the Mosel Valley, was one of the pioneering modern winemakers in the Finger Lakes and an early proponent of riesling there. Mr. Wiemer sold the estate in 2007 to Oskar Bynke and Fred Merwarth, who manages the vineyards and makes the wine. The Wiemer rieslings have always been more floral than mineral. Breathing in this wine is like inhaling a meadow full of flowers. It’s floral on the palate, too, with a touch of fruit and wet stones.
Dreissigacker Rheinhessen Riesling Trocken 2018 $19.99
I tried my first Dreissigacker riesling last year, and was won over immediately. The winery’s excellent higher-end rieslings come from several limestone sites in Rheinhessen. This entry-level bottle is from vines grown on loess and loam on gentle slopes. The wine, fermented and aged in stainless steel vats, is rich, fresh and balanced, with great acidity. It’s not particularly complex, but is full of pleasing citrus and mineral flavors. (Schatzi Wines, Milan, N.Y.)
Dautel Württemberg Riesling Trocken 2017 $21.96
Christian Dautel is part of a young vanguard that is bringing recognition to the Württemberg region in southwestern Germany. Dautel is better known for its red wines, which predominate in Württemberg, but this riesling is a beauty. It’s clear, pure, precise and energetic, with plenty of fruit and stony flavors. It’s made with minimal manipulation, from grapes grown on steep terraced slopes. (Skurnik Wines, New York)
Stein Mosel Riesling Kabinett Trocken St. Aldegunder Himmelreich 2016 $26
Ulrich Stein’s wines are always fascinating. This one, from 75-year-old ungrafted vines, is no exception. It’s brisk and dry, complex, energetic and delicious, with lingering flavors of lime and wet stones. Mr. Stein favors steep slate vineyards, and has fought successfully to reclaim some that were abandoned because they were so difficult to work, leading one wine writer, David Schildknecht, to term him “more a David than a Don Quixote.” (Vom Boden, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Bründlmayer Kamptal Riesling Terrassen 2018 $26.99
Bründlmayer is one of the best estates in the Kamptal region of Austria, just west of Vienna. This entry-level bottle is a blend from younger vines grown at several different terraced sites. It’s easy to drink, maybe a touch austere in a good way, with aromas and flavors of pressed flowers, apricot and stones. (Skurnik Wines)
Heinrich Spindler Pfalz Riesling Trocken Musenhang 2017 $28.96
Many moderately priced rieslings can be extremely pleasant, but lack depth and substance. This is not one of them. It’s rich and deep, fresh and incisive, with electric acidity. The Musenhang vineyard is a cool site high on a slope in the foothills of the Haardt Mountains of southwestern Germany, where the vines are planted on limestone and sandstone. (Schatzi Wines)
Koerner Clare Valley Watervale Riesling Gullyview Vineyard 2019 $29.99
Koerner is the vision of two Australian brothers, Damon and Jono Koerner, whose parents owned an old vineyard in Clare Valley, north of Adelaide. Instead of selling off the fruit as their parents had done, they used it to make wine. Now they get grapes from all over Clare and make a wide variety of wines, including this riesling. It’s fresh, with a gravelly texture and flavors that offer, as is the case with many Australian rieslings, the distinct impression of lime zest. (Little Peacock, New York)
Emrich-Schönleber Nahe Riesling Trocken Mineral 2017 $34.99
This wine, a midrange offer from one of the Nahe region’s leading estates, is called Mineral for a reason. The aromas are floral and herbal, but on the palate it tastes like stone and citrus, with an almost salty tinge. It’s dry and lip-smacking, pure, clear and energetic. (Petit Pois/Sussex Wine Merchant, Moorestown, N.J.)
Keller Rheinhessen Riesling von der Fels 2018 $37.99
Julia and Klaus Peter Keller are among the leading lights of German wine. They make G-Max, one of Germany’s most coveted rieslings and a true cult wine, along with exceptional single-vineyard rieslings, spätburgunders, as pinot noir is known in German, and a host of wines from other grapes. Their entry-level rieslings are excellent, but for my money the best value is Von der Fels, a rich, pure wine with chalky minerality and great clarity and focus. It’s wonderful now, and will be even better with a few years of aging. (Petit Pois/Sussex Wine Merchant)
Weiser-Künstler Mosel Riesling Trocken Enkircher Steffensberg 2018 $44.99
This is a fascinating and unusual bone-dry expression of the Mosel Valley. Weiser-Künstler is a small, relatively young estate, established by Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler in 2005. They have sought out small lots of riesling on ridiculously steep slopes. This bottle, from the Steffensberg vineyard, has an earthy breadth yet feels transparent, as if you are smelling and tasting the vineyard itself. This, too, will benefit from a few years of aging. (Vom Boden)