The most important grape by far (though not the most prolific) is Riesling, a grape capable of yielding white wines with astonishing longevity, indeed some of the greatest white wines in the world. The dry are called Trocken and the sweeter ones range from the delicate, floral-scented and ripe-tasting Kabinett, Spatlese & Auslese wines of Mosel or Rheingau, for example, to the sweeter, pudding and cheese wines known as Eiswein, Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese. Eiswein is produced from over-ripe grapes picked frozen on their vines and wines described as Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese are produced from (botrytis) mould- affected, shrivelled-up grapes left barely hanging on their vines. The German love of sweet-and-savoury (example pork and apple) and sweet-and-sour (sauerkraut), give to vast amounts of their fine Kabinett and Spatlese wines the ideal outlet. The high acid and mineral-tasting sweet Riesling copes wonderfully well with the flavour contrasts. At Spatlese and Auslese levels of sweetness one might go to duck, goose, venison or even wild boar, but it is also a match for fruit tarts and fresh fruit salads. Sweeter than that and head straight for the sticky sweet puddings, or simply enjoy them on their own after a meal.
- Schloss Vollrads, Kabinett, Rheingau 2011 £22.99
- Leitz, Rudesheimer Klosterlay Riesling Auslese, Rheingau 2006 (50cl) £11.99
- Dr. Loosen Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Mosel 2007 £22.99
- Dr Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel 2009 £16.99
- Oppenheimer Krotenbrunnen Spatlese, Rheinhessen 2008 £6.99