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Naturally in Niagara

The Grape Files: Riesling

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Riesling is one of Niagara’s signature grapes. Our soils are rich with limestone and our climate makes bright and fruitful wines with racy acidity and classic citrus notes in the glass. Across the board, most Niagara wine producers have bright and beautiful Rieslings on the shelf.

Winemakers have an affinity for the grape because it is allows them to let the terroir of their vineyards sing. That is, the soil gives the wine unique and definable characteristics that shape the flavours we enjoy in the glass.


Riesling has its roots in Alsace, France and in Germany. Each region is known for very different styles of Riesling, and Niagara typically falls somewhere in between.

Alsace is known to produce dry but not sweet Rieslings that demonstrate great minerality, which translates to a petrol (yes as in gasoline, but in a truly inviting way) on the nose. These wines are very substantial, high in acidity and give that pucker in the sides of your cheeks that makes your palate long for some goat cheese to create the perfect balance.

Germany produces Rieslings that start off dry and go all the way to extremely sweet dessert wines. In Germany the wines are cultivated to contain residual sugar aplenty, and these sweet wines are prized all over the world. For these wines, go traditional with German foods such as ham, sausage, potatoes and sauerkraut. Yum!


Riesling from Niagara pairs well with a variety of foods such as Pad Thai, Indian foods like Butter Chicken and as we noted above, the classic German dishes. Riesling will bring your plates of sashimi and sushi, grilled or poached white fish, roasted pork, and other comparable dishes to life!

The Author

Allie Hughes is the wine and culinary contributor to Naturally in Niagara, feasting on the decadent experience that is life in this region. With a fine wine sensibility honed at the International Sommelier Guild, Allie is taking the journey of Niagara by the glass with you with each new taste. Allie is also the creative mind behind the marketing of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, and owner of Hughes & Co., a boutique social strategy firm.

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