5 Things Every Wine Connoisseur Knows About Riesling

"Wine can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be," David Rosenthal, a winemaker for Chateau Ste. Michelle, told POPSUGAR. Since the versatility of wine can be slightly confusing, we're here to make it easier by breaking down a summertime favorite: Riesling. Keep reading for five facts everyone needs to know about this light and refreshing wine, but let us warn you, you may walk away feeling a bit thirstier.

1. Its diversity

Riesling is unique because no other grape variety in the world can be made in so many different styles, from dry and zesty to sweet dessert wines. "Since you can play with the sweetness, Riesling is a very three-dimensional wine," Rosenthal added.

2. Its low alcohol content

Rieslings can often have lower alcohol levels because winemakers don't ferment all of the natural sugar in this type of grape to the extent of other dry wines. Some Rieslings, like Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Dry Riesling, come labeled with the IRS sweetness scale to match consumer expectations.

Chateau Ste. Michelle

3. Its geography

From powerful dry wines of Austria to the elegant German variations, Riesling allows wine-lovers to compare regions from around the world. "Riesling grows in a range of different climates," Rosenthal explained. "Each different growing area will give you a different characteristic."

4. Its aging potential

Riesling wines often improve the longer they remain in the bottle. The aging potential comes from the naturally low pH and high acidity of Rieslings, as well as from Riesling's mineral aspect. Some dessert-style Rieslings have the longest ageability of any wine, reaching up to 100 years.

5. Its food affinity

One of the most food-friendly wines around, Riesling pairs with everything from sushi and seafood to spicy foods like Thai and Indian curries (it's famous for cooling off the palate!). It's most popularly enjoyed as a dessert wine.

More From Chateau Ste. Michelle
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington state's founding winery, has been a champion of Riesling for more than 45 years and was catapulted into the national spotlight when its 1972 Johannisberg Riesling won the now-famous blind tasting of nineteen white Rieslings sponsored by the Los Angeles Times. Chateau Ste. Michelle offers up to nine different Rieslings designed to showcase the versatility of Riesling and the regional styles within Washington's Columbia Valley, which produces more Riesling than any other American wine region.