Many people tend to associate Riesling wines with sweet dessert wines, and it is true that many Rieslings can be quite sweet; however, Rieslings are more complex than that. Riesling grapes have the ability to absorb a great deal from their environment when they develop. Because Rieslings grow in rocky ground, especially soil dominated by slate and flint, Rieslings are generally characterized by minerally aromas and flavors. 

Rieslings produced along the Mosel River in Germany are unique in their low alcohol and powerful aroma. This grape also is very successful in Alsace, France. Given the right soil and winemaking methods, the combination of high acidity, high extract and low alcohol leads to intensely flavorful wines of ravishing delicacy, transparency and lightness. Riesling?s refined structure is complemented by the delicate flavors of fresh ripe peaches, apricots and melons, sometimes pierced with a vibrant mineral quality, like the taste of water running over stones in a mountain stream. 

The best appellations for Riesling in California are Santa Barbara, Monterey, Santa Cruz and Mendocino counties, while Washington and Oregon have also done well with this varietal. 

Rieslings have a wide affinity for foods of all types, characteristically enhancing, lifting and expanding the flavors of foods rather than covering or fighting with them.  The light delicately sweet flavor of simple pan-fried-in-butter trout is especially good with Riesling. On the other hand, grilled or sauteed sausage, with its range from savory to spicy, also works well with this varietal. 

No wine matches any better with cheese than Rieslings, especially those that are off-dry, rich in fruit character and high in malic acid (reminiscent of biting into a fresh apple).  Specific cheeses that go well with Riesling include Asiago, Beaufort, Brie, Camambert, Cheddar (sharp), Cheshire, Chevre, Colby, Comte, Crescenza, Dry Jack, Edam, Emmental, Epoisses, Feta, Fontina, goat cheeses, Gorgonzola, Gouda, Gruyere, Havarti, Jarlsberg, Le Chevrot, Limburger, Manchego, Mascarpone, Monterey Jack, Morbier, Muenster, Munster-Gerome, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Port Salut, Provolone, Roquefort, Shropshire, Stilton, Swiss, Teleme and washed-rind cheeses, such as Taleggio from Italy, Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk and Reblochon, Pont Eveque and Livarot from France.