Six area restaurants are participating in the Summer of Riesling, a nationwide campaign to feature this noble white wine in its various expressions. Riesling has long been a favorite of sommeliers because of its diversity of styles and food friendliness. Consumers, however, have been put off by that very diversity, which ranges in style from steely to tropical and in sweetness from bone dry to unctuous nectar.
Riesling’s popularity has grown in recent years as consumers have become more adventurous. The Summer of Riesling was started in 2008 by Paul Grieco of Terroir Wine Bar in New York City. This year more than 150 restaurants are participating with rotating by-the-glass selections. The campaign runs through Sept. 22.
You can get your Riesling fix in the District at Michel Richard Citronelle, Oya Restaurant and Lounge, Plume at the Jefferson Hotel, Proof and Vinoteca. Marylanders can head to Grapeseed in Bethesda. (Secco Wine Bar in Richmond is the only Virginia participant.)
At Proof, sommelier Sebastian Zutant recently offered three prime German RiesIings, plus the stellar Gobelsburg from Austria, ranging from $10 to $15 for a 6-ounce pour. More were on the way, including one from Hermann J. Wiemer in New York’s Finger Lakes region.
Michael Scaffidi of Plume lays claim to the city’s largest Riesling selection, including 15 half bottles, five magnums and more than 50 wines by the bottle. Plume’s by-the-glass selections for the Summer of Riesling include a selection from Peter Jakob Kuhn, one of the Rheingau’s most talented winemakers, as well as a 1992 Auslese from Wegeler, also in the Rheingau.
At Oya, Andrew Stover takes a regional approach, offering the Sawtooth Winery Riesling from Idaho and Brooklyn Oenology’s Finger Lakes Riesling, along with the Joseph Pfister Riesling from Alsace. They are available by the glass or in a flight of 2-ounce pours.