Riesling can be delicate or full-bodied, floral with aromas of jasmine and honeysuckle, or earthy with hints of stone, mineral oil or exotic spices. Its flavor generally suggests tree fruits such as peaches and apricots, and the best Rieslings often have a citrus note that lends focus to the wine. The following Rieslings come from around the world and reflect the grape's diversity of expressions.
Cave Spring "CSV" Riesling 2007
Niagara Peninsula, Canada; $28
This leading Canadian producer has recently begun distributing its wines in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Estate Riesling ($18, dry) and Niagara Riesling ($15, semi-dry) are most widely available. The single-vineyard CSV, the winery's top bottling, is dry, delicate and fine, with hints of talc and exotic fruits.
Boutique Vineyards: available in the District at Cleveland Park Wine and Spirits; in Virginia at Arrowine in Arlington and Unwined in Alexandria; in Maryland at Mills Fine Wine and Spirits in Annapolis. Estate Riesling is available in the District at Calvert Woodley; in Virginia at Unwined in Alexandria; and at all four area Balducci's; on the list at Tallula in Arlington.
Gobelsburger Riesling 2007
Langenlois, Austria; $23
Light-bodied, with focused citrus flavors (like Sprite for adults), this wine can stand by itself, though its acidity gives it deceptive heft to match many foods, especially seafood. The wine is dry.
Country Vintner in the District and Virginia, Bacchus in Maryland: available in the District at Paul's of Chevy Chase; on the list at CityZen, Palena, Proof and Zola.
Bastgen Blauschiefer Riesling 2007
Mosel, Germany; $14
Atypically dry for Mosel Riesling, "Blauschiefer" refers to the blue-slate soil in the impressively steep vineyards. This wine features apricot, ginger, jasmine and star anise flavors with a nice minerally finish.
Kysela: available in the District at Magruder's; in Virginia at Classic Wines in Great Falls, Wegmans in Manassas, Whole Foods Market in Arlington and WineStyles in Fairfax; on the list at L'Auberge Chez François in Great Falls.
Chateau Ste. Michelle "Eroica" Riesling 2007
Columbia Valley, Washington; $24
This wine, a joint venture between Chateau Ste. Michelle and German winemaker Ernst Loosen, is reputed to be the best U.S. Riesling. While others have staked a claim to that title, this wine continues to impress; it is full and ripe with zesty citrus and stone fruit flavors. A tad sweet, it would probably qualify as semi-dry, but only a chemist would care.