Of all the noble grapes, riesling is probably the most misunderstood and under appreciated. Responsible for some of the world's greatest sweet wines with strange names like Trockenbeerenauslese, riesling also produces exceptional dry whites. Originating in Germany, riesling has spread across the globe with good reason. As the mercury rises, nothing tastes better than a crisp riesling. And it is one of the most food-friendly whites, working well with spicy Asian, simple seafood, light pasta and more. Here are the panel's top three picks:
2012 Domane Wachau Federspiel Terrassen Riesling, $24
This wine's aromas are a rich mix of candied plum, peach and lime. The flavors are a bit light out of the gate, but they build nicely. After a few minutes, sweet mango and melon play against bright citrus and green apple. The finish is light but lively, colored by lemon drop and blood orange. It's a lovely effort from this Austrian winery.
2012 Kings Ridge Oregon Riesling, $13.99
Climate conditions in much of the Northwest are ideal for riesling, with warm days assuring ripeness and cool nights preserving crisp acidity. Kings Ridge offers honeyed melon, rose petal and clover on the nose with a touch of spice. On the palate, its tangy lime flavors are backed by apricot and green apple. Citrus zest and bright acidity mark the finish in this well-balanced, nicely priced riesling.
2012 Villa Huesgen Nine Generation Riesling, $16.99
Steeply terraced vineyards line much of both the Rhine and Moselle rivers. The wines produced there vary in style from decadent dessert to bone-dry aperitif. This version from the Mosel region leads with floral aromas, including peach, citrus, ginger and herb-laced bacon. Beautifully balanced in the mouth, the flavors are a combo of sweet citrus and racy stone fruit with a smooth finish.