Riesling wines are among the finest in the world. While many are on the sweet side, they can also be bone dry, especially those from Austria and Australia. Because the sugar levels vary so much, the International Riesling Foundation came up with a descriptive chart—often found on the back label of the bottle—specifying the level of sweetness. When the heat is on, nothing is more refreshing than a chilled dry riesling (less than one percent residual sugar). Here are the panel's top picks:
2013 Chehalem Three Vineyard Riesling, $22
Riesling vines thrive in the Northwest, and this Willamette Valley entry is an outstanding example. There's a hint of green olive in the deep, rich, lime aromas, along with a classic hit of petrol, which is better than it sounds. The flavors are equally rich with lively stone fruit and green apple colored by clover and spice. This is a real winner.
2012 Leth Riesling, $17.99
Rieslings, both dry and sweet, age beautifully as this Austrian entry with a few years in the bottle proves. Heady ripe citrus aromas lead off, along with apricot and touches of dill and mineral. This is a beautifully balanced wine marked by racy lime and stone fruit flavors showing remarkable length.
2015 Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling, $16.99
The high altitude Pewsey Vale vineyard in the Eden Valley of Australia dates back to 1847. This bone-dry riesling opens with crisp citrus and ripe apple aromas, while sweet/tart lemon drop flavors dominate the palate, backed by spicy peach lingering nicely on the finish. It pairs great with spicy Asian cuisine.