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Good Wine Under $20: Riesling

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The Great Riesling Roundup in Australia

It’s time for a selection of Rieslings to liven up your summer. When July turns into August, I crave boiled spicy shrimp or garlic and lemon marinated chicken to balance out the BBQ sauce, hot dogs, and steaks that many of us have been eating since Memorial Day. Riesling is the perfect accompaniment to these energetic, vibrant summer options if this describes your mood. And Australian Rieslings appear to be made for the warm weather and alfresco eating that characterize this year.

Here are some suggestions based on recent experiences with Australian Rieslings:

Petrol, lemon pith, and apple peel aromas characterize the 2008 Plantagenet Riesling. (retail price: $20; available for $13-$21) The flavours are more round, resembling Granny Smith apples and litchi, but they are still dry. It’s fantastic with seafood. This classically pleasant wine offers excellent value for money.

Despite its moniker, the 2009 Frisk Riesling “Prickly” is anything but prickly. (retail price $10; available for $9-$13) Instead, it’s a straightforward Riesling with a spritz finish and vibrant, somewhat sweet apple aromas. This is better for sipping on the back patio with some hors d’oeuvres or pairing with very spicy food than either of the other bottles here. Excellent QPR.

We’re back to a dry and delicate wine with comparable petroleum and green apple scents in the 2008 d’Arenberg Riesling The Dry Dam. (Restaurant suggested retail $16; $9-$18) This time, green apple takes centre stage, with a hint of petroleum in the aftertaste. Good value for money and commonly accessible. Excellent QPR.