Jancis Robinson Ponders Whether Riesling Will Ever Take Off for Real

Some things sadly just aren’t meant to be. Wine critic and riesling lover Jancis Robinson knows this all too well.

An expert on the merits of the native German grape variety, she’s studied firsthand the oft-misunderstood grape’s steady ascent over the past 35 years of winemaking. First dealing with an over-ripening problem in Europe, then a loss of flavor in Australia, Riesling has had a slow go of it for the past three decades. Now, on the cusp of its popularity in the United States, with nearly twice the amount of vineyards growing the grape in California in 2012 than there were in 2003, signs are pointing to another loss in Riesling’s share of the market. But what’s to blame for making Riesling so impervious to success?

According to Robinson, “The problem with Riesling is that, unlike Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, it has a very powerful flavour.” Or perhaps it could be the accusations that Riesling has more sugar and is sweeter than other whites, though both of these are often not so. Whatever the case may be, however, it seems Riesling still has a long way to if it’s ever going to give wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio a run for their money. But perhaps, in a way, it’s all the better when you consider that mass success also comes with its own set of problems. [Jancis Robinson] [Photo:Flickr/Francois]