July 6th, 2014 by Books for Cooks
Over the years, as lovers of Riesling we’ve been quite happy for the wine world to flirt with first Chardonnay and Viognier and then Pinot Gris (or Grigio); to become disturbingly obsessed with Sauvignon Blanc; and to dally with Albarino and Verdelho - because as far as we can tell, that has left all the great Riesling affordable and available - to us!
Sadly that is all going to come to an end; because RIESLING IS THE NEXT BIG THING and Stuart Piggott has decided he has to tell everyone about it. In fact he’s been telling everyone about it since 2012 via his blog www.stuartpiggott.com
Piggott is a British wine journalist who lives in Berlin and New York, and who is both a leading expert on Riesling and one of its greatest champions. Best White Wine on Earth - the Riesling Story his new book (and his first in English for a long time) based on his search for great Riesling (see his blog) is a somewhat controversial, polemical and idiosyncratic, but certainly breathtaking, refreshing, aromatic and elegant look at Riesling in all its forms, varieties and expressions around the world. One literary sip and you’ll be hooked on the diversity of wines made from a single grape - bone-dry to so-sweet (as to rival Sauternes); often with a backbone of steel and acidity.
The book opens with an explanation of Riesling in all its forms, where it comes from, how it is made, how it should taste in the glass and how to tell a good Riesling. Dilettantes & wine geeks will appreciate the detailed, almost rambling exploration of these issues - those with less time will find invaluable the break out ‘First Base’ boxes explaining things essential to understanding Riesling. This is perhaps the strongest part of the book where the reader will gain the most confidence in appreciating good Riesling in all its disguises.
Readers particularly attuned to the typically searingly bone dry, lime, lemon and kerosene charactes of Australian Riesling will find a lot of guidance here
The balance of the book is an exploration of Riesling country by country; style by style. Chapter 3 looks at Australasia and gives a good nod to the wines the Clare Valley, Western Australia and locally of MacForbes.
Other chapters look at the USA (now a significant and serious Riesling producer), the Danube, the Rhine and a few other less well known homes for Riesling. As always a wine book must attempt to impose some sort of structure and standards and so Piggott concludes with his ‘Riesling Global Top 100; a listing of his best -of-the-best dry, medium dry, medium-sweet and sweet wines.
Piggott clearly wears his heart on his sleeve when it comes to Riesling; passionate, unabashed, opinionated, learned - this is a book that will engage wine lovers for its passion; challenge them with its opinions and excite them with a swathe of new wines to discover and explore. With Best White Wine On Earth in hand and a good wine store around the corner - you should never have to drink boring white wine ever again!
Who Should Buy: Perfect for aspiring wine geeks, Riesling lovers & those who love to champion underdogs - this is a must by for anyone in the wine industry
Price: $29.95 (like good Riesling - a bargain!)
Available: 1 July
Format: Hardcover 208pp; (20cm x 20cm)