Riesling Renaissance: Around the World With 5 Wines with Cheeses, Corned Beef #RieslingDay

cheese with Riesling!!

Happy Birthday Riesling, you’re another year older today!

On March 13, Riesling celebrates its 586th birthday– and we’re celebrating with five wines from around the world!

Why March 13?

Riesling’s first mention in a written document occurred on this day in 1435 in an invoice from Klaus Kleinfisch to his lord, Count Johann IV of Katzenelnbogen, for the purchase of Riesling vines to be planted next to the fort he was building, according to Wines of Germany.

While Riesling is grown around the world, most people associate the grape with Germany where Riesling grows in 25% of the vineyards, and 45 percent of all Rieslings in the world grow there– 56k acres!  Riesling spread quickly in Germany due in part to the long maturation period and frost resistance. In the Rheingau and on the Mosel documents show Riesling growing there  dating back to the years 1435 or 1465.

5 riesling with corned beef and flowers by Passion Flowers in Ventura

The timing for Riesling Day couldn’t be more perfect because it goes so well with corned beef and cabbage traditionally served around St. Patrick’s Day; I suspected as much when last year we decided to #ClinkDifferent and try two German wines, a Sylvaner and a blanc de Noir. Riesling also pairs wonderfully with fondue, a great winter and spring dish. My favorite riesling pairing is with uni which is enjoyable all year — try it on an oyster paired with a riesling or in the Italian dish where the uni is made into a sauce labeled over pasta. 


  • Irish Soda Bread
  • Irish “Swiss” cheese
  • Tete Moine AOP
  • Porter Cheddar
  • Goat cheese with herbs
  • Instant Pot Corned Beef (recipe) with Purple Cabbage, Carrots, Brussel Sprouts, Potatoes

For Riesling 2021, since we can’t travel in person, we traveled virtually from Oceana to North America and then to Europe. Join us!

  • 2017 St John’s Road Barossa “Gee Whizz Tram Driver” Dry Traminer Riesling, Eden Valley South Australia
  • 2019 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel River Valley, Germany
  • 2017 Barker’s Marque “Three Brooms” Single Vineyard Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand
  • 2016 Cave de Ribeauvillé Osterberg Riesling Alsace Grand Cru, France
  • 2019 Reserve Riesling Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York, US



2017 St John’s Road Barossa “Gee Whizz Tram Driver” Dry Traminer Riesling, Eden Valley South Australia
ABV 12%
purchased on sale at Grocery Outlet for $4 (?)

Usually I’d think of the Barossa Valley outside of Adelaide as quite warm based on the shiraz and other wines I’ve tasted but they say cool climate plus sheep pruned right on the label!

I hadn’t intended to write about this wine. I’d opened it a few days before and then when I learned that today was Riesling Day, I threw it into the proverbial ring for tasting with the cheese plate and with the corned beef and cabbage. While it hadn’t turned, it wasn’t at its prime when we retested it for this post.

I purchased this wine in part because when we were competing for the World Wine Championships, our teammates were convinced that the riesling we were tasting was from the Eden Valley, and that riesling from there is a thing. Well, guess what, they were wrong and Sue and I were right when it was announced that the riesling was indeed from Mosel as we had suspected.

So since October 2019, I’ve been curious about trying a riesling from Eden Valley and when I saw this at Grocery Outlet I was thrilled to try it and share it with Sue. Well, my first sniff and sip made me SURE the two should never be confused– it has so many herbal jalapeño jelly type notes and loads of lemon lime, especially when it was originally opened.

Color: Pale yellow, pale lemon,

Nose: Gasoline, fennel, green herbal notes, petrol and herbs, does not smell sweet at all, fresh and clean,

Palate: This is not very complex. One might think it to be a bit underwhelming both on the palate and the nose. Mellow smooth. Clean and refreshing, nice poolside sipper. Lemon lime, green herbs, slate, stone, short finish.

Pairing: This wine was fabulous with oysters and uni. It liked the creaminess of the herbed goat cheese, but did not necessarily go great with the herbs. Sue didn’t care for it with the Dubliner Swiss. I liked it with the creamy porter. I can see this wine going well with fried seafood appetizers like egg rolls. Maybe even crab puffs.

Clean Slate

2019 Clean Slate Riesling, Mosel River Valley, Germany
ABV 10.5%
SRP $12
sample from Winebow

Mosel’s steep slopes, exceptional climate, and mineral-rich slate soil creates ideal growing conditions Riesling and this is more like what we’d expect one to smell and taste like– this has very classical notes of peach and lime.

Love the label’s layers of slate provoking the illusion of water percolating through the stone. I would buy this wine again because it’s a solid sipper with a simple yet evocative label. I love easy twist off cap and I’d take it to friends, camping, to the beach or on a picnic.

Color: Pale lemon

Nose: Honeysuckle, peach, light underlying scents of petrol, lemon, lemongrass, slate, wet rain,

Palate: There is a sweetness, but this is a dry wine. It is acidic and tart, yet nicely smooth with a long lingering finish. Lemon and lime, citric acid hangs around at the front of the palate. Fresh yellow peach and nectarine,

Pairing:  The creamy lusciousness of the Tete Moine AOP is enhanced so nicely with the wine. Tangy cheeses go well with the tanginess of the wine.

The herbed goat cheese on top of our raisin soda bread was a definite wow pairing with this wine.

We were both shocked at how well they all went together so nicely.  Solid choice of wine to have with corned beef and cabbage, too.

Three Brooms

2017 Barker’s Marque “Three Brooms” Single Vineyard Riesling, Marlborough, New Zealand
ABV 10.5%
purchased at Grocery Outlet ($?)

Certified Sustainable

Color: Pale lemon with a hint of green

Nose: Gasoline, tar, sulphur, green grass, fresh cut grass left in the compost pile, ripe grass, earthy grass, mown grass, mown grass and earth.

Palate: Lemon lime, tart, petrol, sweet tart, citrus lingers at the back of the throat, very dry, very crisp, much of the same feel as a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Pairing: Very nice with the herbed goat cheese. Was alright with the dubliner Swiss, but not over the top. It did like the creaminess of the Tete ? cheese. Sue mentioned that she wanted this wine with some sand dabs. I chimed in and said that any fish or chicken dish with capers and lemon would be great with the wine. The finish of the wine is greatly enhanced with the food.


2016 Cave de Ribeauvillé Osterberg Riesling Alsace Grand Cru, France
ABV 12%
SRP $38

The oldest cooperative in France was founded in 1895; today Cave de Ribeauvillé has 110 members with vineyards extending “for six miles around Ribeauvillé, on a famous geological fault line with terrain characterized by a patchwork of different soils and subsoils. Sediments of clay, chalk, sandstone schist and marls provide the acidity and the structure unique to the Alsace wines. The plots are well exposed to sunshine and benefit from the natural protection of the Vosges Mountains,” according to the tech sheet provided by Teuwen. The main soil here is clay.

With this much acidity, complex nose, and intense flavor, we want to see this wine in 10 more years!

Color: Pale yellow with a tinge of green

Nose: Sweet perfume, bubble gum, tuber rose, gardenia, violets, very intriguing nose, kefir lime, cherry blossom

Palate: Slippery mouthfeel, the wine explodes with flavor and acidity in your mouth.

Pairing: So nice with the Tete Moine AOP cheese, really nice with the Dubliner Swiss. It made Sue think it would be great with French onion soup. I don’t care for onions but wanted a fondue pot. They suggest scallops — and I just bought some fresh ones!

This is not just the most expensive wine on the table, but clearly the best. Really exceptional. Excellent with the corned beef. I can not wait to try it with the scallops!

Fox Run Riesling

2019 Fox Run Vineyards Reserve Riesling, Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York, US
SRP $30

John was such a fan of this wine. This is a sweeter wine than the rest of the wines, but it’s certainly not “too” sweet for this meal. Consider it with Asian food! I paired it with some crab sushi in lettuce cups– really nice.

This is their first “reserve” riesling in eight years: “Not since 2011 have our winemakers experienced the uncommon varietal aroma and flavor intensity contained in this bottle.”

Color: Very pale golden yellow

Nose: Smells typically Riesling, petrol, light meadow flowers, honey, fennel, bee pollen,

Palate: As the bottle states, between medium, dry and medium sweet, lively acidity balances the sweet, but won’t take the enamel off your teeth! Lengthy complex finish and fun mouthfeel. A bit exotic!

Sue: “It is a very enjoyable wine, and I am not always a fan of sweeter wines.”  

Pairing: Alpine cheeses and this wine are fast friends. The sweetness of the cheese pairs well with the sweetness of the wine. Really nice with the Irish raisin soda bread topped with herbed goat cheese. Also really nice with the richness of the porter cheddar.

My second favorite pairing with the corned beef– the touch of sweetness works so well. 

While very food friendly, it was also a lovely choice for a Saturday afternoon sitting in the sun and writing.

Happy Riesling Day! Do you have favorites?

infographic: riesling

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