5 Polish Rieslings to try
A Germanic grape of international fame, Riesling is now cultivated in a variety of terroirs, each showcasing its unique expression. In Poland, it is the most widely planted Vitis vinifera grape, benefiting from the country’s cooler climate. The majority of Riesling plantings are concentrated in the famed region of Lubuskie in western Poland, while other significant regions include Lesser Poland and Lower Silesia.
The selection of bottles below provides a sneak peek into the diverse styles of Polish Riesling. Whether vinified bone-dry, refreshingly off-dry, or indulgently dessert-worthy, Polish Riesling offers a wide range of styles to explore. With its distinctive high acidity, varying levels of sweetness, and a plethora of aromas, ranging from zesty citrus to juicy orchard fruit, Polish Riesling sets the stage for endless food pairing possibilities.
Winnica Silesian Riesling, Lower Silesia
Alluring aromas of rose, apricot and honey dominate this exuberant dry Riesling with tangy acidity, crafted by this family-run winery in the foothills of the Sudety, near Świdnica. Brief skin contact adds some extra body and complexity.
An award-winning bottle marked by strength and elegance, two distinctive features of the Silesian horses, after which Winnica Silesian is named: Winnnica Silesian’s family business traditions span over three generations, with a background in horse breeding. Pair this Polish Riesling with equally expressive dishes like bigos with forest mushrooms or roast duck.
Winnica Equus Riesling, Lubuskie
This elegant style of Riesling with intense aromas of ripe peaches, apples and apricot comes from one of the most decorated winemakers in Poland, Winnica Equus in Lubuskie. The grapes are sourced from the best-quality plots near the town of Zielona Góra, featuring some of the best terroirs for the aromatic grape.
A later harvest date, almost as late as November 30 for the 2019 vintage, translates into a dense structure and a perfect balance between a touch of residual sugar and vibrant acidity. Made with low intervention techniques and not de-acidified. An ageworthy Polish Riesling that is delicious upon release and will beautifully hold further.
Winnica Wieliczka Riesling, Lesser Poland
From the slopes of Wieliczka Highland, in the Wilga Valley, comes this golden-hued skin-contact Riesling from the biodynamics pioneer Winnica Wieliczka. Its founder Agnieszka Wyrobek-Rousseau became the first Polish oenologist and is widely regarded as the country’s most experienced winemaker today.
By leaving the grapes to macerate for around 10 months on their skins, she aims to bring out a rich, textured side to the variety, together with scents of lightly bruised apple skin, orange rind and light bitter aftertaste.
Winnice Wzgórz Trzebnickich Riesling Sur Lie, Lower Silesia
The range of the moraine Trzebnica Hills just outside Wrocław, one of the oldest documented winegrowing sites in Poland, is home to the eponymous Winnice Wzgórz Trzebnickich. A strong champion of Vitis vinifera and no stranger to winemaking experiments, its head winemaker Rafał Wesołowski is behind this Sur Lie Riesling.
Its elegant nose offers pink-grapefruit, peach and lemon aromas, as well as a hint of minerality, while the six-month ageing on lees brings out a smoother, richer mouthfeel. The sizzling acidity is balanced by a touch of sweetness. If you are looking to try another, slightly more oxidative sur lie style, track down the Winnice Jaworek Riesling bottling, also crafted in Lower Silesia.
Winnica Saganum Riesling Passito 2020, Lubuskie
Exuberantly perfumed, this passito Riesling wafts from the glass with notes of roast apple, candied orange, dried apricots, ripe peach, linden honey and camomile. Almost Tokaj-like in character, it gains concentration, complexity and noticeable sugar from the 14-day appasimento process, where beautifully ripe grapes are dried on straw mats, before maceration and fermentation using wild yeast.
The longer ripening season is possible thanks to the nearby Bóbr river and the distinctive clay-loam soils making up its gentle slopes, dotted with vineyards and orchards. This award-winning dessert wine has garnered numerous accolades — a recognition of the excellent work of this producer, specialised in Polish wines made from late-harvested or further-dried grape varieties.
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