As one of the most underappreciated white wine grapes, Riesling is often very sweet or very dry, and can get pricey. But what if you’re looking for something that’s in the middle? Navigating the German Riesling label system can be difficult, but in between trocken (dry) and trockenbeerenauslese you’ll find fienherb or halbtrocken, in other words off-dry and semi-sweet wines. Thankfully, bottles from elsewhere in the world don’t use Germany’s Prädikat or Qualitätswein systems. But in case you don’t want to spend the time decoding bottle labels, we’ve picked out seven exceptional off-dry Rieslings to try.
Willems-Willems 2016 Saar Oberemmel Altenberg Kabinett Riesling (Mosel); $22, 92 points. Sun-kissed grapefruit and white-peach flavors in this off-dry Riesling are buoyantly ripe but off set by spine-tingling acidity and a salty mineral brace. Dancingly light on its feet, it’s a piercing complex kabinett marked by delicate sweetness and a puckering lime finish.—Anna Lee C. Iijima
St. Urbans-Hof 2016 Nik Weis Estate Bottled Old Vines Riesling (Mosel); $17, 90 points. Vibrant acidity and zingy grapefruit and yellow-cherry flavors collide in this off-dry Riesling. It’s delightfully forward and fruity yet maintains a nuanced undertone of gun flint and crushed minerals. This is an elegant yet approachable wine to enjoy now through 2021.—A.L.C.I.
Mönchhof 2016 Riesling (Mosel); $18, 90 points. While exceptionally light footed and frisky, this off-dry Riesling offers bold yellow-peach and cantaloupe flavors glazed by sweet hibiscus nectar. Briskly composed and refreshingly mineral, it finishes with a delightfully nervous tension.—A.L.C.I.
Brooks 2016 Cahiers Riesling (Willamette Valley); $24, 90 points. Made in a medium-sweet style, this emphasizes strong peach flavors that some might call syrupy. It’s nicely ripe, fruit-driven, off dry and should be enjoyed slightly chilled.—Paul Gregutt
St. Urbans-Hof 2016 Nik Weis Selection Urban Riesling (Mosel); $12, 89 points. Cutting yellow-peach and tangerine flavors are restrained in ripeness but nuanced by delicate hints of earth and crushed slate. Off dry and light in body, this is a spine-tingling, zesty Riesling with a salty crushed mineral finish. Best Buy.—A.L.C.I.
Dr. Fischer 2016 Steinbock Riesling (Mosel); $15, 89 points. Invigorating pineapple and crisp white-grapefruit flavors are jolted by high-toned electric acidity in this sprightly off-dry wine. It’s an easy-drinking juicy sip but nuanced subtly by hints of crushed slate and salt. This is ready to drink now.—A.L.C.I.
Reinhold Haart 2016 Estate Medium Dry Riesling (Mosel); $22, 89 points. Racy streaks of lime and green apple make this off-dry Riesling a rejuvenating thirst quencher. The palate is brisk and cutting with sunny tangerine sweetness brightening the midpalate, and hints of smoke and earth lending complexity to the finish.—A.L.C.I.