The pale skinned fruits of the Riesling grapevine have been grown in and around Germany's Rhine Valley for centuries, and contributed much to the country's wine culture. Today, Riesling grapes are grown and processed in several countries around the world, where they are prized for their ability to grow well in colder climates, and their unique flavors and characteristics. Riesling grapes produce an impressive array of wines, including fine semi sweet and dessert wines, to excellent dry white wines and sparkling varieties, all which allow the grape to shine through as a premier example of an excellent white wine varietal. One of the things which makes Riesling such a special grape is the fact that it is highly 'terroir expressive', meaning that the features of the land it is grown on can come across well in the flavors and aromas in the wine. As such, it isn't unusual to find flavors of white stone, or smoky ash-like notes in a fine Riesling alongside the more usual orchard fruit flavors more commonly associated with good white wines.
Hungary is a country not always readily associated with wines and viticulture, and yet this central European country has one of the most unique and important wine cultures in the Old World. The regions around Lake Balaton produce many of the most elegant and flavorful white wines to be found anywhere, characterized by their slight sweetness and flavors of elderflower and gooseberry. However, it is the historic Tokaj region which really shines as Hungary's premier wine producing area, as this is the home to the 'noble rot' wines which carry such interesting and unique flavors and aromas, adored by serious wine lovers worldwide and influencing vintners across the globe. Tokaji wines tend to be slightly viscous, and packed full of surprising notes of marzipan, dried apricot and candied peel, and are a great example of Hungary's exciting wine culture and history.