Riesling grapes have been grown in and around central Europe for centuries, and over time, they became the lasting symbol of south Germany's ancient and proud wine culture. Whilst the reputation of German wines abroad has in the past been mixed, the Germans themselves take an enormous amount of pride in their wineries, and Riesling grapes have now spread around the globe, growing anywhere with the correct climate in which they can thrive. Riesling grape varietals generally require much cooler climatic conditions than many other white grapes, and they are generally considered to be a very 'terroir expressive' varietal, meaning that the features and characteristics of the terroir they are grown on comes across in the flavors and aromas in the bottle. It is this important feature which has allowed Riesling wines to be elevated into the category of 'fine' white wines, as the features of the top quality bottles are generally considered to be highly unique and offer much to interest wine enthusiasts.
Hungary's wine industry suffered a real drop in reputation throughout most of the twentieth century due to the homogenization of wines under the Soviet Union. However, today the historic wineries of Tokaj and the regions around the great Balaton lake are working tirelessly to bring Hungary's wines to the world once again, and demonstrate just how wonderful and varied the country's produce is. By far the most highly esteemed of all Hungary's wines are the famous Tokaji wines â€“ once the favorite of the crowned heads of Europe, now a favorite with anyone looking for something unique, flavorful and surprising. Tokaji wines are made using noble rot, which withers the grapes and concentrates the sugars of the fruit. The resulting wine is slightly viscous, and packed full of fascinating flavors.