Riesling gets its mojo back, says Neil McGuigan

You may be thinking, ‘I’ve heard this one before’, but Riesling really is on the move, according to Neil McGuigan, who says that the grape is getting its mojo back.

The Jancis Robinson Trophy for Riesling at this year’s IWSC has been awarded to the McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2010

The trend, mentioned by McGuigan during an exclusive interview with the drinks business earlier this month, concerns Australian-grown Riesling specifically – which, he thinks, may be gaining in popularity because wine drinkers know that it will be dry.

“Australian Riesling is getting a bit of mojo about it,” he told db.

Continuing, he said, “We may be in front of the curve, but there is a feeling that there’s more interest in the variety.”

Having proudly told db that The Jancis Robinson Trophy for Riesling at this year’s IWSC was awarded to the McGuigan Shortlist Riesling 2010, along with a ‘Gold Outstanding’ in the same competition for the 2016 vintage, he said that Australian Riesling had “established its quality credentials in the wine show arena”.

And he said that such success should have a “trickle down effect” that will benefit the sales of “entry-level” Riesling.

As a result, at the end of this year, he revealed that he will launch two more affordable Rieslings under the McGuigan Classic and a Black Label brands, which will be made available for the UK.

Neil McGuigan: ‘If you compare Riesling to Pinot Grigio, then Riesling is the better drink’

Further justifying his decision to make more Riesling, and at cheaper prices, he said that the grape offers more character for the money that other varieties.

“If you compare Riesling to Pinot Grigio, then Riesling is the better drink,” he stated.

He also said that adding new Rieslings to his line-up was sating a desire from the market for new products in more niche areas.

“Supermarkets and consumers are always looking for something a little bit different,” he recorded.

As for an uptick in demand for Australian Riesling, as opposed to offerings from Germany or elsewhere in Europe, he said, “Compared to the competition, Australian Riesling is basically dry, so its easier for the consumer to understand: they know that Australian Riesling is dry and aromatic.”

Supporting McGuigan’s views on why the UK may be a good place for Australian Riesling, Julian Dyer, general manager for UK & Europe at Australian Vintage added, “There is a demand from [UK supermarket wine] buyers for more choice and differentiation and Riesling is a genuine alternative to Sauvignon Blanc, Semilon and lighter Chardonnays, and Australia is one of the best places for dry Riesling.”

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