With all due respect to microbrews, you should be stocking your cooler with Riesling—the ultimate match for salty and spicy summer eats. The German-bred grape—now grown all over—yields textures and flavors that range from acidic and dry to ripe and rich. In fact, its menu-spanning abilities have sparked a renaissance among savvy sommeliers and hip wine-store owners, making Riesling the drink of the season.
1. 2011 Thomas Goss
This refreshing bottle from Australia has the snap of green apple, loads of lime, and a crisp finish.
Best with: Grilled shrimp kebabs
The acidity and citrus are the perfect complement to flame-licked but still-sweet shrimp.
2. 2011 Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel
Dry and linear, this Austrian Riesling has balanced notes of yellow apples and pears and a bit of baking spice.
Best with: Hot dog and mustard
Those orchard-fruit flavors and a touch of acidity make it a great chaser for a salty dog with tangy mustard.
3. 2011 Josef Leitz Dragonstone
The juicy apple notes of this off-dry wine from Germany mingle with refreshing bursts of herb and peach.
Best with: Burger and blue cheese
The sugar handles the funk of the cheese and the smokiness of the grilled meat.
4. 2011 Hermann J. Wiemer Semi-Dry
Sipping this New York wine is like biting into a juicy peach, and the lingering minerality makes it even better.
Best with: Spicy sausage
That touch of sweetness softens the sting of the sausage.
5. 2012 Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley
The "hi-yah!" acidity and apricot and lime-zest flavors form a superb one-two punch in this Washington State sipper.
Best with: Grilled chicken
Notes of citrus and apple are prime for an herb-rubbed chicken.
6. 2010 Domaine Weinbach Clos du Capucins "Cuvée Theo"
This flavor-packed Alsatian wine has a heady aroma of vanilla, dried pears, and lilies followed by a spicy, smoky finish.
Best with: Barbecued spare ribs
Lush flavors complement the sauce; acidity balances the fat.
The Best Restaurants For Riesling Lovers
A. Kitchen / Philadelphia
The hotel restaurant stocks over two dozen mostly German Rieslings.
Red Medicine / Los Angeles
This Vietnamese-fusion spot offers 32 bottles and asserts, "If you don't like Riesling, you're wrong." redmedicinela.com
Social Wine Bar / Charleston, S.C.
More than 60 top-flight bottles are pouring at this warehouse restaurant.
Terroir / New York City
Riesling fanatic Paul Grieco's East Village wine bar stocks 150 bottles.