The German grape variety Rhein Riesling grows in vineyards across inland Croatia and produces white wines with a fruit aroma and strong acidity.
Rhein Riesling is a white grape variety grown in vineyards across northern Europe. As the name suggests, it originates from the Rhine river valley in Germany. The colour of the wine produced from this variety ranges from light yellow to the colour of straw, and if made correctly, the wine has a harmonious and fresh taste. It is characterised by a fruity and floral aroma, as well as high levels of acidity. This variety ripens fairly late in the year and gives the best results when left to ripen slowly. This allows it to accumulate the necessary sugars and at the same time retain its acidity. Although in Croatia it was traditionally considered a wine that should be consumed young, growing numbers of Croatian winemakers are beginning to let it age, which is a common method used in other countries that grow it. This lowers and evens out the acidity levels, giving it an elegant vivacity.
Rhein Riesling is grown in northwest and northeast Croatia, but the entire inland region of Croatia has potential to grow this international variety. The Riesling favours warm and sunny areas with a rocky ground. The key step is having adequate relative humidity levels at the end of the ripening process to enable noble rot to develop, which gives the wine a specific aroma. Croatian winemakers turn the Rhein Riesling into high-quality fine wines, especially in the areas of Kutjevo, Feričanci, Plešivica and Međimurje, which have a suitable climate for it.
The Rhein Riesling is served at a temperature of 10–12°C. A dry Riesling pairs well with seafood, cooked and roasted white fish, various pasta dishes with sauces made of vegetables and game meat such as pheasant, while a semi-dry wine will suit roasted veal, lamb, grilled fish, etc.