Vitis vinifera var. Riesling, the classic wine grape of the Rhine, has been spread worldwide due to the very excellence of the wines it is capable of producing. The Riesling is the "great white grape" of Germany and, according to Jancis Robinson, "...can claim to be the finest white grape variety in the world on the basis of the longivity of its wines and their ability to transmit the characteristics of a vineyard without losing Riesling's own inimitable style." That is quite a statement!
The Johannisberg Riesling, also known as the "White Riesling," the "True Riesling," and the "Auslesen," is either a subvariety or the original Riesling grape -- no one seems to really know. It produces spicy wines with great aroma and depth. Both the vine and the grape are unusually cold-hardy, making it a favorite for very late harvests. Indeed, the late-harvested Rieslings make sweeter wines with richer flavor and are ideal enhancements to many, many kinds of food. If you could only make one white wine, to many this would be the one to make. This recipe makes 5 U.S. gallons (19 liters).
Pick grapes when fully ripe, discarding any spoiled grapes from clusters. Crush and destem the grapes. Add pectic enzyme to the crush and stir with wooden paddle. Cover and set aside 2 hours. Press grapes and transfer juice to primary fermentation vessel, stirring in ¼ tsp potassium metabisulfite and covering primary. Let sit 8 hours. Adjust acidity and sugar as required (starting specific gravity should not exceed 1.090 unless naturally) and stir in yeast nutrient. Add activated yeast starter gently so starter remains at or near surface (stir shallowly). Recover primary and after 2 hours stir deeply and recover again. Ferment in primary until specific gravity drops to 1.000. Stabilize, rack to secondary, attach airlock, and set in a cool place. Rack every 30-45 days until wine clears, adding ¼ tsp. potassium metabisulfite every other racking (recipe ingredients allow for at least 3 additions). If wine does not clear after 3rd racking, fine with Bentonite and allow additional month to clear. Rack again, sweeten to taste, and bottle. Allow 3-6 months before tasting. [Author's own recipe]
My thanks to Lonni in Boise, Idaho for this request.