Riesling’s moniker of a being a sweet white wine is being shed. It’s the food friendly flavors, coupled with the transparent and diverse nature has positioned Riesling as the darling of wine in the eyes of sommeliers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts.

Since Washington state’s wine industry’s inception, Riesling has been a staple. It is among the largest planted varietals in the state, growing from a scant 10,000 tons harvested in 1999, to 50,500 tons harvested last year.

This popularity has been bolstered by the Eroica project, championed by Chateau Ste. Michelle and German winemaker Ernst Loosen. The program includes the opening a winery focused solely on Riesling production which is now the world’s largest producer of the noble German grape.

Endorsements of Riesling from noted notables including Jancis Robinson have further punctuated the high quality and good value of Washington selections.

This has helped to add to the cadre of Riesling enthusiasts who spurn the dated notion that all Rieslings are simple and sweet, perfect for granny’s favorite pre supper quaffer.

Instead Riesling devotees are embracing the refined, complex and luscious flavors ranging from dessert-worthy sweet to reception-quality dry.

Chameleon-like this versatile food friendly wine has further enamored the varietal with diners. Riesling is as comfortable while pairing with creamy sauced dishes as it is while serving as a companion for the complex spicy and sweet flavors of Asian dishes.

Stop by the Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Tasting Bar at the Seattle Food and Wine Experience to explore this wonderful wine and take the Riesling Challenge.