The Relax Riesling Review – Is it More Than a “Trendy” Wine?

As we near the holiday season, interest is likely to spike in wines of all kinds, but it’s still the most popular wines, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato and Chardonnay you’ll find on the table. Yet according to recent surveys, a fourth wine joins that list, both for those living in the UK and the United States: Riesling.

According to a survey published by YouGov, Riesling is the fourth most popular wine for the reason, which may come as a surprise but may also explain the success of a brand like Relax Riesling.

The cool blue label and clean design is inviting and immediately brings to mind other affordable wine names, especially in the United States. Even if you’ve never heard of Relax Riesling, there’s little doubt that this wine, with its calming and minimalist design, joins a trend and also answer a shift in the way we, and especially younger generations, think about and consume wine.

In fact, the push to make wine feel more accessible, drinkable, and trendy permeates many countries. In Canada, Vancouver is promoting wine festivals featuring new grape blends, appealing, modern labels and a youthful presentation to appeal to younger generations. Andre Mack, a sommelier in Napa Valley, advocates for more minorities to become involved in winemaking, to make the world of wine more diverse and appealing.

Even those still producing high-end wines seek to break down preconceived barriers that haunt wine more than they do other beverages and spirits. In New York, Jacques Alexandre Azoulay and Scott Glauber are working together to bring fine French wine to America markets in a more approachable and accessible way.

The problem? Sometimes it’s difficult to discern what wine is worth your money and if the wine lives up to its marketing.

With a plethora of choices flooding the market, especially for popular wine varieties such as Riesling, what we need to do is to fully investigate both the company and the wine itself.

In this review, we’ll cover your frequently asked questions and tell you everything you need to know about Relax Riesling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Riesling?

Riesling is a white German wine, presenting citrus notes, most commonly lime, pineapple, Meyer lemon and apricot. Crisp notes from pears and apples are also common, with more floral aromas of jasmine. It’s highly acidic and ranges from pale to dark yellow. Riesling may be known as a sweet wine, but it ranges from dry to sweet. Most commonly known for sweet and acidic properties, it is versatile, with popular pairings ranging from mild cheese; roasted vegetables;  and meat (pork, chicken and shrimp). Above all, it has a reputation for being both crisp and juicy, what you might associate with a fresh apple.

  • Riesling originates from Germany primarily, but the next common origins include Australia, United States, France, Austria, and New Zealand.
  • The pleasing flavour notes are complementary to many flavours, and so you can also find Riesling in blends for bulk wines.
  • Riesling is best served chilled, at around forty-five to fifty degrees, with sweet Riesling best on the cooler side and more dry Riesling a bit warmer.
  • Riesling is considered to have firm, pronounced structure, which, along with high levels of acidity, lends better to ageing than some white wines. The most prized Riesling is typically aged anywhere from fifteen to twenty years, but many actually prefer young Riesling. Without ageing, Riesling is bright, almost springy, and approachable. Riesling aged just a few years is among the least popular because it’s not yet reached the levels of depth and complexity of a mature Riesling.

How long does Relax Riesling last?

Relax Riesling is no different than other Riesling, or most wines in terms of durability and storage instructions. If properly stored, wine can last many years unopened. In order to ensure that wine lasts as long as possible, you should invest in a wine rack or cooler.

  • Once opened, it’s best to keep wine cool and consume within a few days. Sweeter versions do last a bit longer. Relax Riesling may last up to a week in a cooler, but the sooner used, the better.
  • The best racks and coolers will slightly angle your bottle downward, so that moisture is always hitting the cork. Failure to do so can lead to tiny perforations forming in the cork, exposing the wine, and making it go bad even if never opened.
  • The best temperature for storing wine, opened or unopened, does depend on the wine, though it’s cool to temperate. Some wines, especially those will a more peppery or smoky hint, can thrive at warmer temperatures, such as sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit, though most red wines fare best at fifty-five degrees F.
  • This general guide, published on The Today Show, does not need to be followed exactly but is helpful for generalizations as to what temperatures wine should be stored at:
    • White wines: forty-eight to fifty-two degrees
    • Sparkling wine: fifty to fifty-five degrees
    • Aged white wines: fifty-eight to sixty-two degrees
    • Light red wines: sixty to sixty-five degrees
    • Full-body red wines: sixty-three to sixty-eight degrees

What does Riesling pair with?

While the best food pairings are dependent upon individual differences (soil, climate, ageing, brewing process etc), in general Riesling is a fairly versatile wine. Light seafood, even sushi are great choices, but so too are spicier dishes, especially Asian cuisine. When selecting meat or fish, opt for lighter rather than dark and red meats or fatty fish.

How much does Relax Riesling cost?

Relax Riesling does not have one set price and can be purchased through a few outlets. On Total Wine, a 750ml bottle costs around eight dollars, making it an especially affordable wine and on track with more accessible competitors.

Is Relax Riesling vegan?

Since many wines are produced with yeast during a specific process, many are not vegan. While Relax Riesling doesn’t use animal/dairy products during filtration, egg whites are used during one the final stages, and later filtered out–so while Relax Riesling technically doesn’t have animal products, it is not one hundred per cent vegan.

Is Relax Riesling sweet?

Relax Riesling is actually not a sweet wine, though the flavours may give the impression of a bit of sweetness. It’s both crisp and fruity profile makes it drinkable but not cloyingly sweet.

Is Relax Riesling worth it? 

Now onto our main review of Relax Riesling. In order to determine whether or not this wine is worth your money, we’ll investigate the company, reviews, and general but key characteristics of the wine itself. In addition, we’ll be looking at how it fares in terms of overall value.

What’s the overall philosophy behind Relax Riesling?

Most wine brands and labels present a certain ethos. For some, it’s about the terroir, of the specific characteristics of a wine from a growing region. Others note the method of brewing, filtration, or specific grape varieties. Relax places accessibility front and centre, presenting the label as a wine that is “great tasting” without any “flashy labels” or “gimmicks,” making the target audience of younger generations evident.

From the clean-cut designs of its labels to the modern but simple webpage, wine is presented as something to be enjoyed not just with special occasions, for a more regular basis. Their slogan, “How America Unwinds” and the name itself (Relax) again ties into the trend of trying to appeal to wine that feels more customer-friendly, less fussy, and more affordable.

What do we know about the company?

Relax is part of a larger parent company, Schmitt Sohne USA. The company also owns other popular wine brands, including Fünf Wines; Schmitt Sohne Family Wines; Thomas Schmitt Private Collection;  Schloss Vollrads; Bischöfliche Weingüter;  Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium and DOM Collection.

  • The company sells wine worldwide but technical was founded in 1919, as a regional operation. By 1934, the wine became more widespread in Germany, but it wouldn’t be until 1984 until it became a worldwide company.
  • Schmitt Schone considers itself the leading importer of German Riesling to the United States. Though originally based in Germany, it has nine locations worldwide to handle imports. In the United States, it’s in Maryland.
  • Each line caters to different tastes, with a different focus, though the company takes special pride in its Riesling, which is where its roots lie. Quality picked grapes is a mentioned focus, but also one towards customer satisfaction.

Is there any contact information available to Relax?

The Relax line does have an online contact form, though to find more direct addresses or phone numbers, you’ll have to head over to the parent company site. You can also follow them through their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest pages.

How can I order Relax Riesling?

Relax Riesling can be ordered through general wine sellers, include online stores such as Total Wine.

What are the characteristics of the Riesling?

Is there just one variety? Claimed to be America’s ‘favourite’ Riesling, Relax has just one variety, a bottle than on average retails for seven to eight U.S. dollars, making it especially affordable. While on the product page, information is a bit more limited, if you scroll down to “technical details,” you’re supplied with a fairly impressive level of detail, down to the grams of residual sugars.

  • Overall Profile: Crisp, off-dry, and refreshing, with a clean aroma
  • Flavour Notes: Light citrus, fruity, with apples and peaches
  • Soil: Slate and Mineral
  • Acidity: Moderate
  • Hue: Soft yellow with undertones
  • Suggested Pairings: Grilled seafood, crisp salads, spicy Asian cuisine
  • It’s also noted that Riesling is classified as Qualitätswein, which refers to a specific growing region in Germany. Based on the German wine classification system, it also refers to the quality of the wine.

How does the German wine classification system work, and what does it mean to say Relax Riesling is Qualitätswein? The German wine classification system, first implemented in 1971, was ushered in to promote even quality standards.

  • Qualitätswein refers to basic standard quality and is below Prädikatswein or superior quality wine.
  • Basic standard means it passes certain requirements and tends to be fairly inexpensive, accessible wine. It is, however, above table wine, and does correspond to one of thirteen established wine regions. These wines are normally semi or off-dry to sweet, with fruit presenting moderately low levels of ripeness
  • Above both Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein are reserve and cabinet, as well as select harvest wines

Is Riesling the only wine offered?

While Relax is perhaps best known for its popular Riesling, the company also sells other wine varieties, including a red wine blend; Pinot Grigio; Rosé; Pinot Noir; and sparkling wine.

It appears most of their wines are on the quality level above table wines but do not reach higher quality wines. It’s also important to note that all Relax wines do not appear to be aged, but young. Due to their level of classification, they likely do not exhibit as ripe as some other wines might. In general, they tend to be drinkable wines that are of reputable quality, but not of high value.

While we’ll mostly be focusing on Riesling, as well as the company as a whole, here’s a quick glance at the other wines Relax offers:

  • Red Blend: Relax Cool Red Blend is an especially sweet blend of red wines, not specified, and features flavour notes of plums and black cherries, accompanied with subtle tannins. Suggested pairings include cheese, hamburgers, pizza, and ‘comfort food’.
  • Pinot Grigio: Relax Pinot Grigio is described as ‘light to medium-bodied,’ with crisp acidity and peach, citrus, and green apple notes. A light, lingering finish makes it suitable paired with seafood, salads, and pasta.
  • Pink Rosé: A balanced, soft palate of ripe strawberries, cherries and raspberries, this is a fruit-forward wine that pairs well with cheese, Asian dishes, and Indian spices.
  • Pinot Noir: Relax Pinot Noir exhibits a medium body, soft tannins and moderate acidity. A fruit-forward wine as well, best paired with soups, salads, cheese, and red meats such as beef and lamb.
  • Bubbles: As the name implies, this is a sparkling wine, featuring a dry white blend with citrus and pineapple notes, for a tart and mineral touch. Suggested pairings include seafood and seafood.

How is Relax Riesling perceived among the wine industry?

Relax Riesling won a bronze designation from the 2011 International Wine and Spirit Competition, a bronze from the Drinks Business Awards, and also a former People’s Choice Award.  It’s overall considered a fairly popular wine, especially amongst Americans and is fairly widely available. It’s also been named a Wine Enthusiast Best Buy.

What do customers have to say about Relax Riesling?

Relax Riesling earns fairly high average customer reviews. On Drizly, Relax Riesling boasts four out of five stars based upon seventeen customer reviews, while on Total Wine, it averages four points seven out of five stars based upon seventeen reviews. Wine Mag awarded Relax Riesling eighty-seven out of one hundred points, as did Wine-Searcher. Thirty-seven votes rated Relax Riesling a comparable four out of five stars.

Overall, Relax Riesling is well received, especially for a more everyday, affordable wine. Consumers praised the “sweet, clean flavour;” crispness, smooth finish, and amicable light citrus notes. One customer felt it was heavier on citrus notes than anticipated.

Do we recommend to Relax Riesling? 

As a whole, there is plenty to admire about Relax Riesling. Too often, affordable, popular wines sacrifice a good deal for a lower price point. It’s common, for example, to have difficulty locating information when it comes to the region, soil type, and sometimes even grape varieties or country of origin. Another common problem is vague superlatives and next to no information about flavours notes, levels of acidity, or the nature of tannins.

That isn’t the case when it comes to Relax Riesling. You’re provided not only a full company history, but also access to everything from classification, flavour notes, aromas, and finish, to grams of residual sugars, levels of acidity, and even suggested food pairings.

That isn’t to say there aren’t drawbacks: certainly, this is not the highest quality of the wine, nor is it aged, and nor will it present as especially complex.

Pros:

  • Award-winning and high customer ratings
  • Linked to a German growing region
  • Fairly transparent company information
  • Specific details for wine characteristics
  • Crisp, refreshing citrus notes
  • Highly affordable
  • Versatile wine pairings
  • Slate soil helps to ripen grapes, producing a brighter flavour than may be exhibited from wines of similar quality

Cons:

  • Lower quality than other Rieslings (above table wine but below other levels)
  • Not aged
  • Lacking in complexity

Bottom Line?

For its price point, in addition to multiple awards and praiseworthy customers, Relax Riesling is a good value.

Further read:

Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson brings the latest information to you on wine flavors and types so you can enjoy your next glass to the fullest. In the past, she covered wine selections for weddings and engagement parties. She also previously worked with a private chef company to suggest the perfect wine pairings and believes there is a flavor for every occasion. Erin Jamieson holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Miami University of Ohio.

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