Now Riesling is getting a grip on a share of the drinking market that Chardonnay used to own, receiving rave reviews from the wine critics and favourable comparisons against one of the most widely planted white grapes in the world.
Canadian wine writer Natalie MacLean has likened Chardonnay to a dance partner who steps all over your feet, while praising Riesling for its subtlety and finesse with food or on its own.
"Over-oaked, over-alcohol, overripe fruit flavours in Chardonnay can just clobber food," Maclean said.
Traditionally, Riesling is made from a small harvest of grapes left on the vines to freeze. The result is an intensity of flavours that if well-made, is sweet, but not cloying.
So if you are planning a spicy barbeque or have Mexican or Asian cuisine on the menu, Maclean recommends trying out a Riesling.
"It's always a safe bet," she said.