Posted on January 19th, 2010
Up until the late 19th century the wines of Germany were as highly prized as those from the great regions of France.
Unfortunately, war and pestilence conspired against the German wine industry.
In more recent times, we’ve came to know German wines through the looking glass of Blue Nun, Liebfraumilch and Bend in the River.
Add to this that, due to strict German wine laws, the labels are often so complex that they are indecipherable to all but the most committed German wine fans. (see below, sniped from Jamie Goode’s wineanorak.com/blog).
So, with all this rotten luck, it’s time we gave the wines of Germany a little bit of a leg up.
The key wine areas in Germany are arguably Rheingau and the Mosel, though the Saar, Ruwer, Pfalz, Nahe, Rheinhessen and Frankonia warrant a mention, even if just in passing.
The following are all Rieslings and widely available in Ireland.
1. Schloss Schönborn Hattenheimer Pfaffenberg Trocken Kabinett 2006 (€16.89)
Quite a mouthful, and that’s just the name.
I first tried this at Taste of Dublin a few years ago when Peter Barth was showing a wide range of the estate’s wines and I’ve been a fan ever since.
This one is a great introduction to what German Riesling is all about.
Quite a floral nose, with flavors of crunchy Granny Smith apples, limes and a very obvious minerality. Great balance, focus and purity.
With food? Spicey asian dishes, blue cheese
Available in O’Briens nationwide and online fron www.obrienswine.ie
2. Max Ferd Richter Zeppelin Riesling 2007 (€13.85)
A brilliant wine from the Mosel, a beautiful area where the planned erection of a bridge threatens both the natural beauty and the wine industry of the area. Fans of Mosel wines are up in arms.
Back to the wine. A nicely designed art deco label envelops the traditional long slender Riesling bottle. The Zeppelin Riesling is all about an explosion of lime, lemongrass, nuts with some pear thrown in there for good measure. The Zeppelin has great fresh, fruity acidity that will tantalise the tastebuds.
With food? Thai food or other
Imported by and available from the Wicklow Wine Company. Also available from The Corkscrew, Fallon & Byrne, Dublin.
3. Ernst Loosen Erdner Treppen Kabinett Riesling (€18.49)
Ernst Loosen regularly picks up awards and last year was no different, earning white winemaker of the year in the International Wine Challenge.
Zingy, zesty grapefruits with juicy limes and apples and pear notes. More flinty minerality too.
The alcohol is 10% abv. so you don’t have to feel too guilty about pouring that second glass.
With food? A very versatile wine which could match white fish, salads, chicken or and even ham.
Availability: Marks & Spencer
(Most of) this article first appeared in the Sunday Tribune on 17th January, 2010.