From sparkling, to dry, off-dry or sweet whites, or even light-bodied reds, Germany has a wine for everyone. Often misunderstood, German wines are not always your grandma’s Kool-Aid. In fact, riesling can be as bone dry as a sauvignon blanc! (Look for the word trocken, which means bone dry). And the reds are elegant pinot noirs, which they call spätburgunder, and dornfelder, which can be rich and mouthfilling.
Riesling is highly aromatic with bright acidity, making it food’s best friend. Many sommeliers name it their desert-island wine, even the world's youngest female Master Sommelier Alpana Singh. And thanks to Paul Grieco and Wines of Germany, riesling even has its own tour, no joke. So if you haven’t jumped on the riesling bandwagon yet, don’t worry, it’s not too late. Here are some of our team’s favorite German wines:
DÖNNHOFF “Oberhäuser Brücke” Spätlese Riesling 2004 (Nahe, Germany) 1.5 liter magnum $116
The Bottlenotes team liked this wine SO much that we even tasted it from two different sized bottles—a standard 750 ml bottle and a 1.5 liter magnum! Perhaps our holiday lunch at The French Laundry added to the ambiance and memory behind the wine. Either way, you can’t go wrong with any wine from Dönnhoff, as it is one of the most renowned producers from the Nahe region of Germany. If not the finest riesling in the world. Find it HERE.
DÖNNHOFF “Oberhäuser Brücke” Spätlese Riesling 2004 (Nahe, Germany) $45
While enjoying a recent team tasting, we had the pleasure of sipping this amazing aged riesling. Visually, the color is striking like the gold color of Rapunzel’s hair. When you take the first sip you expect it to be sweet, and it is, yet it’s not sweet at all. It’s an incredibly well-balanced riesling that reminds me of a hot toddy with strong honey and lemon notes as well as calming chamomile. It would be absolutely delicious with an apple küchen or strudel. Find it HERE.
HANS WIRSCHING Silvaner Trocken 2012 (Franken, Germany) $16
You know how everyone swears that asparagus simply cannot be paired with wine? Not true. It can be paired with this wine. I’m a huge fan of underdog varietals, and this dry silvaner is no exception. Hugely floral, with a backbone of crisp, tart fruit and a slightly nutty finish, it is my dream summer picnic wine, with or without my green vegetables. Find it HERE.
BARTH “Charta” Riesling 2012 (Rheingau, Germany) $25
I’m mildly obsessed with dry German rieslings. Wines made according to the strict Charta (a tradition that started in 1983) method are very fruity and racy, well-balanced and designed as an ideal food complement. This riesling has everything I could possibly want from a wine; bright acidity, aromas of honeysuckle, lime pith and candied citrus rind, and a finish that last for days. Imported by a boutique family-run German wine shop called Truly Fine Wine, find it HERE.
WEINGUT FREIDRICH BECKER "Limestone" Pinot Noir 2009 $24
This is an elegant German pinot noir with vivid fruit and good acidity. The notes of strawberries, vanilla and red cherries are rounded off with a nice, long finish. It's definitely a wine that I'd pair with chicken or salmon. Find it HERE.
FRANZ KELLER “Franz Anton” Schwarzer Adler Pinot Noir 2010 (Baden, Germany) $42
Having gone to college in tobacco country, North Carolina, I can appreciate the tobacco notes from this medium-bodied pinot noir. With a nice freshness and a long finish, this wine pairs well with meat dishes and was a delicious first foray into German wines for me. Find it HERE.
What are your favorite German wines? Tell us here!
Photo Credit: German Wine USA