Enriching your lifestyle through wine, culinary and jazz travel.

Search Results

Bringing you the best in travel, wine and food.

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wine

Selecting a wine for Thanksgiving

Select an unoaked Wine for Thanksgiving

The holidays can be an incredibly fun time for making new memories and reliving old with family and friends. But for some, it’s also a time for high stress as many people are juggling too multiple tasks with limited time and competing agendas.

If you are hosting for Thanksgiving, then delegating is essential. As hostess (or host) will be super busy with the star of Thanksgiving, the meal. If you are an invited guest, realize anything you can do to help reduce their stress will be greatly appreciated. If you take the liberty to select and/or bring the Thanksgiving wine, you’ll be removing a huge burden from your hostess, who will be forever grateful.

Having volunteered to bring the wine, now you are in a panic. Well, don’t you stress. I wouldn’t leave you twisting in the wine aisle.

 

Here are some Thanksgiving wine pairing tips. You’ll also find wine selections broken down into styles.

 

Myriad Dishes

Fall LeavesThe variety of foods served on the typical American Thasnkgiving table will run the gamut. Expect a host of foods ranging from salty to sweet and from fruity to earthy. There will also be a mix of creamy dishes, for example mac n cheese, as well as dishes with acidic flavors such as Brussels sprouts.

The thought of pairing a wine with some many foods may seem daunting. However, the key to choosing the right wine with these foods is to focus on wines with high acidity and mild, balanced fruit.

 

A Balanced Wine

It’s critical to pick a wine that has adequate fruitiness, but also is not cloyingly sweet. A balanced wine will offer a perfect contrast to tangy salad dressings too. You need to pick a wine that isn’t too dry nor too sweet. Easy, peasy right?

A perfect choice is a rosè. Did I just hear you say rosè is a wine for old ladies or limited to summer barbeques? Oh no you didn’t! First, nothing could be further from the truth. Secondly, open your mind and your taste buds will follow. They’ll also give you a big shout for for hooking them up. Thirdly, after you try this pairing, you’ll swear you hear me in the background saying, “I told you so.”

 

Wine selection: Rosè

2013 Domaine de la Mordoree La Dame Rousse, Tavel France

When you can find this wine at your local wine merchant, then grab it; and grab a bottle for me too. It has gorgeous perfume and rose garden aromas. Don’t be put off by the strawberry flavor because it is a serious wine with a medium body but full-blown acidity. $23

 

2013 Fort Ross Vineyard Rosè of Pinot Noir, Sonoma County

A cool-climate growing region helps this dry wine showcase strong aromatics of rose petals and juicy white peach. You may taste tea leaves and raspberry, while enjoying brilliant acidity on the finish. $23

 

A Light and Refreshing Wine

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner is ladled with high-calorie, creamy rich foods. Yum! So it’s important to have a wine that will cut through the weight of these heavy dishes. A good way to think about wine weight is to compare wine to milk. There’s skim, 2% and whole milk, in ascending order of weightiness. For your crowded dinner table, you’re looking for a wine that has the weight of a skim milk. You want a wine that does not have too much weight, yet provides a perfect contrast to vegetable dishes. After each bite, a sip of crisp wine will cleanse the palate and prepare it for the next forkful.

 

Sparkling Wine - Perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner

Sparkling Wine – Perfect for Thanksgiving Dinner

Wine selection: Sparkling Wine or Unoaked Chardonnay

Graham Beck Brut Sparkling, South Africa

This southern hemisphere sparkling made in the traditional champagne method gives lovely citrus on the nose and that classic toast flavor commonly found in expensive champagne. In addition, it has that great minerality needed for successful food pairing. $18

 

Check out these suggestions for more sparkling wines with pair nicely with holiday meals.

 

 

2011 Val de Mer Chablis Premier Cru, Chablis

All Thanksgiving wines should taste as great is this unoaked Chardonnay from Burgundy, France. It has an apricot, Granny Smith apple and citrus flavor profile. This wine is well suited for seafood, veal, vegetables and cream-based dishes. The chalky terroir shines through with strong a mineral and acid taste, creating balance and a clean finish. This wine should be served chilled. $39.95

 

An Earthy Wine

An earthy can be the perfect complement to foods such as fowl, dressing, macaroni and cheese, mushrooms and gravy. This bottle choice needs to have a lighter structure than a Cabernet Sauvignon, but must still be hearty enough to stand up to these foods without overpowering them.

 

Wine selection: Pinot Noir

2012 Talley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir, Arroyo Grande Valley

This wine smells and tastes like Thanksgiving. It has cherry pie and cranberries on the nose and tastes like turkey spices and black pepper, along with cherry and raspberry tart. The finish is smooth with no burning heat sensation although the alcohol level is 14.4%.

 

Let’s Not Forget Dessert
Pair Chocolate with Port

Pair rich Chocolate with Port

After you’ve gorged yourself and maybe even pushed away from the table, you’ll want to return for dessert. Port is a beautiful finish for a fabulous meal. Frequently, people overlook a wine pairing for the evening’s final dish. That is a huge mistake. Port will pair with a host of lush desserts ranging from chocolate, apple pie, sweet potato pie and a cheese course.

 

 

Tip: A bottle of port is a well-thought hostess gift. Not only will you be the only one bringing it, it will put the finishing touches to a great meal and an unforgettable gathering.

 

Wine selection: Icewine or Port

2012 Jackson-Triggs Reserve Vidal Icewine, Niagara

Your guests will go ga-ga over this tropical tasting wine. It has lush mango and apricot flavors that are a perfect accompaniment to an evening-ending cheese course or fruit pie. $35

 Note: Be aware that icewine bottles are only 375 ml, which is a half bottle. You’ll use smaller glasses for everyone anyway as a lot is not needed due to the sweetness level but if you are pouring for a crowd, you’ll need more than one bottle.

 

Graham’s Late Bottle Vintage Port, Portugal

The deep ruby color hits of juicy, ripe fruit to come. The nose of this late-bottled-vintage (LBV) port gives off tobacco and overly ripe plums. Its flavors remind you of fig, plum jam, caramel and a little bit of chocolate. The sweetness level is spot on without being syrupy. Get your slice of chocolate cake and pour a glass of this excellent-valued wine. Look for any year from 2005 – 2008. $22

 

Note: A LBV is a vintage port that didn’t get released as such. It spends 4-6 years in casks, which is a longer time than vintage. Afterwards, it is can filtered or unfiltered and then bottled. Unfiltered seems to add a bit more character.

 

You Can Do It!

Pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be a culinary nightmare. With these easy to follow food and wine pairing tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a successful turkey day.

Tags:

Food and Wine Pairings Updated

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook
Grilled Steak with Peppercorns

Grilled Steak with Peppercorns

A New Look at Food and Wine Pairings

 

Have food and wine pairings changed?  In the last of our 3-part series on 5 New Food and Wine Pairing, we discuss food complements. Part 1, New Food and Wine Pairing Tips and part 2 Re-examining Food and Wine Pairings,  In part 5, we’ll take a look at food and wine complements.

 

5. Foods must Always Complement Each Other – Well, Yes and No on this One.

  • Generally, you should choose foods and wines that contrast one another.  But that’s not always the case. I call this my Beyoncé rule. Just like an oak-aged Chardonnay may not immediately seem like the perfect partner for a creamy, sautéed dish and Jay-Z, a rather plain-looking chap may not seem like the ideal partner for gorgeous Beyoncé.  On first glance, the oak-heavy wine may seem too overpowering for this dish, like Beyoncé may seem like too much woman for Jay-Z.  However, add a drizzle of lemon juice to the food after cooking and the citrus in the lemon cuts through some of the oak, allowing more vanilla to shine through.  This makes for a lovely contrast.
  • So you must decide which will shine at your table – the wine or the dish.   You need to know which will be the eye candy at your table.  Obviously we all know who the pretty one is in the Beyoncé/Jay-Z marriage.  There’s more to that marriage than any of us will ever know. Just like there’s more to pairing unlikely dishes with wine.

    Salmon Steak

    Salmon Steak

  • Another example, you may think that a white wine could be the perfect complement to tuna.  But a nice cut of tuna has a similar texture as salmon, which pairs nicely with Pinot Noir.  So just as Beyoncé and Jay-Z must also complement each other (in ways we can only imagine), these two oddly paired dinner companions can work nicely together.
  • But then, some complements were meant to be together. For example, a juicy grilled steak still pairs nicely with an old-vine Zinfandel.  Think Paul Newman and Joan Woodward.
Sommelier Pouring Wine

Ask Your Sommelier

 

The wines and foods we all consume these days present wonderful opportunities to try out new pairings.  So don’t be afraid to ask your sommelier for a wine pairing a little off the classic pairing trail.  It just might be the highlight of the evening.

 

Tags:

Re-examining Food and Wine Pairings

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Addressing tried and true Wine Pairing Rules

Grilled Fish with Tomato Relish

Grilled Fish with Tomato Relish

This is part of 2 of my 3-part series on taking a hard look at common food and wine pairings.

You may read Part 1 – 5 Food and Wine Pairing Tips – Are They Still Relevant?

3. The wine and food must come from the same geographic region.

  • Wrong!  It may seem likely that an Albariño from Spain would make an excellent dining companion to a seafood dish.   But nowadays, it’s important to understand a wine region’s strengths or tendencies more than automatically assuming all foods of the region are suitable for pairing with its wine.  Spain and Italy have started making more wines using international grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. And, they do them well.

    Exotic Herbs and Spices

    Exotic Herbs and Spices

  • With the rise in popularity of household-name chef superstars, these top chefs are constantly looking for ways to keep fans tuning in.  There are a host of new and  unusual cooking styles and techniques like molecular gastronomy.
  • A common meal like meat and potatoes has been turned into a complex culinary creation with an array of flavors that includes multi-ingredient sauces and rubs with exotic herbs.  But a chicken dish with a crimini and chantrelle mushroom sauce could stand up to a Gamay (red) wine because it too, is light in weight.

    Earthy Mushrooms

    Earthy Mushrooms & Gamay

4. You should not try to pair difficult foods such as artichokes, asparagus, quiche and eggs or vinegar

  • Wrong! Today’s chefs take ingredient mixing to a new level.  Try focusing on weight. Not yours, the food’s. If you are having a salad starter, then a Pinot Blanc will typically stand up nicely to a vinegar-based dressing.  The acidity of this crisp white can handle the tartness of the vinegar.
Grilled Corn with Compound Butter

Grilled Corn with Compound Butter

  • The number of vegetarians in society has increased dramatically.  In addition, many people try to incorporate a vegetarian lifestyle into their weekly or monthly meal planning.  An ear of corn can be a complex pairing if it has been grilled and then slathered with a chive and rosemary compound butter.

In the last part of this series on examining food and wine pairing adages, I’ll discuss food complements. Yes, you like me. You really, really like me.  Apologies to Sally Field and Mrs. Dice, my 7th grade English teacher.

Tags: ,

5 NEW Food & Wine Pairing Tips

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Classic Food & Wine Pairings Tips – Are They Still Relevant?

Today's Myriad of Foods

Today’s Myriad of Foods

Ten or fifteen years ago it was quite easy to pair food and wine.  We learned to pair chicken and fish with a white wine; and beef and pork with a red.

Today, food has become more complex with a mix of unusual ingredients.  There are numerous combinations of sauces and exotic proteins served together.  Fish may be topped with a tomato and caper relish, served on a bed of red lentils or miso-glazed pork may accompany shitake mushrooms, drizzled with port.

Americans’ wine tastes have also broadened.  No longer are wine drinkers sticking to the tried-and-true choices such as Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and White Zinfandel.  Wines from New World regions such as Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are frequently listed on wine lists and are readily available in stores.

Ostrich Salad

Pairing Ostrich Salad with Wine

Sommeliers have added wines from Greece, Croatia or Israel to their wine lists.  Bison, ostrich, kangaroo and other unique proteins have become commonplace on fine dining menus.  This gives the diner a multitude of options for pairing with meals. And the choices can be daunting.

Given the shift in the food and wine scene of today, let’s examine if the old wine pairing adages of the past are still relevant.

1. The color of the wine must match the color of the food

  • Yes. When in doubt, you can still use this old axiom.  Serving white wine with chicken and red with beef can hold true; but it’s not very exciting.
  • But there are certainly exceptions to this long-quoted rule.  For instance, a Viognier or Chardonnay can pair nicely with veal.  The acidity in these wines cuts through the slight fattiness of the beef, creating a beautiful pairing.

    Crisp vs. Oak-aged White Wines

    Unoaked vs. Oak-aged White Wines

2. The weight of food and wine must match (This means heavy vs. light.)

  • Yes, this is certainly true.  Foods that match each other in weight will typically balance each other, eliminating the battle of one overpowering the other.  Think Brad and Angelina, two mega stars, coexisting.
  • Here are some examples of food weights ranging from lowest to highest – Salad, Starchy foods, Seafood, Poultry, Pork and Beef. So you’d match a wine with the “weightiness” of the meat dish.
  • Now check out a few wine weights ranging from lowest to highest – Sparkling wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sangiovese, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Many Factors to Consider when Pairing Food & Wine

    The dilemma-Light White, Bold Red or Light Red Wine

  • But it can get tricky. A lot will depend on viticulture methods.  For example, an oaky California Chardonnay will be heavier in weight than an unoaked Australian Chardonnay.
  • Consider a traditional méthode champenoise made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It’ll be bursting with hearty sur lees aging, making it  weightier than a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc crémant.  This particular sparkling is produced using Sauvignon Blanc only.  Crémant is the name given to sparkling wines produced outside of the Champagne region.

In Part 2 of 3 in this Food & Wine Pairing Tips series, I’ll address the role of geography in pairing, as well as matching vegetables with the proper wine.  See you next #WineWednesday.

Tags: , ,

10 Tips for Planning a Wine and Cheese Pairing Party

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook
Cheese Plate with Grapes

Wine and Cheese Platter with Fruits and Nuts

Looking for tips for hosting a wine and cheese party? With the summer winding down, getting together with friends becomes a bit more difficult. The holidays are still months away but that doesn’t mean you can’t host a fun Fall event with friends. So the answer is simple. Just host your own party.

One of the best ways to share quality time with family and friends is through food. But how do you host a party during these lean times? And yes, I realize that you are probably busy. Everyone loves to eat and if you don’t love to cook, having a wine and cheese pairing party is the perfect get together. So if you have been putting off hosting a party, you no longer have an excuse because this list of party planning tips will put your name near the top of everyone’s social calendar.

Hosting a wine and cheese pairing party is simple and can be a cost-effective way to host a party without blowing your budget.

1. Serve cheeses with differing textures. For example, serve a soft, hard and semi-hard cheese. Variety is the spice of life and it’s the same with cheese. It’s good to mix it up a bit.

2. Vary the size, shape and color of the cheeses. Also, provide a few cheeses with and without the rinds. The rinds are eatable so maybe by leaving them on, you may help introduce a guest or two to the joys of rinds. Cheeses for a cheese platter

3. Offer your guests at least one cheese from each animal source. Cheese produced by a cow, sheep or goat will taste differently and provide a unique experience for your guests to educate themselves a bit and hone their preferences.

4. Invest in a few quality cheese serving items. They won’t go to waste because it’ll be so much fun that you’ll host cheese pairing parties a few times a year. This investment will pay big dividends for years to come. These items are quite popular during the holidays so look for them to go on sale at places like Target, Costco, cheese shops and regional housewares stores like Crate and Barrel.

Cheese Knives Set in Case5. Knives – Your set should include at least three different styles:

a. Wide blade- For spreading

b. Knife-like blade – For creating ribbons and chards

c. Plane – To cut firm cheese into squares or wedges

Serving board – Select based on your personal preference

Slate Cheese Boarda. Marble – Retains temperature better

b. Wooden – Less expensive but can become costly depending on the wood

c. Slate – Can range from rustic to elegant depending on your style

 

For additional tips 6 – 10 on hosting a wine and cheese pairing party, look for my upcoming post.

Tags: , , , ,

Follow The Wine Gospel

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

For great information including wine reviews, pairing tips and other topics on the wonderful world of wine, go to my blog TheWineGospel.

The Wine Gospel is all about bringing you the gospel on wine, aka sharing my knowledge of wine with you.  To follow, click the link above.  The Wine Gospel posts several times a month.

 

 

 

The Wines of Languedoc-Roussillon

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Largest Wine Region

Vastness of Languedoc-Roussillon REgion

Vineyards of Languedoc-Roussillon Region

The Languedoc-Roussillon wine-growing region is the largest in the world. This vast region west of the Rhône River covers more than 2.4 million acres. Previously considered a cheap wine region, it now holds Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status.  There are 30 sub-appellations that call Languedoc-Roussillon home.

 

 

The most prominent are:

  • Languedoc
  • Muscat
  • Blanquette de Limoux
  • Côtes du Roussillon
  • Corbières
  • Minervois
  • Saint Chinian
  • Faugères

 

First in France

Many people will be surprised to learn that Languedoc was the first wine-growing region of France. Did you know that wine has been produced there for the last 27 centuries? That’s a hell-of-a-long time! It boasts a Mediterranean climate, allowing for a long-growing season. The varied soils range from limestone, granite, rock and schist. This results in a wide range of styles and a diverse mix of grape varieties. Red, white, rosé, sparkling and fortified wines are produced throughout.

Steak with Mushrooms and Risotto

Steak with Mushrooms and Risotto

The red wines make great food companions. You can joy them with barbeque, Asian-inspired dishes like beef and broccoli and stews, as well as vegetarian foods like sauteed or grilled mushrooms.

Bordering the Mediterranean Sea, seafood such as anchovies, grilled fish and octopus make natural accompaniments. Also, due to proximity with northern Spain, the Roussillon region is home to many Catalan people, which greatly influences the cuisine.

Great Pairing with a Crab Cake

Great Pairing with a Crab Cake

In recent years, there has been an influx of outside investment to the area, including Brad Pitt. Also, recent technological improvements have helped elevate the quality of wines. Below are some of the better producing regions, along with perfect food and wine pairing ideas:

 

 

 

White Wines
  1. AOC Languedoc-Picpoul de Pinet
  2. AOP Clariette du Languedoc
  3. IGP Pays d’Oc Chardonnay  ( IGP- Identication Géographique Protégée)

Pairings: Various seafood, fresh goat cheese

Red Wines
  1. AOP Côtes du Roussillon
  2. AOP Corbières
  3. IGP Pays d’Oc Syrah

Pairings: Cassoulet of beans and sausage, BBQ

Rosés
  1. AOP Languedoc-Pic St. Loup
  2. IGP Pays c-Oc

Pairings: Spanish tapas, North African and Asian-influenced dishes

Sparkling Wines
  1. AOC Blanquette de Limoux
  2. AOC Crémant de Limoux

Pairings: Cheese courses, soups, dishes using creamy sauces, salads

Puff Pastry with Ice Cream & Chocolate

Puff Pastry with Ice Cream & Chocolate

Fortified Sweet Wines (Vins Doux Naturals)
  1.  AOC Banyuls  & Banyuls Grand Cru
  2. AOC Maury

Pairings: Desserts, cheeses

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , ,

Bordeaux Wine Cruise

Posted on: | 2 Comments
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

We’re Heading to Wine Mecca

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

We are hitting the road. Well make that the river on a journey to wine mecca, Bordeaux, France. We will be leading a small group to Bordeaux, home to arguably the world’s best wine. So, Save the Date, April 15, 2016.

Not to be sacrilegious, but many wine lovers have the Bordeaux wine region on their Bucket List since it is considered Mecca for wine enthusiasts. Our group will be embarking on a 7-day Bordeaux wine cruise, traveling along the rivers through the top communes with winery visits and tastings, wine and food pairing dinners, cultural walking tours and so much more. The cruise will begin and end in the city of Bordeaux, with pre- and/or post-cruise land packages available.

 

Bordeaux – The Ancestral Home
Bordeaux Red Wine Mecca

Bordeaux – Red Wine Mecca

Serious wine drinkers and of course, I’m referring to those who drink red, all have a bottle or 12 of Bordeaux in their wine collections. Bordeaux is the celebrated offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Typically, a Bordeaux red blend is comprised of the following five grapes:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petit Verdot
  • Malbec

Due to Frances’ strict viticulture laws, these, along with carmenere are the only red grape varieties allowed to be grown.

These five varieties are used in varying combinations in wine regions the world over but all got their start in Bordeaux. Bordeaux-style red blends are referred to as Claret by the Brits, whereas American winemakers use the name Meritage (rhymes with heritage), which can only be used by members of the association.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown on the “Right Bank”, the name given to the vineyards on the east side of the Gironde River. Merlot, the most widely planted adds fruit and richness to the mid-palate during blending.

Bordeaux Communes Map

Bordeaux Communes Map
Courtesy of CIVBordeaux

Notable Right Bank appellations include St-Émilion and Pomerol. The wines produced in these regions are of excellent quality and have lengthy aging potential, but without the stratospheric prices common for Left Bank reds.

Plan on leaving room in your suitcase or think about shipping a case or two home of these amazing bargain reds. For those traveling with us from the same gateway city, San Diego we can mix and match cases for more cost-effective buying.

The top communes and the ones fetching the highest prices are:

  • Médoc (Haut-Médoc)
  • Pauillac
  • St-Estephe
  • St-Julien
  • Margaux

White wine lovers, do not despair. On our cruise tour, you’ll also get to experience Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion as well as Muscadelle, which is a different grape variety from similar sounding name Muscat. The primary growing regions for these three white varietals are located south of Bordeaux along the Garonne River.  Sauternes is home to the delicious, sweet dessert wine of the same name. The city of Graves produces dry and sweet wines.

 

Reserve Your Spot
Let's Hang Out Together on the River Cruise

Let’s Hang Out together on the River Cruise

Call us today so we can add your name to our Interest List for those joining us on the Bordeaux Wine Cruise.  Plus, your $400 deposit guarantees you the reduced 2015 pricing.  And, if you change your mind, your deposit is fully refundable until March 31, 2015.

It’s going to be a merry, fun time. Why not join us? Joie de vivre!

Tags: , ,

SeaDream Wine Programs

Posted on: |
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

SeaDream Wine Voyages

SeaDream Guests on the Sommelier Deck

SeaDream Guests on the Sommelier Deck

SeaDream Yacht Club is elevating its Wine Voyages program with a wine-focused back-to-school for adults.  British-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) will offer its courses, exams and certifications on board the luxury cruise line.

 

From Cruise Passenger to Wine Expert

Guests will be able to begin their wine education by taking Levels 1 & 2 of the 4-course WSET certification program. Commencing April 18, 2015, on the 12-day, San Juan to Malaga departure, guests sailing on the Wine Education Voyage can enroll in the Level 2 course.

Level 1 focuses on basic wine knowledge, including wine and food pairing.  The 12-day Level 2 courses will cover the key grape-growing regions, primary grape varieties, as well as the influencing factors that contribute to a wine’s style.

On-board Wine Education Program

SeaDream’s On-board Wine Education Program

The wine itinerary is a popular theme on board cruise lines, especially for river cruise lines such as Viking and AmaWaterways. However, this is the first time a highly regarded wine education provider has offered their certification program on board for cruise line passengers.

SeaDream, has taken the lead on wine education for their wine enthusiasts guests. The small-ship, luxury yachting line offers upscale vacations to only 112 guests. Their all-inclusive, award-winning services are offered on all itineraries.

Photos: Courtesy of SeaDream

Six Reasons to Drink German Wine

Posted on: | 2 Comments
Google+PinterestTwitterFacebook

Friend-worthy German Wines

Sloped German Vineyard

Sloped German Vineyard

It seems German wines have come full circle. There was a time back in the 70s and 80s when mass-produced, low-quality German wines were the rage in the United States. But as young drinkers grew into adulthood, their palates evolved from drinking sweet wines to dry styles. The wines that were imported were not seen as adult enough to enjoy at dinner with friends or while socializing. As a result, German wines became ‘so yesterday’ and got left behind along with other cheap beverages of youth.

Nowadays, there are plenty of quality German wines that are perfect as dinner companions. I believe a rediscovery of German wines is in order.

Here are six reasons to drink German wines again.

 

They are Not All Sweet

1. As a result of the American encounter with German wines in the 1970s, many wine drinkers mistakenly believe that all Riesling wines are sweet.  It’s simply not true.
German Rieslings are produced in six different styles. These levels of sweetness range from a semi-sweet, light style to an extremely sweet, rich, almost syrupy to the most-esteemed dessert wines. There is a German Riesling perfectly matched for any  occasion.

 

Esteemed Rieslings

2. This beautifully aromatic grape rewards the drinker with citrus, pineapple and honey. Wines from the famous Mosel region, are valued because of their slate flavor profile and floral bouquet. Rieslings from the Rheingau region, with its desirable south facing slopes, taste of apricot and peach. As they mature, Rieslings develop a petrol-like aroma. In addition, German Rieslings are typically low in alcohol by volume, which helps make them a nice sipping wine for a sunny afternoon.

 

Beyond Riesling
Riesling Vineyards Rheingau

Vineyards in Rheingau

3. Although Germany is primarily known for their prized Rieslings, there are other superb white wines to enjoy. White grape varieties grown throughout Germany include:

  • Müller-Thurgau – This grape is named after the Switzerland professor who created it from a cross of Riesling and Silvaner. It’s a light wine with a floral bouquet.
  • Silvaner – A full-bodied earthy and smoky wine with nice minerality grown in Rheinhessen and Franken.
  • Kerner – This grape was developed in 1969 and is a cross between Trollinger and Riesling. It too has a floral bouquet but is milder in acidity than a Riesling. It closely resembles a Muscat.
  • Grauburgunder – Translates to Gray Burgundy and is the same grape variety as Pinot Gris. It’s also referred to as Rulander, which is a full-bodied, rich fragrant wine.
  • Weissburgunder -The German name for Pinot Blanc is grown primarily in the Baden and Pfalz regions.  Weissburgunder is a great seafood wine.

There are also small amounts of international varieties grown including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer.

 

Wonderful Pinot Noir
Drink German Pinot Noir

Sip German Pinot Noir in the Vineyard

4. The German name for Pinot Noir is Spätburgunder. Pinot Noir is the third-most planted grape in country, particularly in Rheinhessen, Pfalz and Baden. The naturally cool German climate is a perfect growing environment for Pinot Noir. Spätburgunder has low tannins and is very fruit forward with elegant raspberry, strawberry, and cherry flavors.

 

Great food-pairing wines

5. This sweetness classification system gives German wines the ability to pair with myriad foods. Improvement in the quality of German wines has almost been lockstep with the culinary wave. German wines are often paired with regional cuisine served by internationally renowned chefs in the 250 or so Michelin-starred restaurants that spanned the country. Only France has more Michelin three-star restaurants.

 

Cellar Worthy

6. Rieslings are among the most-long-lived white wines. Their naturally high acidity serves as a preservative; and when combined with the residual sugar, you have a wine that can age gracefully for decades.

Due to the rise in global warming, German wines have actually benefited. This was particularly evident in the vintages of 2005 and 2007, which were considered two of the best in decades.

 

Mosel Riesling

Mosel Vineyard Riesling

I’ve shared six reasons to drink German wines but there are plenty more. If you want to drink wine at the source, in the vineyard, then you should seriously consider taking a trip to Germany.  We offer river cruises to many of these regions, allowing you the opportunity to experience the wine, culture and unique architecture firsthand. A river cruise through wine country is a perfect way to celebrate a milestone birthday, anniversary or other special occasion. Call us so we can plan your special European river cruise vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , ,