Fresh cherries, redcurrant and sometimes raspberry in warmer valleys, German Pinot Noir is a “thing”. It’s grown fast in the last couple of decades, but Germans have kept much of this to themselves. Beautiful lightly chilled with a slighlty spiced duck salad or something involving aubergines. It also has the advantage of impressing wine friends who will notice how bang on trend you are.
Vibrant, refreshing and bright. This has a core of delectable peach fruit, but it’s the passionfruit zest and the lemon zinger freshness that gives the wine lift and vibrancy. The food-matches for these Rieslings are endless. Vietnamese and Thai dishes are a favourite. Spiced salads too work beautifully. And even barbecue dishes work a treat.
Weissburgunder is German for Pinot Blanc, and it captures the floral, creamy soft style of the grape. Fermented dry, with a keen, mineral freshness, this is a great match for lots of seafood and salad dishes. But it also works with pork, sausages and slightly fatty meats, cutting through the richness beautifully.
Let’s get into German wine terms. The producer here is Heinrich Klohr. He’s growing Riesling, in this case in the heart of the Palatinate, with its long association with Munich to the south. It was harvested from beautifully ripe grapes (Kabinett) and then fermented dry (Trocken). Look for apple, pear and pineapple aromas and a bright, eager character.
We quickly took to this as our “breakfast beer”, and regarded the banana aromas and malty sweetness like a healthy friut-topped cereal. It has a punchy alcohol though, so you don’t want too much. This has a lovely clove complexity and a frothy, refreshing head. And you can taste the purity of the ingredients and process through the beer too.
Soft and dry, herbal and fruity, this is made by two sisters Karoline and Dorothee. It’s curiously both reasonably full-bodied yet lively and deftly structured. Dornfelder doesn’t have the complexity and range of Pinot Noir, but gives a softer, easier fruit. Perfect with German pork dishes (I’m a particular fan roasted with caraway seeds). The key thing is the supple texture.
I’ve loved this wine for a long time. This lures you into the best German winemaking. It’s ripe and dense and marked by a clear, bright apple character, but fermented dry (rather than the off-dry, lighter style of Kabinett wine in the past). This mixes a musky sweetness with a dry finish; a luscious texture with a food-loving palate. Experiment with pan-Asian flavours and lighter white meats.