Fall back in love with German wines
As wines from New Zealand, Australia and South America adapted to export markets and took large parts of market share in the UK, so other wines suffered. Coupled with this was an exponential increase in consumer wine appreciation, with more red wine purchased and taste in white wine getting progressively drier.
However, it is not just wines from the so-called New World that have changed, those from the Old World – mainly Europe – have also undergone adaptations, particularly with modern technology and consumer taste progression. Time then to revisit wines from countries or regions which may not have been top of everybody’s ‘must buy’ list. Germany, for example, produces some great wines which fit perfectly with modern consumer tastes. Known in the UK years ago mainly for whites, there are now some very interesting reds and sparkling wines, alongside a wide range of whites from dry to very sweet.
Sturmwolken Riesling 2022 is a just off dry delicate and elegant white, with an attractive floral and peach aroma. Vegan friendly and light in alcohol at 11%, it is a versatile, easy drinking white, great with chicken dishes and lightly spiced Asian cuisine. Attractively labelled, the wine has an interesting story “Reinhold was in the vineyards tending his unyielding crop and hoping for a miracle. Suddenly, a lightning bolt shot down from the storm clouds above and struck the young winemaker.When he awoke, Reinhold saw that the once shrivelled grapes were luscious and full and the birds he had considered a pest appeared to be guarding the vines. He knew that his sole purpose was to harness this new energy that was inside him, to create the very best Riesling in all the land... so he did.” Centuries later the descendants of Reinhold continue to produce a superior Riesling that is as zesty as it is rich, with intense honey-fruit aromas and a crisp citrus edge. Sainsburys £8.
At the sweeter end of the scale is a delicious dessert wine from the same classic German grape variety – Riesling. Dr Loosen Riesling Eiswein 2021 is from the Mosel region and made from grapes which are frozen on the vine, concentrating the natural grape sugars. Intensely sweet yet light and delicate with low alcohol, this specialist, hand-harvested wine pairs well with light blue cheese, fruit desserts or profiteroles! £19.99 per 187ml bottle from Waitrose.
Staying with the classic grape variety, but changing style is an interesting sparkler Louis Guntrum Riesling Brut 2018 from the Rheinhessen. Made by the traditional or classic method and aged in bottle for 3 years, giving toasty brioche notes of top-quality sparkling wine. Dry, with complex orchard fruit flavours and a crisp, elegant finish. £22.99 from Waitrose.
The red grape variety which performs brilliantly in the cooler climate of Germany is the tricky Pinot Noir. G.Stepp Pinot Noir Sandstein 2020 is from the Pfalz region with typical cherry and raspberry aromas and flavours. Gently oaked with soft, ripe tannins. Intense fruit aromas with complexity and great balance of fruit and acidity. Nuances of young, fruity burgundy from a very good winemaker. £27.99 from Naked Wines (Angels save £8).
An interesting group of wines from Germany with which to fall in love this Valentine’s week!