The Underrated World Of German Wine

Beer and brats.  An obvious pairing, especially in Germany.  But consider having a glass of “wein” with your wurst.  And I’m not talking about the super-sweet Riesling that would be better with dessert.  There’s an array of dry German white wines that complement almost every food.  From dry Reislings and lighter Silvaner (similar to the Austrian Gruner) to the light and versatile “Spatburgunder” (aka pinot noir), that can even be chilled, or the Dornfelder, an earthy red with hints of berries.  If you’re feeling a little bubbly, pop open a lovely Sekt (pronounced “zecht”), a sparkling Riesling that will put most Prosecco or Cava to shame.  With all these easily drinkable options, it’s surprising that you rarely see German wine for sale in the U.S. but that’s starting to change.

Late last summer, I noticed that Momofuku Noodle Bar had a Sekt on its wine by the glass menu. And the newly opened Flatiron Wine & Spirits has a fairly extensive selection of bottles, including Sekt.  And there’s been a big ad campaign in Food & Wine featuring wines from all around Germany.

Most wine shops are likely to carry a decent selection of German whites, but you may have a tough time finding a red.  Here’s what you need to know in a nutshell when deciding on a wine:

Vineyards and Villages along the Rhine

Mosel Valley = sweet Riesling (this is all you probably know of German wine)
Rhine Valley or Rheingau = dry Riesling (not sweet)
Trocken = dry
Halb trocken = half dry

Pick up a bottle or try a glass and compare it to a similarly priced Austrian Gruner or an Alsatian white.  See how the German red stands up to the West Coast pinots.  And as always at EDA, let me know what you think.

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