Wines from Germany and Austria
German Riesling is the little darling of sommeliers everywhere – or at least it should be. Rieslings from Germany are the most versatile food-pairing wines in the world.
A few decades ago Austria’s wines were made infamous when it was discovered that a few wine makers had been adding diethylene glycol (antifreeze) to their wines to boost the sweetness and flavor. The concentration was harmless but the scandal nearly destroyed the industry. Thankfully, it also prompted tighter controls and now days the quality of Austrian wines is fantastic.
Wines for this lesson include: from Germany – a Liebfraumilch, a Riesling such as Kabinett, Spätlese, or Auslese, and a Spätburgunder or Dornfelder. From Austria – a Riesling, a Grüner Veltliner, and a Zweigelt.
We did some food pairings (Vicky brought smoked fish and Jane brought lemon pound cake) but mostly we just put out the usual snacks and as one, descended on the food table like a voracious hoard. Mmmmm….
The wines for this lesson included 4 whites and 2 reds.
2008 Weber Liebfraumilch, 100% Rheinhessen ($6.99). This wine was pale straw in color, had scents of citrus and minerals, medium acid, tangy, smooth body and most everyone enjoyed it – especially after finding out the low cost. Quote, “The chuggabilitly factor is quite high.” Blue cheese and pumpernickel toasted squares are a good pairing.
2006 Schloss Lieser Kabinett Riesling, 100% Riesling ($24.99). This wine was almost florescent yellow compared to the Liebfraumilch. Scents of pineapple and grapefruit – almost like a Sauvignon Blanc. High acid, sweet, a little sparkly feeling. Good paired with the blue cheese and pumpernickel toasted squares and also with dry roasted, curried cashews. Interestingly, this wine did not taste that much different that the Liebfraumilch at first but after the bottle was open for a while the wine really blossomed. It was delicious.
2008 Allendorf, Spatburgunder, 100% Pinot Noir ($16.99). This wine was a light ruby color, smelled of strawberries and vanilla. Light body, light tannins, high acid, high alcohol (13.5%), quick finish.
2007 Domäne Wachau Riesling, 100% Riesling ($19.99). This Austrian Riesling is completely different from the German Riesling. It is bone dry, nothing sweet about it. It smells of citrus—especially lime, stone fruit and mineral. Light body, high alcohol, clean finish, strips any residual food fats off of your tongue.
2009 Hugl Grüner Veltliner, 100% Grüner Veltliner ($14.99). This wine is noted for its scents of lemon, white pepper and lentil. Weird but I think I did smell the lentil. It’s the smell of beans that have been soaked in a pot for a few hours. This wine is medium body and medium acid. It strips the tongue just like the Domäne Wachau. It paired well with strawberries.
2009 Sattler Zweigelt, 100% Zweigelt ($21.99). This red wine smelled of cherries, pepper, vanilla and perhaps a bit of smoke. The tannins are noticeable – they definitely dry out the mouth. Paired well with black olives.
Up next, Spain and Portugal. Cheers!