German White Wines
For centuries the most admired wines of Germany, once as highly priced as First Growth Claret, were Rieslings. Sadly history and reputation became blurred in the post-war period as growers pursued volume from lesser varieties. Now the Liebfraumilch era is over, and the focus is firmly back on quality.
The big debate now is how dry you like your wine. The Germans demand dry Riesling as an accompaniment to food. Elsewhere in the world drinkers love the traditional "noble sweet" styles, in ascending order of sweetness from Kabinett to Spatlese to Auslese and beyond.
We keep a foot in both camps, with both "trocken" (dry) and the more familiar fruity styles in our list. To try to describe these styles in terms of sweetness (i.e. Kabinett as off-dry, Spatlese medium dry) is over-simplistic. The point about these wines is the thrilling balance between natural fruit sugars and acidity. A classic German Riesling has a lovely juicy attack, fruit and minerality (which is often expressed as pepper and spice) on the mid palate and a refreshing, citrussy finish. It is ridiculous to dismiss these wines as "sweet". Sadly too many people won’t try these wines at all, yet when they do they often love them. Kabinetts and Spatleses make the most delicious aperitifs, and the sweeter Ausleses are lovely for drinking after dinner (but not with pudding). Finally, these wines are excellent, with their appealing fruit and very low alcohol levels, for introducing teenagers to wine (we need the next generation of customers!).
A simple guide to decoding the names of the wines: the first word is usually the name of the village, but with -er added. The second is the name of the vineyard. Thus Urziger Wurzgarten translates as the spice garden vineyard at Urzig.
Oliver Zeter farms 20 hectares of prime vineyard land in the Pfalz. This dry Riesling is...
18.75cl (quarter bottle) A golden colour greets you in the glass. Rich and intense but balanced...
From 60 year old ungrafted vines growing on this brutally steep, red slate vineyard. Delicious...