Taste Explorations #4 - Dry German Riesling
When you think of German Riesling you may automatically think of Alan Partridge ordering half a bottle of Blue Nun or you may think about the copious amounts of Black Tower you would guzzle because it was sweet and didn't really taste like wine. *For disclosure, I am too young to remember guzzling Black Tower, in my day it was all about Cactus Jack Apple Schnapps... urgh*
The two above mentioned wines appear to have slightly bruised the reputation of German wines and created a similar situation to that which Chardonnay has suffered from, with over-oaking methods in Australia and California. A lot of German wine labels are traditionally quite hard to understand, what with words 20 letters long (we're looking at you Trockenbeerenauslese) and umlauts. Thankfully there are winemakers in Germany who understand this and are keen to catch up with the times and become more approachable purely for your enjoyment of this awesome grape variety.
Finding a dry Riesling from Germany doesn't have to be hard or intimidating. When looking at the label there are two things to look out for;
Trocken. This is German for dry and can usually be found in regions such as Rheingau (rine-gow) and Pfalz (faltss).
ABV at 11% or higher. This is due to the sugars in the grapes being converted into alcohol, so the more alcohol made means more sugar used up in the winemaking process. Riesling at the 9% ABV will have that sweeter taste.
Dry Rieslings have the flavour profile that would appeal to most palates. You'll find plenty of concentrated lime flavours, with a really refreshing high acidity. Secondary flavours include stone fruit flavours such as apricot and even a touch of beeswax/hint of honey (the really natural kind that you can buy in farm shops). This is all topped off with a very clean minerality.
For me a stand out would be Villa Wolf's Wachenheimer Riesling. Villa Wolf is part of the Dr. Loosen estate, Ernst Loosen being the king of Riesling in Germany. Part of why I love this wine is the ease of reading the label as soon as you get past the tricky vineyard name Wachenheimer (vack-en-hi-mer). You can clearly see above the label the word 'dry' instantly scrapping any doubt as to whether this is a dry wine. The front of the label simply tells you the vineyard, the grape, the vintage and the estate. The back label then tells you it is from Pfalz (known for their drier more full-bodied style), gives you brief description of the flavour and tells you what to pair it with. There is also a very handy chart ranging from dry to medium dry & medium sweet up to sweet with a clear arrow telling you it is dry. Apart from Ernie himself sending you a letter saying it's dry, you couldn't be clearer about it being dry.
With the classic hit of lime and a pleasant amount of white peach coming through, the acidity will quench any thirst. The minerality on the finish shows the quality of this wine and the flavour stays in the mouth for a good amount of time.
For those of you who enjoy a Picpoul de Pinet, a Pinot Grigio, a dry Chenin Blanc or even a Chablis, you should give this a go - if you haven't already.
Try it with this awesome BBQ fish recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipe/citrus-spiked-sea-bass. The intense lime will stand up to the citrus and the flavours of the wine will beautifully compliment the fish. Summer heaven!