When we think of the holiday season we often dream of a white Christmas. Well we may not be able to control Mother Nature, but we can certainly control what is on our table. This holiday season you can create your own white Christmas with German Rieslings.
The holidays are a time for friends, food and wines. Rieslings are the perfect choice for these special occasions. Rieslings are made around the world, Germany, Alsace, Australia, California and New York, but the best of the best cool climate Rieslings are undoubtedly from Germany. Riesling is one of Germany’s oldest grape varieties . The wines ranging from dry, to off dry to lusciously sweet. But don’t let the word sweet turn you off, sweet German Rieslings are perfectly balanced with a delicate texture, crisp fruit, racy acidity and relatively low alcohol.
German Rieslings are the darling of sommeliers and wine enthusiast around the globe. Rieslings are some of the most complex and most elegant wines made today.
Picking the right wines can be a challenge when it comes to this noble grape varietal. German labels are notorious for being hard to read and understand. Here is a breakdown of the classifications to help you understand German wine labels.
German quality classification is referred to as Qualitätsweine. Qualitätswein-level wines commonly used terms on the label to indicate the wine’s level of sweetness:
Pradikatswein are German quality classification indicating wines with distinction and quality. These are some of Germany’s best wines. Prädikatswein indicate the level of ripeness when the grapes are harvested.
This classification is for grapes that are the least ripe. The wines are lighter in style and lower in alcohol. They tend to have lower alcohol levels (in the 8-10% range) and are often made in an off-dry style.
Spatlese refers to Rieslings picked later in the season, and can be dry or sweet in style. The wines are medium-body and more richer and more concentrated.
The wines are selected bunches and hand picked, often times these selections have noble rot. Wines can be dry or sweet.
These grapes are late harvest often affected by Botrytis. They are made into luscious sweet dessert wines.
Trockenbeerenauslese wines are concentrated dessert wines that are rare and highly sought after. These wines are made from grapes that are raisinated on the vine.
Eisweins are ultra rich and concentrated. These dessert wines are made from grapes that are frozen on the vine and are then pressed to produce this rare and decadent wine.
Germany Rieslings are highly aromatic, with distinct minerality and racy acidity. The wines are delicate, pure and elegant. The best Rieslings exhibit notes of apple, lemon, peach, pear and stone fruit. With age you get notes of honey and petrol. What makes them perfect for the holidays is that they are extremely food friendly wines. With its high palate cleansing acidity, German Rieslings pair beautifully with Thai, Indian and Mexican cuisine. Below are six wines that are sure to make it a white Christmas this holiday season.
The Fitz Ritter Estate founded in 1785 is now in its eighth generation of ownership. Dedicate to producing only natural wines of the highest quality. Sekt means sparkling wine in German. This wine is an extra dry sparkling wine made with Riesling grapes. This Sekt is crisp and dry, bursting with the fruitiness of ripe Riesling. Notes of brioche, paired with honey and and floral expressions. Well balanced and harmonious.
Stefan Bollig , passionately devoted to his work is a fine example of the new generation of Mosel vintners. The family has been producing wine since the 17th century. Careful vineyard management and gentle processing, from the vineyard to the cellar, underline the quality benchmark. There are intense aromas of smoke, crushed earth, and pollen permeate through sweet-tart lemon and lime flavors. It is savory yet invigorating, offering penetrating streaks of acidity that linger through a long finish.
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler is owned by Dr. Peter Pauly and his wife Helga, both of who are traditional advocates of noble wines. The vineyards are mainly planted on, difficult to cultivate river valley hillsides, and are planted predominantly to late maturity Riselings grape, which place high demands on their location. This Riesling is a refreshing white wine. Due to its slate stone notes, it is direct and complex at the same time. The aroma reminds of citrus, fruits and rhubarb. The taste is well balanced in natural sweetness and acidity. The finish is acid-driven and makes this Riesling easy to drink.
The Dr. Nagler estate is located in the German region of Rheingau, in the town of Rudesheim. Today it is run by the 6th generation of the family. Protected by both the river and the forests at the top of the hillside, the stony quartzite and slate soil is an ideal environment for vines. First planting can be traced back to 1031 on this hillside. This wine has electric acidity that anchors this otherwise sunny peachy wine. It’s delicately off-dry offering just enough sweet honey and melon flavors to offset the sharp lemon and lime tones that flood the mid palate. The finish is lean and bit steely.
Dr. Karl Heyden founded the estate in 1999 with his wife Anita and their two sons, Frank and Harry. This young talented generation is already crafting great wines from these highly rated vineyards. The wine displays an appealing bouquet of ripe apricots with lemon zest. On the palate, iti is juicy with balanced acidity and a hint of salty minerality from the limestone soils.
Albrecht Schneider’s maxim has always been absolute devotion to his vineyards and wines. The estate has been owned by the Schneider family for 7 generations, and today at vintage time, three generations are at work. This Riesling is exceptionally light, making this delicate spatlese so quaffable. The palate juxtaposes pristine tangerine and peach flavors against savory notes of saffron and pollen and a high pitched acidic backbone.
Wine Pairing Weekend
During December our Wine Pairing Weekend is hosted by Nancy at Pull That Cork. Join our chat on Saturday, December 8 at 11am Eastern Standard Time as we discover and taste more German Riesling.
Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will tempt us with “Feasting for Sankt Nikolaus Tag: German Sips, Schweineschnitzel, Spätzle, and Sauerkraut”
Kat from Bacchus Travel & Tours will share “A German Holiday Celebration #winePW”
Sarah from Curious Cuisinière is pairing “Chicken Schnitzel and German Riesling”
Deanna of Asian Test Kitchen will discuss “German Riesling: The Default Asian Food Pairing #winePW”
Jade of Tasting Pour will tempt us with “Coq Au Riesling #winePW”
Jeff from Food Wine Click discusses “50 Shades of Kabinett Riesling”
Michelle of Rockin Red will share “German Wines: Expect The Unexpected #WinePW”
Here on L’Occasion we “Outfit Your Holiday Table With German Wines”
Jane from Always Ravenous will share “Food Pairings with German Riesling #winepw”
David of Cooking Chat has prepared “Chicken Sausage and Veggie Bowl with German Riesling”
Gwendolyn from wine predator will enjoy “German Riesling and Fun Fondue With Friends for #WinePW”
Cindy of Grape Experiences has you covered with “Your Party Planning Checklist: Must-Have German Rieslings”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm will be “Celebrating St. Nicholas Day”
Jennifer of Vino Travels – An Italian Wine Blog will share “Everyday Pairings with German Riesling”
Nancy at Pull That Cork will share “Two Styles of German Wine and a Meal for Both #winePW”