The wine lover seeking something new should keep an eye out for Lembergerby Barry Smith / May 19, 2016 / Leave a comment
When did German wines become cool? Many will remember the damage done to the reputation of German wines in the 1970s by the glut of mass market Liebfraumilch and Piesporter. Those in the know recognised the existence of fine German wines from Mosel and Rheingau: Rieslings that perfectly balanced sweetness with lime-edged acidity. Those who needed persuading were told of the great value of these underrated wines.
That’s no longer the story. A young generation of German winemakers are challenging the stereotype. And it’s not all about white wines. Germany is making fine wines across the range: from sparkling wines to reds. This cool climate viticulture is producing wines with the right ratio of price to quality. In many ways, they look like the wines of the future. The beauty is that this new wave of winemakers have inherited old world vines: combining tradition with innovation.
A big revelation is what Anne Krebiehl, has called the joy of Sekts. No longer dull, these sparkling Rieslings have complex flavour profiles that take them beyond a mere aperitif. Many German families contributed to the reputation of the Champagne region, and the know-how behind the méthode Champenoise is now making its way back to Germany. The 2014 Reichsrat von Buhl Sekt is made by the ex-chef de cave of Bollinger and is a dry-style wine with a fine, gentle mousse. The Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships awarded a gold medal to the 2009 Solter Rheingau Riesling Sekt, a wine of great richness, and if the 2005 is anything to go by, a wine with the potential for ageing.
It is also surprising to find good quality German rosé. Perhaps the best example comes from the Meyer-Näkel estate. Already recognised for the power and elegance of their Spätbugunder wines, here we find them making a rosé from the same grape. Without increasing the colour, the pressed juice has had just enough skin contact to give the wine satisfying bite. For those who like the rosé of Bandol, here is a suitable alternative.
Reds are not just confined to wines made from Spätbugunder, although this variety is seeing nuanced and subtle variations. To seek out ripeness in such cool growing conditions there is a need to pick at the last possible moment, though sometimes this can be overdone, giving rise to a…