When you hear “German cuisine”, what comes to mind? Sausages, schnitzel, oversized pretzels and beer? Funnily enough, Germany is one of the most vegetarian countries in the western world (more than 10 percent of the population) and there’s a new wave of Michelin-starred restaurants that are grabbing the attention of the upper echelons with refined cuisine that’s the very opposite of stewed meat, cream and fried fare, gladly finding inspiration from Turkish, Japanese and Indian influences.
Take Berlin for instance, which has become one of the coolest and most unique cities in Europe over the last two decades. The restaurants here are globally inspired, wine bars serve up the unexpected and local culture can be described as one of a kind, bold and diverse. The hackneyed image of Germany all dressed up in lederhosen and dirndl, the leather shorts and traditional dress evoking Oktoberfest, poke more friendly fun at the past than they point to current trends in this modern society that’s open to the world.
The red revolution
When it comes to German wine, the biggest sleeper hit has certainly come from the red camp—we’re talking Pinot Noir. A few years ago, a group of eminent British critics (including Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkin) surprised themselves when they assigned several German Pinots—a.k.a. Spätburgunder—first place in a lineup of Pinot crown jewels from Burgundy, Oregon, California and New Zealand.
Scandalous! A German Pinot over a Morey Saint Denis Premier Cru? Just 20 years ago, these wines were often shallow, sometimes even laden with sugar in an effort to round them out. Thanks to warmer vintages and winemakers who are determined to show off their country’s grape potential, quality has shot up and delicate is no longer a rare qualifier.
What’s more, German growers have also brought their labelling ways into the now, so you can get acquainted with German wine with affordable, quality and straightforward vintages—without having to crack The Da Vinci Code of labels, which sometimes reach encyclopedic proportions.
Long live Riesling
In the same vein, the unrivalled royal house of German grape varieties, the Riesling, is also more accessible today than ever thanks to vintages that deliver punch, without forcing you to distinguish between Spätlese Trocken and Grosses Gewächs. Beneath simple and modern labels lie enjoyable wines for under $20, offering you a fabulous foray into the pleasures of Riesling with notes of green apple, lime, gunflint, even peach, honey or ginger. How tasty they are with Asian cuisine—think Thai spices or wasabi with sushi—German Rieslings are distinctive and are almost always endowed with refreshing tartness that does an excellent job of cleansing the palate.
Just like with Pinot Noirs, if it gets the better of you, there’s always time to enjoy the pleasures of Wehlener Sonnenuhr or Himmelreich, vinicultural trea-sures that only get better with time. And go ahead: Pair them with sauerkraut or a pork roast.
Burg Ravensburg Riesling 2017
$21.00White wine750 mlGermany, BadenSAQ code : 13453762
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