German Wines and Nordic Cuisine
Finland Iceland Norway
In many respects, the Scandinavian countries in northern Europe are among the world‘s most modern and advanced nations. In many areas they serve as role models, with Scandinavian fashion, music, lifestyle, furniture and design being much admired – and copied – the world over. It‘s only in the last ten years or so that we have seen a renaissance in Nordic Cuisine, not only in Scandinavia, but also in many other countries around the world where people are looking for authentic and healthy alternatives to their daily diet. This transition has come as a result of the publication of Claus Meyer‘s assertion of The New Nordic Cuisine Movement. In 2004, some of Scandinavia‘s greatest chefs created a manifesto for the NEW NORDIC KITCHEN. This was the starting point for an inspiring new movement that has captured the imagination of food lovers around the world. The aims of New Nordic Cuisine are: 1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate with our region. 2. To reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals we make. 3. To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in our climates, landscapes and waters. 4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being. 5. To promote Nordic products and the variety of Nordic producers – and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.
6. To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild. 7. To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products. 8. To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad. 9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional sharing of high-quality products. 10. To join forces with consumer representatives,other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, the fishing, food, retail and wholesale industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries. Almost in parallel to this development, we witnessed a growing interest in German wine throughout Scandinavia, with a particular focus on Riesling. This does not come as a surprise. Germany, as a cool climate wine-growing country, offers wines which are often lighter in alcohol but very aromatic and expressive due to the grapes‘ lengthy ripening period. We see this same effect in the ripening of many fruit, vegetables and herbs grown in Scandinavia and used in Scandinavian cuisine. Today, every third litre of white wine in Norway comes from Germany, and in Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland German wine is on the rise. This little booklet will give you some insights into this great partnership and some inspiration for further culinary delights.
GERMAN GRAPE VARIETIES RIESLING Germany’s – and perhaps the world’s – premier white grape variety. The first documented mention of Riesling dates from the 15th century. Today, Germany is home to more than half of the world-wide area devoted to Riesling. No other white wine can better express its origin, or terroir. Distinctive for its elegance, firm acidity, complexity, longevity and extraordinary versatility with food. Crisp apple, ripe peach, mineral rich, or the honeyed tone of botrytis are variations on a theme: Riesling. SILVANER An ancient variety that yields full-bodied, juicy wines with a fine fruity acidity. Silvaner is neutral enough to enhance the delicate flavours of seafood and light meats or white asparagus.
GERMAN GRAPE VARIETIES
A drier, more food compatible version of its synonym Müller-Thurgau. The wines are flowery, with a light Muscat tone, and not too acidic – easy on the palate. Enjoy while young.
These rich, full-bodied wines show a very pronounced bouquet, reminiscent of roses or lychee with medium to fine acidity and spicy flavours. It is produced as both in a dry style and as a richer, sweeter wine.
GRAUBURGUNDER (Pinot Gris) This variety is quite popular in Germany and is well-known for its powerful, mouth-filling style with rounded acidity. Grauburgunder needs good vineyards with deep, heavy soils. Harvest time is usually late September and early October. It is grown primarily in Baden and the Pfalz. WEISSBURGUNDER (Pinot Blanc) Elegant white wines with refreshing acidity, a fine fruitiness and bouquet reminiscent of pineapples, nuts, apricots or citrus. SCHEUREBE Ripeness is essential to bring forth its characteristic bouquet reminiscent of pomelo or grapefruit, and its fine, spicy undertones. A dry Scheurebe white wine is a delicious sipping wine for an evening get together, while those with some sweetness are remarkable for their ability to enhance and refine the exotic spices and aromas found in many Asian cuisines.
SPÄTBURGUNDER (Pinot Noir) Germany’s finest and foremost red variety yields mouth-filling, velvety smooth red wines with a slightly sweet, fruity aroma. In Germany, the area under Pinot Noir cultivation has grown steadily in recent years to encompass almost 12,000 hectares. That makes Germany the third largest producer of Pinot Noir in the world. DORNFELDER This full-bodied, complex wine wins over its fans with a deep red colour and a smooth tannin structure. Typical Dornfelder aromas are reminiscent of morello cherries, blackberries and fresh red dates. LEMBERGER (Blaufränkisch) These red wines are rich in fruit, acid and tannin, with a bouquet ranging from berry-like to vegetal, such as green peppers.
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Finland, the land of forests and lakes. Closely connected to the east with forests so dark and waters so many, Finland keeps its traditions alive while experimenting with new and creative methods. Today the Finns makes some of the most interesting food in Europe with local ingredients seldom found anywhere else. 6
Kari Aihinen. Being a former member of the Finnish Culinary team, Kari understands that great food starts with the ingredients. The Chef must work his magic to make the most of the natural flavours of these ingredients.
During his years as Head Chef at the most famous hotel in Finland – Hotel Savoy – Kari has had the opportunity to experiment with local ingredients from the land and sea, fjords and mountains, all in the name of flavour. Kari has a vision as a chef that involves more than just the food on the plate. He describes it as: “simply to make you feel good.” He knows that food alone will not necessarily make this happen as it’s the whole dining experience but if the waiter has a story to tell about the food it definitely adds to the enjoyment. In his efforts to source local food he finds out each and every detail, from the name of the fisherman to the precise location where the fish was pulled from the water – truly local food with a local story.
Antti Johannes Uusitalo. People who put all their effort into their work become people that we know and love within the restaurant business. These people strive to take care of their guests and make their experience really special. There is much talk about the interiors and the views at Savoy, but it is the quality of the service that really sets it apart. Visitors know they can ask the sommelier to select wines that will make a trip to Helsinki truly memorable. Antti is one of these people, a stalwart within the industry, and a true artisan.
Salted seatrout, sorrel purée and vinegar-marinated cucumbers PREPARATION
Ingredients 500 g cleaned seatrout fillets 1 lemon ½ stem of dill 25 g sea salt 15 g sugar 2 tbsp Aquavit Sorrel purée 3 acidic apples 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar 2 tbsp sugar ½ dl fresh-squeezed apple juice 30 g sorrel 15 g leaf parsley salt vinegar-marinated cucumbers 3 dl spirit vinegar 2 dl sugar 1 dl water cucumbers
Start by preparing the seatrout. Remove the fat and bones from the fish. Grate the lemon peel and finely cut the dill. Combine the lemon peel, cut dill, sea salt and Aquavit. Spread the spice mix evenly on the fleshy side of the fish fillets. Let the seatrout marinate in the refrigerator for 48 hours. Cut the fish fillets into desired pieces. Prepare the sorrel purée. Peel the apples and remove the pips. Cut the apples into small pieces. Combine the apple bits, apple cider vinegar, sugar and apple juice in a pot and bring to the boil. Poach until the apples are soft. Pour this mixture into a blender and run at full speed until the purée is even. Cool the purée in the refrigerator. When the purée has cooled, add the sorrel and parsley to the mixture. Run the blender at top speed until the purée is even and smooth. Season the sorrel purée with salt. Prepare the vinegar-marinated cucumbers. Peel the cucumbers and slice them as you wish. Combine the spirit vinegar, sugar and water in a pot and set it on the stove. Bring to a boil. Let the marinating broth cool off and pour it onto the cucumbers. Allow the cucumbers to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Wine recommendation “Young and fresh Mosel or Nahe Riesling. Dry or slightly off dry.“
Denmark, the birthplace of Nordic cuisine. From the beginning Denmark explored local ingredients and experimented with age-old recipes. In the process they discovered that various foods, many of which hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been tasted for centuries, were right on their doorstep. From this, Nordic Cuisine has evolved to become todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most talked about culinary movement worldwide. 10
Jens Søndergaard. Denmark is the birthplace of Nordic Cuisine. Even though the other Nordic countries are catching up, Denmark still has more and arguably better restaurants focusing on Nordic food. One of these restaurants is Søren K, named after the famous Danish author. With Head Chef, Jens Søndergaard, who has travelled far and wide to learn and find inspiration, Søren K is one of the most interesting restaurants in the Nordics. You could describe Søren K as a classic restaurant with classic food, but it would be too simple a generalisation. Jens Søndergaard uses local, fresh, Nordic ingredients to produce dishes with a French classical influence bringing out flavours long forgotten. On top of that, Søren K is one of the most affordable restaurants at this high quality level.
Zenia Brændeholm. As someone in the hospitality industry you can have any kind of background, but few people do better than those who strive to gain experience and knowledge over and above what is expected. Zenia has worked everywhere, from 2 star Kommandaten to luxury yachts. When you have served such a variety of guests, you learn how to breathe magic into a restaurant to make it a destination all of its own. You will find great wines from all over the world, but of course, as a sommelier in the Nordics, a German wine is never far away.
Roast Veal with radishes, cucumber, brussels blooms, dill, and horse radish PREPARATION
Ingredients 0,8 kg roast veal (for instance fillet) sirloin, culotte 20 small radishes 1 cucumber 20 brussels sprouts 1 bouquet of fresh dill 1 piece of horse radish 3 dl of veal stock 150 g of butter 5 tsp of neutral vinegar salt and pepper olive oil for roasting
The roast veal is trimmed for tendons, and is then turned over in oil, salt and pepper. Brown the meat in a hot pan, and roast it in the oven at 150 °C for 20 minutes and let it rest for 10 minutes. During this time the brussels sprouts are split into leaves and little “roses”. The radishes are then washed and trimmed, but leaving a little leaf showing. Wash the cucumber, and make little round scoops or balls with a noisette scoop (or cut them into little cubes). Peel the horse radish and chop the dill crudely, but save a little dill for decoration. The veal stock is reduced (boiled down) to about 50 %. Mount the reduced stock with 100 grams of butter. Blend the remaining cucumber into juice, and strain. Add the radishes to the stock and let simmer for 1 minute. Turn in the leaves of brussels sprouts, cucumber and chopped dill. Adjust the taste with vinegar, cucumber juice and lots of grated horse radish. Cut the meat into 4 equal pieces, and put them on a plate. Pour over the sauce in a decorative fashion, and then decorate further with fresh dill. Serve with roasted potatoes.
Wine recommendation “3-4 year old German Pinot Noir with fruity and spicy aromas, good structure and minerality. Perferably from a more northerly wine region like Ahr or Mosel.” 13
Norway, Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Northernmost point. From the highest mountains to the deepest Arctic waters, from the forests to the fjords, Norwayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s local produce flourishes and results in a culinary experience steeped in tradition. The high number of summer sunlight hours results in the growth of produce with exceptional flavours. 14
Terje Ness. Over the last 20 years Norway has been awarded more gold medals in Bocuse d´Or – 4 in total – than any other country with the exception of France. Today Terje is the owner of several restaurants and is the standard-bearer for good food, wine and service. As with many Norwegian chefs, his specialities are seafood and game with local ingredients to spice up traditional sauces. Clean flavours, a focus on great taste and beautiful presentation makes Terje’s food renowned all over Europe. Keeping the sommelier in mind, he tries to make wine friendly food where balance is the key to success. Herbs and spices are used but will never overpower the main ingredient.
Sommelier team Onda. Together with the Chefs Terje Ness and Rune Pal, the Sommeliers at Onda create classic food and wine matches. The food of Terje Ness is always very balanced and refined. Together with the wine it is possible to use the matches to carry the dish to new heights with every ingredient standing out. The classic wine regions are always well represented and German wines are, in many cases, a perfect match for shellfish and fish or even lighter meats. The white wines of Germany with its cool climate fruit, acidity and minerality have the complexity but also the long finish that are powerful enough to withstand food that lingers on the palate for a long time. Truly great combinations.
Halibut with Cabbage and a pomegranate sauce PREPARATION
Ingredients 2 x 200 g halibut chops 1 x small white cabbage 100 g butter for sauce
half a pomegranate 1 x spring onion 15 g parsley 15 g chives 15 g dill 2 dl olive oil juice from half a lemon salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Pour some of the olive oil into a frying pan and when hot add the halibut chop and sear both sides. Place in oven and cook for 8 to 10 mins. Slice the cabbage and remove the white core. Add butter to a clean pan and once melted add the cabbage and cook until tender. Season with salt and pepper. For the sauce, extract the seeds from the pomegranate in a bowl of cold water. Chop the parsley, dill, chives and spring onions and place in a bowl with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Serve the halibut on a bed of cabbage and sauce on the side.
Wine recommendation â&#x20AC;&#x153;2-3 year old Rheinhessen or Nahe Weissburgunder. Full bodied, rich and complex. With refreshing acidity and pronounced minerality.â&#x20AC;? 17
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Sweden, noble and wild. With a long history linked to the great empires and monarchies of Europe, Sweden has a refined food culture and some delicious local produce. Swedenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long stretches of coastline and vast bodies of water contain some exceptional produce and this, along with the innovative preservation methods, makes Swedish food popular all over the world. 18
Karin Fransson. Long before the re-invention of Nordic Cuisine a German lady moved to the island of Öland. This lady fell in love with the Nordic light, natural environment and one special hotel owner named Owe Fransson.
From the very early 1970s, Karin Fransson started scouring the countryside and her garden for ingredients to use in her cooking and very soon she established a name for herself and her creative cuisine that always introduced some new variety of herb or tasty vegetable to the mix. Today she works only with local produce – the more localised the better! From meat to seafood, vegetables to herbs, forest to highland, quality comes first for Karin and as a customer you will experience something memorable. Today Karin Fransson is one of Sweden’s most well-known chefs and is constantly in the media spreading her extensive knowledge on local ingredients and the history of food.
Daniel Norring. Having a creative chef who works with local ingredients can make a wine selection challenging. Especially when the focus is to use herbs from their own Herbarium with flavours seldom experienced. Daniel has been working with Karin for 6 years and has found interesting and great combinations. From the well stocked wine cellar there is wine to match all palates and especially trying a wine menu will prove Daniels skills as a great Sommelier. Either if you try the small menu or the Connoiseur menu you will be exited by combinations seldom tried. The wine cellar is a good combination of classical wines and new and fascinating tastes from producers little known.
Blackcurrant glazed Venison, salsify and parsley puree with a red wine sauce PREPARATION Ingredients STEP 1 to 3
600 g venison loin, salt and pepper 100 g frozen blackcurrants 1 tbsp honey 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger 1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar 1 dl red wine, pinch grained cardamom, 1 tbsp vanilla sugar STEP 4
8 salsify, 1 tbsp butter, 2 tbsp honey, 50 g roasted and chopped hazelnuts, salt STEP 5
600 g almond potatoes 300 g parsley root 1 dl cream, 1 dl milk, 2 tbsp butter pinch of suger, salt pinch of nutmeg
Boil all ingredients (except sugar) for 5-8 mins. Add sugar and mix in a blender, then strain and store air tight. STEP 2 Trim venison (saving trimmings for sauce). Season well and fry in oil and butter until brown. Spread a little blackcurrant glaze over the meat, place in oven 120 °C until inner temperature reaches 54-56 °C. Leave to rest. STEP 3 Prior to slicing, brush a little more glaze on to the meat and fry lightly in a dry frying pan until sticky. Slice and serve. STEP 4 Peel and directly boil the salsify in salted water, until cooked but still firm, strain and cool. Prior to serving, fry the salsify in butter lightly, adding the nuts and honey, fry until caramelized, season and serve. STEP 5 Boil potatoes and parsley together in salt water until soft. Boil milk, cream and butter. Mash potatoes and add to cream mix. Season and mix well. STEP 6 Brown venison trimmings and shallots, add blackcurrants. Add herbs, wine and vinegar and reduce to half. Add the stock and reduce by 1/3, season whisk in the butter and strain. STEP 1
3 dl meat stock 2 finely chopped shallots 1 dl blackcurrant, thyme, bay leaf 3 dl red wine, red wine vinegar butter, salt and pepper
Wine recommendation “2-3 year old Baden or Pfalz Spätburgunder.”
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Iceland, the middle of nowhere. Isolated and volcanic yet inarguably beautiful and divided into two sides by the American and European trenches, Iceland has everything and nothing at all. From the land and the sea, cuisine of unmatched quality is created by young and talented chefs. 22
Gunnar GIslason. Can you imagine anything living or growing on the remote and cold island far away from the rest of the Nordic countries? While not a lot grows, and few people live there, Iceland is home to a quality of produce seldom found anywhere else.
Gourmet CHEF & SOMMELIER
Gunnar Gislason started Dill Restaurant in 2009 together with his Sommelier Olafur Öm Olafsson and they have never looked back. Far away from the influence of other countries, Gunnar creates his own signature food based on Icelandic ingredients where possible. He sources cod from fishermen who use only traditional preservation methods – encouraging hunters and fishermen to use these methods has become one of the innovative ideas of Gunnar. The influences of this cold and volcanic island are found at Dill Restaurant and give something special to Iceland – it is well worth a visit.
Sommelier team Dill Restaurant. Chef Gunnar Gislason creates the food and then the staff sit down together to find the best match. When the food is clean cut and focused in its taste, looks amazing and gives off aromas reminiscent of the island itself, it is a special kind of wine that is needed. The balance between acidity, fruit, sugar and alcohol is crucial and many high quality German wines are perfect. Wines grown in a cool climate where the grapes strive to ripen and the long days in the summer give flavors and depth, you might say the wines of Germany are much like the food of Iceland. Berries and herbs, vegetables and fruit, fish and shellfish, meat and game all with intense aromas and flavours which cannot be found anywhere else, combined with true dedication from its staff, make Dill as good as it is today.
I ce L A N D
Salted cod, dirt smoked lamb, whey bbq and cauliflower PREPARATION Place the cod in a vacuum bag seal and cook in circulator at 62 °C for 8 minutes. Keep the bag at room temp for 5 minutes before opening. If you do not have an immersion circulator put some oil on the salted cod and place on a tray, seal with film and bake it in the oven at 80 °C for about 10 minutes or until the fish flakes. SALTED COD
Ingredients SALTED COD
400 g salted cod, 25 g oil Smoked lamb
100 g smoked lamb Whey bbq
200 g whey, 80 g sugar 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cloves 2 juneberries,1 sprig rosemary Cauliflower
1 small cauliflower, 50 g cream 50 g milk, 50 g butter salt and sugar Dried rYE bread
100 g rye bread, 20 g butter, salt For GARNISH
Cut the lamb very thinly and place in the dryer until crispy. Put in a blender or cut it down into slivers. Smoked lamb
Put everything in a pot and boil for 5 minutes. Strain, reduce to 50 % and cool. Whey bbq
Cut the stalk away and place the remaining cauliflower in vacuum bag and seal. Cook in circulator on 85 °C until soft. Then blend until very smooth. Take the stalks and thinly slice then place in ice bath. Cauliflower
Dried rYE bread Cut the bread into chunks, melt the butter and pour it over the bread. Season with salt. Place in the oven at 120 °C until very crispy. Allow to cool and then powder it in a blender.
Thinly sliced radishes, garden cress, wild herbs, Skyr pickled onions
Wine recommendation “A young crisp Mosel Riesling. Lean to medium bodied with little residual sugar, fresh acidity and pure minerality.” 25
GERMAN WINE REGIONS PINOT NOIR COUNTRY
The vineyards of Germany’s “red wine paradise” line the valley of the Ahr River, which joins the Rhine south of Bonn. From the heights of a basalt cone to the east or the slate cliffs to the west of the elegant spa Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, there are magnificent views of the steep vineyards. Riesling is the premier white grape, but the tiny region is especially known for its fine red wines, particularly Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and its early-ripening cousin, the rare Frühburgunder. Portugieser is the other important red wine grape.
G ER M AN WINE RE G IONS
KISSED BY THE SUN
Warm and sunny Baden, the southernmost region, stretches some 400 km (240 miles) along the Rhine from the Bodensee (Lake Constance) to Heidelberg, taking in the Black Forest as well as the vine-clad terraces of the Kaiserstuhl, a volcanic massif. As in neighbouring Alsace and Switzerland, Baden has a great tradition of wine and food. Dry, food-compatible “Burgunders” (Pinots), red and white, have long been popular throughout the region. Rivaner vineyards are also widespread, while other classic whites, e.g. Riesling, Silvaner, and Gutedel, are more localised.
BOCKSBEUTEL AND BAROQUE
FRANKEN Franken, the hilly region east of Frankfurt, follows the zigzag of the Main River. Distinctive wines and the Baroque Residence in Würzburg make it a popular destination for art and wine lovers alike. Not only the Bocksbeutel – a flat, round-bellied bottle – but also climate and drier-style wines set Franken apart. Cool climate and soil types make Riesling the exception and earlier-ripening white grapes, e.g. Rivaner or Bacchus, the rule. Above all, the region is known for powerful, earthy Silvaner wines. Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Domina, seldom seen elsewhere, are the main red grapes. 27
GERMANY’S SPRING GARDEN
HESSISCHE BERGSTRASSE The old Roman trade route Strata Montana (Mountain Road) runs parallel to the Rhine along the foothills of the Odenwald south of Frankfurt. Known as “Germany’s spring garden” – almond and fruit trees blossom early here – the Bergstrasse landscape is attractive, with castle ruins overlooking the hillside vineyards and orchards. Most of the small region’s wines are produced in Bensheim and Heppenheim. Riesling is the predominant variety, accounting for over half the vineyard area, followed by Müller-Thurgau and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris). 28
THE ROMANTIC RHINE
MITTELRHEIN The Mittelrhein is the spectacular stretch of the Rhine River between Bonn and Bingen known as the Rhine Gorge. Here the river has carved its course through the slate stone hills to form a steep, narrow valley with a microclimate in which vines have thrived for 2,000 years. Ancient castle ruins tower over vinecovered cliffs and medieval villages. Steeped in legend (the Loreley rock, the Nibelung dwarfs), the Mittelrhein has long been a source of inspiration to artists and winemakers. Crisp, fragrant Riesling wines are the hallmark of the region.
G ER M AN WINE RE G IONS
LEGACY OF THE ROMANS
JEWEL OF THE SOUTHWEST
The valleys of the Mosel River and its tributaries, the Saar and the Ruwer, have been the setting for some of Germany’s most romantic wine country since Roman times. Vines and forests carpet the steep slate slopes framing the river as it loops its way toward the Rhine at Koblenz. It is a Riesling region par excellence. These are wines of incomparable finesse, rich in fragrance and fruity acidity and often a mineral undertone. A speciality from the vineyards opposite the country of Luxembourg, southeast of Trier, is Elbling, prized as a racy, light still or sparkling white wine.
Nestled between the Mosel and Rhine valleys, the Nahe is named after the river that traverses the forested Hunsrück Hills as it gently flows toward Bingen on the Rhine. Striking rock formations, mineral deposits and gemstones attest to the remarkable geological diversity that also accounts for the Nahe’s broad spectrum of wines. Sleek, piquant Riesling, fragrant Rivaner and hearty Silvaner wines are longtime classics. White and red Pinots, e.g. Grauburgunder, Weissburgunder and Spätburgunder, and the red variety Dornfelder are on the rise.
For 85 km (53 miles), the Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Road) winds its way through the picturesque villages and lush vineyards between the borders of Rheinhessen and France. Vines thrive in the warm, sunny climate of the Pfalz, yielding voluptuous, full-bodied wines. Riesling, the leading variety, and the white Pinots Weissburgunder and Grauburgunder are among the finest white wines, while Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Dornfelder and the rare St. Laurent are foremost for top quality reds. Müller-Thurgau and Portugieser are favourites for easy drinking.
A TRADITION OF QUALITY
RHEINGAU The heart of the Rheingau borders the Rhine on its east-west course from Wiesbaden to Rüdesheim, where noble Riesling and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) vines cover the slopes of the Taunus Hills. The region’s success is due to an optimal climate, perfect southerly exposure and an ongoing commitment to the high quality standards set centuries ago by the Benedictines at Johannisberg, the Cistercians at Kloster Eberbach and the local aristocracy. The fortuitous “Spätlese” (late harvest) at Johannisberg in 1775 set the stage for the rich, ripe Botrytis wines for which Germany is renowned.
G ER M AN WINE RE G IONS
THE “LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS”
A MILLENNIUM OF VITICULTURE
The “Land of a Thousand Hills” lies within the large elbow formed by the Rhine as it flows from Worms to its bend at Mainz, then westward to Bingen. A region of this size, Germany’s largest, offers a great diversity of wines. Innovative varietal wines, such as RS (Rheinhessen Silvaner) or Selection Rheinhessen, and the increasing importance of white and red Pinots highlight the region’s quality potential. The classic whites Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner and Riesling predominate, but aromatic varieties are grown too, as are the red grapes Portugieser and Dornfelder.
The vineyards of the northernmost German wine region are about equidistant from Weimar and Leipzig. For ten centuries vines have been grown on the steep, terraced, limestone slopes of the Saale and Unstrut river valleys – a gentle landscape of hills ringed by forests, poplar groves and broad plateaus. Freyburg, Naumburg and Bad Kösen are the main towns. It is a small region known for dry varietal wines with a delicately spicy bouquet. Müller-Thurgau, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Silvaner are the most important varieties. 31
ITALIAN FLAIR ON THE ELBE
HOME OF RED WINE SPECIALITIES
Germany’s easternmost wine region lies in the Elbe River Valley. Dresden, nicknamed the “Florence of the Elbe” because of its cultural ambience and mild climate, and Meissen are the main towns. Vines are planted mostly on steep, terraced slopes of granite. Although the palette of Saxon wines is diverse, Rivaner, Riesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) are foremost, and sold as dry varietals. A small quantity of Goldriesling, a rare Riesling-Muscat crossing, is produced – a speciality found nowhere else in Germany.
Württemberg is a rural, hilly region adjacent to Baden and south of Franken. Metropolitan Stuttgart and Heilbronn are wine centres, but most of the vineyards are scattered amid fields and forests throughout the Neckar River Valley. Red wine predominates and ranges from crisp, light Trollinger – the “Swabian national drink” – to wines with more colour, body and substance, e.g. Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier) and Lemberger (Blaufränkisch). Riesling is by far the most important white variety, followed by Kerner, a crossing which has affinities with Riesling.
G ER M AN WINE RE G IONS
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