Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taste and Learn about Some of Germany’s Finest

Alright, listen up. I’m confused.

I announced my upcoming courses at Tria Fermentation School about ten days ago. The class on wines of the Loire was sold out within a couple of days. Another week later, the course on Germany, scheduled for Tuesday, May 6, has received only a few nibbles. What's up with that? Not sure what to expect? Or maybe you just missed it the first time around.

Don’t miss it this time. This class, I say with all due modesty, should be great. Even if I somehow manage to lose my voice and can only stand in front of the room and point at the maps and pretty pictures, the wines I’ll be pouring will be enough, I expect, to keep you totally captivated.

This class is for you if:

  • You think you don't like white wine. You just haven't tasted the right stuff.
  • You’re convinced all German wines are sweet. They’re not.
  • You’re convinced that all sweet wine is bad and/or to be avoided. Patently untrue, my friends, although widely accepted as truth in America’s current wine culture.
  • Your eyes go blurry and crossed as soon as you see a German wine label. We’ll try to crack the code.
  • You think Germany only produces Riesling (we’ll taste plenty) and Gewürztraminer (we won’t taste any). I’ll also be pouring Scheurebe, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) – yes, a red wine.
  • You’ve never explored the wines of Germany. This will be a great starting point.
  • You’re a German wine fanatic. We’ll be tasting goodies from some of Germany’s top producers.

If you need to be convinced about the fantastic qualities of German wines by someone other than just me, check out Eric Asimov’s recent piece on dry German Rieslings in The New York Times. By coincidence, we’ll taste one of the wines Eric specifically mentioned – Von der Fels from Klaus-Peter Keller – and a couple from another producer – Ratzenberger – on his short list of favorites.

If you’re already convinced, sign up for class now. Again, it's next Tuesday, May 6, 2008. Class runs from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (or maybe a little later...). I’ll see you there.


Joe said...

The problems I have with German wines are (1) not knowing enough good producers, and (2) not having the perfect pairing profile in mind. Most wines I automatically associate with a food, but I just don't have that yet for German wines. Don't get me wrong - love the stuff - just feel a bit awkward with them. Wish I could take your course!

David McDuff said...

If you were a bit closer I'd say "come on down." It would be tough fully to address your points in the context of a comment but I'll take a quick stab at it anyway.

- The classic low alcohol, slightly off-dry Kabinett is one of the few wines that can actually work well with a salad course.

- Lighter dry wines (Kabinett trocken, Kabinett halbtrocken, basic QbA tr and htr) pair nicely with simple fish dishes, especially fresh water fish.

- Depending on your tastes, all of the above categories can work well with sushi as well (I wrote up a Spatlese/sushi pairing recently).

- Try the bigger dry wines (Spatlese and Auslese trocken and halbtrocken, Erstes Gewachs and Grosses Gewachs) with pork, from sausages to roasts.

- Well balanced Spatlese and Auslese, especially from cooler, high-acid and mineral driven areas, can still be food friendly, especially with richer fish and poultry dishes.

- At the Auslese level and above, many of the wines show best and are best enjoyed on their own, whether as an aperitif or as a meditative wine.

In general, and it's a huge generalization, you can drink German Riesling with almost anything. The stereotypical pairings with Chinese and Thai food are testaments to its versatility.

Let me know if you find any success.

Joe said...

Hi David, those are great suggestions - perhaps the material for a full fledged post? Love the sushi idea - use that one alot (but even then I veer towards Alsace more frequently), and the halbtrocken and sausages sounds perfect. (my wife lived in Germany when she was younger and can appreciate the off-dry Riesling mit wurst). I think your fish comment is interesting, with say a drier version working with lemony sole, but a richer riesling tackling a tilapia or monkfish. I think I have some notion of pairing them, but it has not yet become "instinct" - I am buying a lot more these days, so stay tuned...

David McDuff said...

I found myself thinking the same thing as I wrote the comment, Joe. Maybe after the class next week. Come to think of it, WBW is next Wednesday and old world Riesling is the theme.

I'm glad my recommendations made sense. I'll definitely look forward to your notes.

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