Why not choose a different bottle of wine this Christmas, and ring the changes with German wines?
Disclosure: Wines of Germany sent me some samples for this review, but the opinions below are my own and unbiased.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to go on auto-pilot when I am choosing a bottle of wine. If I’m buying white, it tends to be an Italian Pinot Grigio, or a Chardonnay from Australia or South Africa. Or possibly a Chablis from France if I want something less oaky. When I’m choosing a bottle of red, then I’ll normally go for a Shiraz and it’s usually from Australia. The rest of the world doesn’t often get a look in.
It’s surprising that I don’t drink more German wines really. I spent my early childhood in Germany and after we returned to the UK, my parents always opted for German wines. So when Wines of Germany asked if I’d like to try some of their drinks, it sounded like an ideal opportunity to re-acquaint myself.
And when better than Christmas to try out some German wines? After all, it’s the home of Christmas markets and the Christmas tree tradition!
I received a bottle each of Johann Wolf Pinot Noir Rose, Kendermanns Special Edition Riesling and Palataia Pinot Noir. All of these wines are from the Pfalz region in south-western Germany. Pfalz is the second largest wine producing region of Germany, and tends to produce dry, full-bodied wines.
The first bottle that we tasted was the Johann Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé. It’s a light rose, at just 11.5% ABV, and you can pick it up at Waitrose online for £9.99 a bottle. I’m a big fan of rosé wine, but some varieties can be too sweet for my taste. This was definitely my kind of rosé – delicate and dry, with delicious berry flavours. Yes, it would be lovely on a hot summer’s day, but you don’t need to save rosé for the summer. This would also be perfect to serve with cold meats on Boxing Day, and it would be my personal choice for a party wine.
Next we tried the Kendermanns Special Edition Riesling 2015. Most of the wine that I buy tends to be white, and while I like a dry white wine, I tend to stick to Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. I haven’t bought a Riesling for years, so I was keen to see if this might change my mind.
It is a beautifully fragrant wine with a hint of citrus acidity that gives it a delicious freshness. At 12.5% ABV, it’s a little lighter than some of the Chardonnay wines that I usually buy. That’s probably no bad thing! This wine would go really well with a light fish or vegetarian starter, and you could happily serve it at your Christmas party.
You’ll find this Riesling at Waitrose stores, where it usually costs £7.49 a bottle. It’s on special offer at just £5.99 per bottle until 3rd January 2017. I’m certainly planning on adding it to my Christmas shopping list!
And the final bottle we sampled was the Palataia Pinot Noir, which you can pick up at Marks & Spencer at £10.50 a bottle. I like red wine, but only certain kinds. I tend to steer clear of the big Cabernet Sauvignons and stick to lighter grapes like Grenache. This Pinot Noir is really delicious though, with a complex rich flavour, very smooth with no harshness about it. It would be gorgeous with the big Christmas dinner, and would also go very well alongside the rich oiliness of smoked salmon.