This week we’ll continue our search for great wines for springtime menus. What do you pair with something local, seasonal and fresh? The bright, vibrant flavors we love this time of year call for a wine in a style that combines elegance with intensity.
A piu tardi (“See you later”),
Even in a land of unique wines, Germany’s Rheinpfalz region stands out. There are few better examples of how an area’s soil and climate influence the flavor and aroma of its wines.
Germany is the native home of the Riesling grape and today’s renewed interest in that grape has made German wines popular again. As more German wines appear on retailers’ shelves and restaurant wine lists we can begin to see the more subtle differences between wines from Germany’s dozen or so historic wine regions, many dating back to Roman times.
Most lie along the Rhine River, which begins at the Swiss border at Lake Constance and flows north to the sea. Along the way, and along tributaries like the Neckar, Nahe, Mosel and Main, the south facing slopes are dotted with small, tidy vineyards and pretty, storybook villages.
The areas sometimes look the same, but the soil varies from one to the next, and this greatly affects the wines. The Rheinpfalz style has always been, to me, the most unique. You can smell the soil in the glass, subtle but there. Rhienpfalz is one of the more southerly situated German wine regions (still just a little north and east of France’s Alsace), and this is often evident in the acidity (tartness), with either less of it, or sometimes a richer, more mature acidity.
But it’s the soil that really makes a Rheinpfalz wine unique. The northern half is Riesling country, and the wines from the best villages, like Deidesheim, Wachenheim, Ruppertsberg and Forst, are distinguishable from other German wines just from their subtle aromatics.
Pfeffingen is a top producer of the northern Rheinpfalz, and their Dry Riesling will give you a chance to try a very good Rheinpfalz Riesling at a good price, between $15 and $20.