Sunday, August 03, 2008

Wines of Wurttemburg

Several days in western Germany just east of the Black Forest provided enough time to try a few regional specialties. The reds were light and fruity, the whites very crisp. Lemburger red was fine and the surprise was a barrel aged chardonnay that was in all ways a white Burgundy proxy. Really outstanding with that whole cool weather chard profile of acidity and minerality but softened by the barrel treatment. Unfortunately, many reds in this region are not really made from fully ripened grapes so are more of a rose and are bottled with residual sugar, probably to cover what would otherwise be some unripe weirdness. The final travesty is that these semi-sweet wines are often mixed with water by the locals to make a thin beverage that is really no more than a thirst quenching alternative to beer. The key to finding the better wines is to look for the word "Trocken" on the label (that "dry" auf Deutch) and "barrique" indicating that it was actually in a small wooden barrel at some time in its life. Be ready to pay a whole 2 to 5 euros extra for this - well worth it. Prost!

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