Topic of the Week 5/24/2019 - Master

Acacia discussions last week from , , , , and .

This week: German reds other than Pinot Noir

Name 3 and describe their character.

  • Hope everyone is taking a moment (where able) this holiday weekend to get some rest. 

    I’ve had a versions of all of these but can’t speak from a ton of experience tasting them in comparison, so please feel free to disagree. +1 red. 

    Dornfelder - juicy dark and red fruited, elevated acid, and rounded textural mouthfeel, great for every day drinking and easy to manipulate into a crowd pleaser. Subject to lots of punny big store names. Primarily grown in Pfalz and Rheinhessen but is in many places, and is Germany’s 2nd most planted red grape

    Portugeiser - light and red fruited with naturally low acidity. Great again for everyday wines, and can often require manipulation due to yields and being grown in cooler areas. Used to make Weissherbst. It’s lighter in style in Germany than it is in Hungary. Jancis throws some solid shade at it.

    Trollinger - Wurttumberg alone (basically) sustains the quantity of Trollinger planted in Germany as one of the top red grapes. Light bodied with moderate acidity with strawberry red fruit tones. Some say some smokey tones. Often blended with…

    Lemberger - [Blaufrankisch] - probably the biggest bodied grapes of those I listed but still lighter than the versions grown elsewhere in Europe. Darker fruit, somewhat increased tannin, potentially spice and pepper, medium body. 

    Where not hugely manipulated, they all tend to be quite light in my experience. Or just made for drinking and drinking.

  • Mmm tasty Trollinger. Aka Schiava or Vernatsch in German speaking Alto Adige.

    For anyone curious about many of these German reds, I’ve often seen the same grape has more of a market presence in its Italian or Austrian version than the German when looking for a bottle to taste. 

  • A couple other German reds in addition to those listed by Jake above:

    Schwarzriesling — a.k.a. Pinot Meunier or “Mullerrebe” — mostly grown in Württemberg where it is a local specialty. Not related to Riesling, but a mutation of Pinot that is early ripening, and not as complex as Spätburgunder. The wines can range from trocken to halbtrocken, and are light, fruity, and quaffable. Also used for the local specialty Schillerwein, a style of bright pink rose in which red and white grapes are blended and co-fermented. Perhaps because of Pinot Meunier’s association with Champagne, there is also Schwarzriesling Sekt. 

    Regent — a dark-skinned hybrid grape that is fungus-resistant. Produces wines that can be deep and intense in color, high in tannin, and high in alcohol, but it’s not a grape for quality German reds.