Monday, December 24, 2018

German Wines: Pinot Gris

German wines tend to fall beneath the U.S. wine drinker's radar.  Aside from Riesling, one could be hard-pressed to find a German grape variety or even a German version of a more familiar grape, on a supermarket shelf.  Specialty wine stores will dig deeper, but depending on their inventory they may not have a very wide selection.  With this in mind I was thrilled to be asked to participate in an online tasting event involving German wines, with Matthew Kaner, wine director and partner at several wine bars in the Los Angeles area.

Kaner says of the new world of German wine, "there’s more than just Riesling," and he went on during the event to cover a Muller-Thurgau, a Pinot Blanc and a Pinot Gris as well as a Riesling.

Another invite appfreciated "the brightness, raciness, and lower alcohol levels in these wines," noting that "those characteristics are trademarks of Germany's refreshing, cool-climate wines. Not to mention their food-friendly nature"  That guy knows what he's talking about. 

Weinreich Basisweiss Pinot Gris 2017

Weingut Weinreich is located in a part of Rheinhessen called Wonnegau.  The owner writes that people seemed to either work at refineries or used car lots, which sounds a lot like how a friend of mine described our southeast Texas hometown.  The younger generation took over the winery a decade ago and is reportedly keeping the old ways farming organically and harvesting by hand, as grandpa did.

The wine is a Pinot Gris, known in Germany as Grauburgunder.  Alcohol is restrained at 12.5% abv and it retails for about 12 bucks.  The southwestern U.S. desert motif on the label may possibly indicate how dry the wine is.

This beautiful German Pinot Gris is only faintly aromatic with a chalky nose that features mainly limes.  The palate gets some apple in with the citrus and has a healthy dose of minerals, too.  Acidity is rippingly fantastic and the finish is loaded with fruity wet rocks. 


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