Thursday, 10 July 2014

Germany 7 - Brazil 1: Wines to Settle Scores

Oh dear. 7 - 1 defeat. Oh Brazil.
And so, after an utterly embarrassing and disappointing performance by this year's host country, Brazil are out of the running for the World Cup.

With a gargantuan performance Germany stormed ahead and by the end of the first half were an impressive five goals in the lead.

From a wine perspective, putting these two countries side by side is much the same - Germany is by far the better team.

A country steeped in winemaking history (with the oldest plantations going back to Roman era) it's unfortunate that Germany are probably best known for Blue Nun and Liebfraumilch when they have SO much more to offer.

If you're a wine geek like us, you'll associate Germany with some of the best Riesling in the world, ranging in styles from crisp and dry, to sweet and concentrated - this aromatic, elegant varietal is incredibly versatile. Though Germany is predominantly a white wine producing country, some thought is spared for red wine, and about a third of the wine-producing regions yield red grapes - in particular Spatburgunder, the local name for Pinot Noir.

In light of their impressive victory, I'm championing seven German wines which you should all get your hands on. Oh, and there's one Brazilian wine in for good measure and to assure you that this is not a training session, it's the real game. Don't try them all at once; you'll get Muller-ed!

Cheap and cheerful is the Simply Riesling from Tesco. At just £4.79 per bottle it's a steal, and in an off-dry style this is perfect for summery fruit desserts, spicy Asian-inspired salads or sushi with a wasabi hit. From the dynamic Rheinhessen region - rife with young, well-educated winemakers - this Riesling is bursting with apple and citrus flavours and comes in at just 10.5%.

The Society's Ruppertsberg
Also on the affordable end of the wine scale is The Society's Ruppertsberg from The Wine Society. At £6.75 per bottle this dry, fruity white is  blend of 55% Silvaner and 45% Riesling and is a classic representation of what a good German white should be. Blended especially for The Society, it's intended to be easy-drinking, refreshing and enjoyable with or without food. For a little German-South Americna fusion, The Society suggest this might be a good match for ceviche (fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices).

If you've dabbled in German wines, it's likely you'll have heard of Dr. Loosen - an estate which has been in the same family for over 200 years. From the Mosel Valley comes the 'Dr. L' Riesling, 2013 - available at Majestic Wines for £8.99 per bottle. Though this one is a non-estate wine the Loosen brothers work closely with the growers to ensure consistent quality. Off-dry, it's fragrant with honey and apricot though surprisingly refreshing on the palate, maintaining good acidity - an easy choice for oriental, Asian-style dishes.

Peter & Peter Pinot Noir
Thinking of going down the red route? The Peter & Peter Pinot Noir (exclusively online at Tesco Wine by the Case) at £10.00 is a good benchmark - smooth, soft and fruity. Made by flying winemaker Andrew George this German red is crafted from late harvested grapes grown in the Pfalz region, close to the border with Alsace, France. Dry and fruity, it's teeming with forest berry fruits and the distinctive cherry aroma of the Pinot Noir grape.

Again from The Wine Society (which has an exceptional range of German wines) is the Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett, Von Kesselstatt, 2008...yes, it is a mouthful, but with one sip, you'll be hooked. At £11.95 per bottle, we've moved away from 'everyday' prices, but this medium style Riesling is the ultimate in summer drinking. Though it's beautifully rounded with a peachy, apricot flavour, the clean, fresh finish makes it a treat for roast pork, or sweet-baked ham.

Considering we are championing German wines, there must be mention of a celebratory fizz. The Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Sekt b. A Brut 2012 from Laithwaite's Wine is just the ticket. At £16.49 per bottle it's about the price you would expect to pay for a cheap Champagne, and it's made in the same methode traditionelle. Made from the Riesling grape, this Sekt is classed as more premium and classified as Pfalz Qualitatswein which is a sign of good quality production.

Welener Sonnenuhr Auslese, JJ Prum

And now, to the big daddy. The numero uno for me - the Auslese; sweet, concentrated and aromatic. Okay so this Welener Sonnenuhr Auslese JJ Prum 2012 is £29.00 per bottle at The Wine Society but let it be a treat to you, for Germany.

For this, I have few words because it's so delicious but if the words aromatic, intense, sensual and racy mean nothing to you, you will never be a German wine geek! For ultimate indulgence serve with duck pate and crusty bread, that is all.

Which leaves us with just one wine to cover. The Brazilian. The team that tried hard but didn't quite make it. Though Brazilian wine has not really hit the UK wine industry outside of the London Wine Trade Fair, there has been one wine which has been the talk of the summer, and previously supported on Vinspire.

The I Heart Brasil Sparkling Moscato has been the ultimate World Cup's a shame that it's country of origin fizzled out so spectacularly. For £9.99 at Tesco the I Heart Brasil Sparkling Moscato is full of summery sweetness, yet refreshing, delicate and bursting with flavours of grape and passionfruit as every Moscato should. Though Brazil is not, this is a winner.

7-1 image from Play Among Friends photostream on flickr under the Creative Commons license.

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