I love German whites above all others but I can understand why they are not more popular. There’s the long baffling labels to put off the average buyer and then it is hard to think of the right time to drink them. They tend to be too sweet to go with savoury food but not sweet enough to have with puddings. In fact the wines of the Moselle (the ones in the green bottles) can be so ethereal that they are best consumed on their own. The Germans, perhaps looking at the success of their cousins in Austria, have started making their wines drier and drier. In a bad vintage, I am not sure that this is a good idea as the wines can end up raspingly sour but in a good year like 03, 05 and now 09 they are amazing.
My wine of the week is just such a wine. Schieferberg by Ernst Loosen Dry Riesling 2009. Note the un-Teutonically concise name (relatively concise that is). That’s a clue that this is going to be a bit different. Schieferberg refers to a specific vineyard. The second clue is the high alcohol (again relatively – 12% is a lot in Germany). This means that all the sugar has turned into alcohol. It still has all the fragrance and beauty you would expect from the region but with the body that brings to mind Austria or Alsace. I’d love to try it with something fatty like pork or duck. Like many German Rieslings it will probably age into something quite wonderful. If I had the money and the patience, I would buy two cases: one to drink this year and one to keep for ten.
It is only available from Laithwaite’s. They are the biggest supplier of mail order wine in the country and I’ve always found their wines to be dull and overpriced. Well this year their German range is spectacular and this wine at £9.49 is a steal. You would never get a wine this good from Alsace or Austria let only Burgundy for so little money. All I can say is buy and then buy some more
You can buy the standard Dr Loosen Riesling 2009 from Oddbins for £8.49. It’s a little sweeter and a little more classically German. I like both these wines very much and love that Dr Loosen is producing the old and the new alongside each other.