Tag Archives: trocken

Ten Favorite Wines of 2012

As we count down the days until the new year, many of us begin to self-reflect and  set new goals for the year to come.  My goal next year? Tantalize my palate with new and interesting wines.  In the meantime, let’s celebrate the top 10 I enjoyed throughout the year!

1 |  2003 Opus One  |  Napa Valley, California

2 |  2006 Paradigm Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley, California

3 |  2007 Robert König Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken  |  Rheingau, Germany

4 |  2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Pinot Noir  |  Willamette Valley, Oregon

5 |  2009 Julien Sunier Morgon  |  Beaujolais, France

6 |  2002 Nicolaysen Alisos Vineyard Syrah  |  Santa Barbara, California

7 |  2011 Gerhard Aldinger Untertürkheimer Gips Riesling Trocken  |  Württemberg, Germany

8 |  2010 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose  |  Provence, France

9 |  2005 Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spätlese  |  Rheingau, Germany

10 | Clos Saron Syrah blend  |  Sierra Foothills, California

Part 2: Württemberg Riesling

In Stuttgart’s red light district, down a cobblestone road strewn with prostitutes and men huddled in the doorways of kitschy bars, lies an upscale restaurant and wine bar. Those who stumble into it after a lively night, and locals who frequent the restaurant, are fortunate to know it exists.

I was lucky enough to be taken here, and was introduced to an exceptional riesling. The wine is from Württemberg, Bavaria, and it’s a dry white wine with exceptional minerality and fruit characteristics.

2011 Weingut Gerhard Aldinger Untertürkheimer Gips Rieslin Ttrocken, Württemberg, Germany

While some prefer a sweeter style of Riesling, this dry, or, trocken style is my preference. It maintains the natural characteristics of the wine – mineralality, stone fruit, chalk.

As Riesling becomes more popular in the new world style wines, some winemakers have begun to add sugar to their processes. If you’ve read my blog about Sancerre, you may be able to pick up on a pattern here. To each his own, but don’t disregard Riesling based on the generalization and fallacy that it is merely an exceptionally sweet desert wine.

If you have the chance to enjoy a German Riesling, look for the classifications on the wine label, it indicates a wine that is dry (trocken) rather than off-dry (halbtrocken), sweeter (lieblich) or sweet (süß).

Part 1: Why to taste wine in Germany

Bewilderment gleamed on the faces of those to whom I explained my plan of traveling to Germany for the wine.

“Wine?” They scoffed in disapproval “you should be going for the beer!”, they declared.

While the beer was amazing, my true passion, and what I dream of perfecting  (which initially has obviously been in the loosest sense of the word) is wine.  This is the first of a few ramblings of my experience, which to summarize, was amazing.

A friend who has been especially supportive through my wine and writing endeavor recently shared his dream with me after several months of traveling, having taken a break from the film industry.

“I want to cook”, he says matter-of-factly.  While this was the first I’d heard of his passion, let alone his ability to cook, I fully expose my self-absorption.

I pompously replied,  “Have you been schooled?  Do you know how to use knives?”

He was quick with his rebuttal, “did you go to wine school?”

I laugh audibly as I’m replying to his Facebook message.  “Yes, not formally though” I exclaimed, thinking back to the countless hours I spent on ‘self study’ including tasting, hosting and learning from sommeliers and winemakers alike.

Touché, I thought.  Well played.

So here begins a recap of my journey through Germany, from the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany through the Bavarian Forest (pictured), down through Regensburg where the Danube river flows, to the Bavarian capital of München.

Stuttgart was my first stop.  Among riesling, and other Trocken white wines, to those bottled in the traditional Franconian Bocksbeutel, I glimpsed a view of a wine culture many do not see.