Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Local Stuttgart Wine - Spätburgunder

Today's post is about something that's very close to my heart: WINE!!! Woohoo!

Before moving to Germany, my opinion of German wines was, well, not too good. The reality, though, was that I didn't ever have much of it but what I did try was too sweet for my taste, which tends towards very dry reds and whites. I usually tell people that I want to be more thirsty after drinking the wine than I was when I started!

Living in both California and Spain has given me the opportunity to try lots of different wines and my favorites for sure are Pinot Noir (mostly California) and Pinot Grigio (mostly Italy). I even wrote a homage to California Pinot Noir a while back! When I got to Stuttgart I was surprised to find vineyards lining the hills around the city so I immediately set to work figuring out what the local wines were and making sure to.Try.Every.Single.One...

The two common wines from the Baden Württemberg area are Trollinger and Lemberger. They are available at pretty much every restaurant and festival including the annual Stuttgarter Weindorf.

A bottle of Lemberger and another of a Dornfelder/Spätburgunder blend:

The most common local wine is called Trollinger, which is a dark-red wine that's often used in wine blending.  It's (just) okay in my opinion, in other words, there are better. Lemberger, the other, in my non-technical-wine-vocabulary view, is one of those multipurpose wines that can range from sweeter to dryer, hearty to light, and so on. I've tried quite a few and really am not a fan.

Don't think that it's all doom and gloom at southern-Germany wine tastings though. Quite the opposite! What I found, quite by accident when my roommate brought home a bottle that had been given to him as a gift, is called Spätburgunder:

Spätburgunder is a Pinot Noir grown in Germany. Like the California Pinot Noirs that I love, love, love, Spätburgunder is now among the wines at the top of my list. The four bottles above range in price from around 5 euros (~$7 U.S.) up to around 9 euros or so. It's not expensive but it sure is oh-so-good! Oh, and the second from the left, a Pinot Noir from the Collegium Württemburg winery (see this story I wrote for photos from their winery) is now one of my two or three favorite wines for under $10.

So, what have we learned? Well, yes, German wines, are, on average, still a bit sweet for my taste but I'm no longer hesitant to check out the German section at the store and neither should you. On your next trip to Trader Joes, take a look for some Stuttgart-area Spätburgunder, buy a bottle, and have a drink for me! You won't be sorry!

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