Autumn brings cooler weather and changes in how we entertain ourselves and guests. It’s also the time to start looking at more desert and party wines for the coming holiday tables. I have to preface this with an admission that I am not much of an alcohol consumer. That said… I love dessert wines.
ALDI imported some wonderful wines a couple of years ago (yes, I am just now getting around to posting them) which necessitated a bit of a study on German wines. Tastes tests come first! The Reisling from Landshut is fantastic and my staple wine for cooking and consuming. Then there was this beauty right here from the Jacob Einig winery.
The Einig-Zenzen Familie has been producing wines in the Rhienhessen region since 1639. The Rheinhessen is the largest of 13 growing regions in Germany, located on the Rhine’s left bank just a bit north of the city of Worms in the Rhineland-Palatinate. By it’s name one would think that it lies in the region of Hesse but that hasn’t been the case since the end of WWII.
The local climate in the region is conducive to white wine production from a large variety of grapes, Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Silvaner being the best known and Gewurztraminer which is building a bigger audience. In northern Michigan this variety is gaining in popularity with the white variety’s expansion. I haven’t any numbers on bottles sold I only know that when people are talking white wine they are talking Rieslings and Gewurztraminer in the same sentence. That has to be a good thing, right?
The wiki article on German wines from this region credits a single brand with destroying the reputation of, and eroding the market for, German wines. My own experience with Liebfraumilch as a youth leads me to believe that this is not an exaggeration. Though I would love for someone to prove everyone wrong given the wonderful experiences I’ve had with German wine. The 1921 brand Blue Nun seems to have been the most notorius in this regard. The bottle my mother kept as a testament to a fading culture stands as a memory that is rancid, bitter and without traces of any fruit. The wine was produced by monks associated with the Liebfraukirche in Worms, Martin Luther’s pulpit. The label, as I recall, very much reflects that history.
But I digress, the region today produces some wonderful wines. The best known is Riesling and then further down the list the Gewurztraminer, as I said. More information can be found here. This bottle of Auslese came in two years ago. I keep looking but we haven’t had any since.
Auslese is simply a late harvest. The flavors are crisp and you can almost taste a kiss of frost in the bottle. Strictly a dessert wine, it will get lost with strong meat selections so I wouldn’t pare this with a roast or anything with gravy. A vegetarian selection or a cheese tray will let you savor this one. Truly, I loved this with just a simple cake and some fruit.
One step in the chain above an auslese is the Eiswein. Those grapes and fruits have definitely tasted frost. And they are produced in limited quantities. It is my understanding that the Eisweins and late harvest are becoming quite rare due to the overly mild German winters. If anyone over there knows something different, please, feel free to comment.
Specialty wines from Germany are so rare that I have not had the heart to open the St. Georges waiting in the wings. I am afraid, as was the case with the Einig, that once it is consumed I will fall in love with it and it will never come again.