Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) - A powerful Pinot

 

Known as Pinot Gris in France and Pinot Grigio in Italy, Grauburgunder is also synonymous with Ruländer, a name derived from an early proponent of the variety, a merchant from Speyer named Johann Ruland. Today, Ruländer denotes the richer, fuller-bodied, more fragrant and sweeter-style wines made from this grape, while the sleeker, drier and more food-compatible versions - occasionally aged in small oak (Barrique) casks - are labeled Grauburgunder. Regardless of name, it is powerful, mouth-filling white wine, with a relatively round acidity. Its bouquet hints of fresh butter or nuts or a spectrum of fruits (pineapple, citrus, dried fruit), with a vegetal undertone. Grauburgunder is substantial enough to pair with full-flavored foods, such as saltwater fish, lamb and young game. Pungent cheese, such as blue or Münster, or desserts made with honey or almonds are with a golden, ripe Ruländer.

Kerner - A Swabian success story

The namesake of this highly successful white grape variety is the 19th-century Swabian poet physician Justinus Kerner, who wrote drinking songs in his spare time. Although it was bred in 1929 in Württemberg, it wasn't until the seventies that Kerner began to soar in popularity with growers and consumers alike. A crossing of the red variety Trollinger and the white variety Riesling, Kerner is prized for its Riesling traits: fresh acidity and rich, fruity character. The wines are often more fragrant than Riesling, and sometimes have a light candied tone or a hint of Muscat. Young, hearty Kerner wines are great to quaff on their own or to serve with fish or vegetable terrines, salads and light meats. Richer, riper versions are delicious with poultry or meat in a fruit sauce. Thanks to its frost resistance, reliable yields, and ability to thrive even in average sites, Kerner is cultivated in all German wine regions.

Scheurebe - A spicy delight

 

The Rheinhessen vine breeder Georg Scheu (pronounced "shoy") lent his name to this successful white crossing of Silvaner and Riesling dating from 1916. Today, Scheurebe numbers among the top ten varietals of Germany. Ripeness is essential to bring forth its characteristic bouquet reminiscent of black currants or grapefruit and its fine, spicy undertones. It is prized as a versatile wine, produced in several styles and various ripeness levels that offer a harmonious interplay of refreshing acidity and natural fruit flavour. A dry Scheurebe wine is a delicious sipping wine for an evening get-together, while those with some sweetness are remarkable for their ability to enhance and refine the exotic spices and aromas of Asian cuisine. The rich, sweet dessert wine versions are superb with fruit-based desserts and blue-veined cheese. These are long-lived wines that develop aromas redolent of peaches or roses as they mature.

Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) - An elegant dinner partner

Aside from the fact that it is part of the Burgunder (Pinot) family of grapes and a descendant of Spätburgunder and Grauburgunder, little is known about the origin of this ancient white variety. Traditional, food-compatible varietals are in vogue; as such, the number of Pinot plantings, white and red, is increasing in all regions. Weissburgunder wines are medium- to full-bodied, yet generally racier and more neutral aroma and taste than Grauburgunder. Its bouquet can be reminiscent of nuts, fresh pineapple, apricots or citrus fruits. Elegant Weissburgunder wines, with their refreshing acidity and fine fruitiness, are excellent dinner partners. Drier styles go well with light meats, poultry and seafood, while richer versions and/or those aged in small oak (Barrique) casks harmonize well with the more intense flavors of lamb and young game.

Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) - A classic for wine lovers

Wine lovers all agree that Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is truly a classic among red wines. As the name implies, this ancient and noble variety originated in Burgundy; it was introduced into Germany in the Middle Ages. In all, it is Germany´s finest and foremost red wine grape, yielding mouth-filling, velvety smooth wines with a slightly sweet, fruity aroma that hints of blackberries, cherries, strawberries or raspberries. Traditional German Spätburgunders are light-to medium-red, with a fruity, rather than tannic, acidity. Parallel to this style are contemporary versions of a more international character, i.e. with more colour and tannic, and often, the vanilla tone that is typical of wines aged in small oak (Barrique) casks. At the table, Spätburgunder pairs well with rich, flavorful foods, such as elegant roasts and game. Spätburgunder Weissherbst, a rosé, is a delicious alternative for light meats.

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