The date of picking the first grapes of the season is one of the most important decisions to make in wine. Pick too early and you’ll have mouth stripping acidity and no flavour, too late and you’ll have a mouth full of syrup and be gasping for a glass of water. Generations of winemakers, through a bit of science and a lot of trial and error, have come up with regional guesstimates of when you should start, but this year is very different. Just ask the Germans.
The German Wine Institute have released their intention to start picking their early ripeners by this weekend. That’s right folks, the 3rdof August! That’s nearly a month before they’d usually start. And it’s all down to the heatwave that’s held Europe in its grip for the last few weeks.
Ah those beautiful compound words. Loads of people give the German language quite a bit of grief, but I think it sounds great. They have this thing where they compound smaller words together to make one massive word that sounds delicious when you nail it.
At the recent Wines of Germany tasting I learnt a new one: “WEINSCHLAFWAGEN”. It’s a “wine, sleep, car”, and it’s a brilliant idea to increase wine tourism down one of the epic German wine rivers.
Jens Windisch, top winemaker, accident prone snowboarder!
Bog standard Pinot Grigio. It’s cheap, refreshing, inoffensive, and…did I mention cheap? It’s boring for UK wine drinkers and it’s bad for proper Pinot Grigio producers. Infact it’s only really good for the organized crime who produce it in bulk and ship it over. Not sure I’m meant to say that out loud?! Well, I was down at the Wines of Germany tasting this week, and maybe they’ve got something up their sleeve that can help out.
After a quick break for lunch it was onto the second master class of the day down at the ABS Wines tasting day. Anne Krebiehl, Master of Wine, chaired the panel of winemakers made up of the great and the good of German red wine production. This was all about why German reds deserve their time in the spotlight!
Last week marked my first full week back in Blighty after the summer shenanigans across France and Italy. For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen that the week was chock full of admin and accounting. Being the complete geek that I am, I love to get stuff done like that. As much as I’m nursing a ridiculous amount of paper cuts, it was a good job done. But I still managed to get some good stuff done.
Right ladies and gents, here’s the first thoughts on a mixed case that was sent to me to have a try of by the fine folks at Lidl.
Thanks so much to everyone for the suggestions yesterday. I’ve managed to cut it down to a final five shoot out for what we’re going to pick from. Please use the poll below to vote. The candidates are…
Alsace is absolutely stunning. For anyone who hasn’t been, find an excuse and go. You’ve got the steep Vosges Mountains right next to the Rhine River basin, which leads to stunning natural scenery, old school Franco-Germanic architecture making it look like a Disney set, and of course a load of fantastic wines!
This week could have been about anything really. I was half thinking of doing non-alcoholic cocktails, or maybe the soft drinks, but no, I decided to stick with trying out non-alcoholic wines instead. I’ve never had any before, so seemed like a great time to learn about the how’s and why’s of this stuff.
Now then, here’s a tricky one to judge. I’ve drunk so much Riesling in the past that it’s never gonna happen now for me to be able to try a German Riesling without holding it up in the same light as the ones I’ve had before.