‘It’s not so hard making wine – the real difficulty is selling it,’ goes the wine industry adage. There’s a lot of truth in that statement, of course, which is why the ‘Get It On’ tasting is so important for German wine producers without a UK importer. Wines seeking distribution are paired with importers who are looking for a German wine and the hope is that they end up ‘Makin’ Whoopee’. Since Wines of Germany has been running this wine tasting version of Blind Date, there have been 45 unrepresented German wine distributors who have found a UK importer. David Kermode was at the latest tasting and picks out the wines that he thought should no longer ‘be single’.
Get It On has only been running for six years but the success rate has been amazing, writes Kermode; many of the wines he tipped for success at last year’s tasting are now available in the UK.
If dating is all about the thrill of the chase, then Wines of Germany should be applauded for continuing to keep us keen.
Each year, the ‘Get It On’ tasting showcases a room full of ‘lonely hearts’, in bottle form, looking longingly at us from the trestle tables, in the hope of finding the right partner. As matchmakers go, Wines of Germany could give the late Cilla Black a run for her money: since the campaign began six years ago, 45 producers have found listings in the UK market, as a result of this not-so-blind date. ‘Our Graham’ would be impressed.
Glancing through the wines I featured in my top 10 last year, it’s really gratifying to see that a number of those I selected are now available in the British market, including the excellent Weingut Frey, taken on by the newly-formed Graft Wine Company.
Almost a hundred unsigned producers entered this year, with the wines whittled down by a panel of industry buyers, tasting blind. Each producer was then invited to submit two further wines, resulting in a total of 130 being offered for the day-long tasting at Chinatown’s Moonchu Hall.
The wines were showcased in categories, based on variety and price. A final table was dedicated to the unrepresented contenders from Wines of Germany’s ‘Top of the Crops’ campaign earlier this year. ‘Get it on’ was also about selling sekt. Although lacking a Pet Nat this year, there appeared to be a broader selection of sparkling wines on show, some of them really impressive at the price.
David Kermode’s Top 10: (all prices are ex cellars, in Euros)
Winterling 2017 Blanc de Blancs Brut Crémant (€6.95), produced by Anne and Martin Winterling in Pfalz. Organic, biodynamic and vegan, with just over 6 grammes of residual sugar, this is a creamy crowd pleaser, with fresh red apple, apricot and toasted hazelnuts. I also enjoyed the couple’s Winterling 2017 Fleur de Rosé Brut Crémant (€7.80), a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Elegant and lean, at 3.6 grammes residual sugar, with notes of Alpine strawberries and puff pastry.
Although probably a touch austere for some, Josef Köhr 2018 Winzersekt Brut Nature Riesling (€5.57) had the thrill factor of an ice bath after a sauna, with its vibrant mousse, lemon pith and green apple freshness. A perfect partner for smoked salmon blinis.
Completing a pretty stellar sparkling line-up, Bamberger 2015 Cuvée Pinot (€7.54), a combination of Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc from Nahe, offering a structured mix of lemon shortbread, ripe golden delicious apple and gentle nuttiness, leading to a long, satisfying finish.
From the Pinot Gris selection, Espenhof/Nico Espenschied 2018 Grauburgunder Herz + Hand (“heart and hand”) (€6.47) with reductive, struck match notes leading into toasty citrus, ripe greengage and pear. This was rich, rewarding and relatively unusual.
Hemberger was the only name I recognised from last year’s tasting, suggesting the wines are still searching for the right partner. Hemberger 2018 Silvaner (€4.12) deserves to be on a proper shelf, not a metaphorical one, as it is good value, offering bruised apple, ripe grapefruit and white pepper around a firm core of acidity.
Although Wines of Germany has enjoyed success with its efforts to promote Riesling, there is plenty more available to the UK market. At the value end, Lisa Bunn 2018 Orbel Riesling (€5.99) delivers real zip, with crisp lean citrus and green apple freshness, it’s a good ‘by the glass’ option. At the higher end, Haack 2016 Dorsheimer Pittermännchen Riesling (€11.18) was a serious standout for me, delivering that wonderful ethereal quality that the best Riesling can. Intense, aromatic and focused, with invigorating lime zest, wet slate and mountain herbs. From the ‘Top of the Crops’ selection, Weingut Trossen 2017 Royal Riesling Herb (€7.35) had refreshing yet ripe citrus, golden apple and subtle herbal notes with a tingling tension.
If I’m honest, I found some of the reds a bit clumsy this year, with alcohol levels out of step, but I really enjoyed Altes Schlößchen Ludwig Schneider 2017 Spätburgunder Elegance (€4.85), a pale, perfumed delight, with lifted red cherry and raspberry and a touch of talc. It’s a light, fragrant, relatively simple wine, but I was smitten.
David Kermode is a consultant, wine presenter, writer and broadcaster with his own website vinosaurus.co.uk