Get It On was a one-day tasting organised by Wines of Germany to showcase 40 winemakers who have yet to get representation in the UK. Victor Smart tasted the wines and was surprised to find such quality and variety amongst winemakers who have been making wine for centuries and those who have just set up shop.
The message was ‘stylish and modern’ at the one day Get It On tasting of lesser-known German wines
No one can say that German wines are little known on these shores. Brits have been swigging hock for centuries and several inferior German wines (I shan’t mention the brands) have been been heavily marketed in supermarkets here for decades. So it comes as a bit of surprise that there are so many decent German wines looking for a UK importer.
Wines of Germany have set about correcting this with a marketing programme that included a day-long tasting in London called Get It On, where the attributes of these lesser-known, sometimes adventurous, wines could be savoured.
The venue was a gallery in London’s Charlotte Street, the Darren Baker Gallery – stylish and modern, there is a message there.
So how many wines are there and how are they chosen?
For the last two years Wines of Germany has been inviting German producers seeking UK representation to enter their best wine to a blind tasting judged by German wine specialists and ambassadors. The best wines from around 40 winemakers are available for sampling, and for good measure each winemaker is invited to bring along another example of their range.
As the debutantes wines are arranged around the gallery’s wall by region, the tasting becomes a tour of the country’s nine wine growing areas from Saxony to Württemberg.
There are one or two surprises. The family-owned Weingut werk2 winery in Rheingau, for example, offers up the 2015 Riesling Pearl. It’s one of the only sparklers that are on show with an abv of 12.5 per cent and an ex-cellar price of €7.50, and has a real fizz to it.
Clearly much effort has gone into striking label designs, with Baden’s Weingut Heitlinger showing the way in terms of elegance. Its 2014 Riesling GG, Schellenbrunnen is one of the most expensive wines with a €24 a bottle ex-cellar price tag, though much of its good balance and fine structure are also to be found in the cheaper 2015 Weissburgunder at around a third of the price.
Some of the wines flaunt labels that are not just modern but downright mischievous, notably the two wines from Weingut Weinmann, a newish winery from Rheinhessen.
Its two offerings on display are the 2015 Grauburgunder trocken and the 2015 Heroldrebe feinherb, Pink Hero. Neither the white nor the rosé is totally memorable but at €3.95 a bottle ex-cellar the whimsy of the labels (and shocking pink of the Pink Hero) is enough of a talking point.
Once upon a time Brits used rather lazily to associate all German white wines with Riesling. And it is true that the grape is well represented. For some of the producers Riesling is seen as ‘a very special grape’.
Take the Dr Corvers-Kauter winery. It sees its aim as “enabling Riesling to reach its fullest and truest form – the inner energy of each vineyard is passed on to the favour of the wine.” But there are plenty of other varieties such as Lemberger, Spätburgunder, Weissburgunder, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Dautel winery, a small family business in Württemberg founded in 1510, offers its 2015 Weissburgunder with an abv of 13 per cent at just €4.5 a bottle.
The heavy loam soils contribute to the full body. For those with deeper pockets and still more discerning palates there is also Dautel’s 2015 Weissburgunder S. That raises the abv up by half a per cent, puts €9 on the price and a discreet ‘S’ on the label. It is a standout wine, however, that is one of the highlights of the tasting.
If you are simply looking for a good honest white you could do worse than stick with a Riesling from Mosel The newish Franz Dahm winery offers the 2012 Riesling, Layengold at €4.8 ex-cellar and the 2005 Riesling Auslese, Bernkasteler Badstube at just under €10. These are concentrated fruity wines, with a slight steely, mineral taste that will appeal to both the adventurous taster and punters looking for what they see as ‘traditional’ German wine.