To many this is the “king of grapes”. Not many white wines have this incredible capability to age decades and to appear in a palate of styles. But, somehow it fell out of favour, potentially being associated with cheap sickly sweet German whites that were most often made from other grape varieties.
If you’re in that camp, I would encourage you to reconsider. German styles can have beautiful delicate blossom aromas, a zesty palate with crisp lime fruit, the typically low alcohol makes them quaffable and their gentle sweetness marries well with its crisp acidity. For those who like a visit to a petrol station you’ll love the perfume of how these wine age too. Look out for terms like Kabinett, Trocken or Erste Gewachs for drier styles.
And then you can branch out to its new world cousins. The bone dry styles of Australia, Eden or Clare Valley in particular are like lime bombs in comparison, with a gorgeous pineapple interior and refreshing acidity.
As a rule the wines with lower alcohol tend to have more residual sugar. Drier styles can be found in Alsace, Southern Germany, Austria, Australia, South Africa or Chile. Off dry styles are typical of Northern Germany, Washington State, New Zealand.
An aromatic grape, with natural high acidity that enables it to age. It has high levels of “extract” in the grape which means it can feel grippy in some styles. Typically unoaked with no malolactic fermentation to show its aromatics at their best. This also helps it to reflect the individual climates and soils in its flavour.
Grasevina (Croatia), Verdelho, Albarino, Vinho Verde
Germany: Mosel – Saar – Ruwer, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Baden
Austria: Wachau, Kamptal, Kremstal
Australia: Clare, Eden, Barossa Valleys
South Africa: Elgin, Walker Bay
Americas: Washington Estate, Oregon, Finger Lakes, New York State, Ontario
New Zealand: Marlborough, Central Otago
Chile: Bio Bio, Limari
Stir fries, Thai Green Curry, Pork, Raw fish