German Wine & Fruit

Food & Drink - September 2nd, 2010
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by J.K. Whelehan

The pairing of German wine with chocolate or cake is often talked about, but this is a little too heavy in the last throes of summer heat, especially so when you have eaten a heavy dinner or a multiple course meal. Indeed these magical combination may also seem more forbidding as we still don our revealing summer wear!

A healthy alternative is the marriage of German wine with fruit. Below are some tried and tested combinations, however the fun of wine and food matching is in the exploration and discovery, therefore make sure to try pairing with other fruits (don’t forget dried fruits with the very sweet wines).

August Kesseler Riesling “R” with new summer orange: New summer orange, symbolic of the season, has a very beautiful color. Its acidity and sweetness can be paired perfectly with those of R from August Kesseler. In addition, the wine’s rich texture is in harmony with the orange, placing the fruit flavors on a pedestal on the palate.

Schlossgut Diel Burg Layer Q.b.A. with mango: When you put both the wine and the fruit in the mouth, the sweetness and acidity create a form of synergy, increasing the complexity of both. The match will give you an impression that the flavors are bursting out, forming a contrast rather than harmonizing meekly. You will experience a lively, three-dimensional flavor structure. If you were to compare this match to art, one would be inclined to describe it more as modern than classical.

The trick when you are pairing is to note and match the sweetness and acidity of wines with those of the fruits. In other words, match those with comparable or compensating levels. In addition, try to match wines with specific fruit nuances to the fruit.

It’s also worth noting that sweetness levels of German wines tend to increase in correspondence with their grade, starting with QbA and Kabinett, then Spätlese and Auslese, and all the way up to the very sweet Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. The latter is my favorite with sweet ripe strawberries, though you may need the addition of some condensed milk to balance the flavors. German wines in green bottles (from the Mosel) will tend to have a higher acidity.

While you may enjoy the synergy of the above, best of all is how the alcohol and sun become a less heady combination, as these wines with their typically low alcohol will put a glide in your stride but keep your feet on the ground.

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German wines