08/03/11 – German whites for summer nights

By Jesse on August 1, 2011

It’s been hot the past few days. It will continue to be hot for the next few days — and weeks, and months, in all likelihood. When the weather’s hot, the wine ought to be cold, and none of the world’s wines display their character so beautifully when cold than those of Germany. This Wednesday evening, let’s cool off with a few bottles of chilly German white.

Our meeting this week will be hosted by the lovely Andrea, who’s made no bones about her unadulterated love for Riesling, particularly of the German persuasion. Riesling from Germany is noted for its finesse and clarity, and it runs the gamut from dry to sweet (the Germans have a system called Prädikat for assigning “sweetness” ratings to their wine… if your bottle says “Kabinett,” that’s a drier version, whereas “Spatlese” and “Auslese” indicate progressively higher levels of sweetness. Read more about it here).

But Riesling isn’t the only white grape that thrives in Germany’s minerally soils. You might also consider:

Silvaner: Germany’s most popular white grape until the late sixties, when it was overtaken by Riesling and Müller-Thurgau. Earthy and rustic.
Müller-Thurgau: Germany’s leading white grape during the seventies and eighties, it has since fallen out of fashion, but great examples can still be found.
Pinot Gris: called Graubergunder by the Germans, this is a classic Alsace varietal that thrives in Germany’s cool climate
Scheurebe: previously thought to be a genetic cross of Riesling and Silvaner, Scheurebe has recently been proven to have resulted from a cross between Riesling and a wild, unknown German varietal. Scandal! Intrigue! (And it’s also really tasty.)

Please bring any bottle of German white wine. (Even Liebfraumilch, that long-derided blended white so often a fixture at German restaurants, would be acceptable.) Big props all around if you bring something weird and obscure! As always, but especially for this meeting, please make sure your bottle is chilled.

If you prefer to bring a $10 no-bottle donation, there ain’t no shame in that.

We’ll be meeting at Andrea’s place in North Hollywood. The RSVP system works like this: if you want in, simply select “will attend” on the right side of this page. On Wednesday, I’ll send you an e-mail with the address and additional info.