Life Beyond Liebfraumilch!
In 1977, after two years in Bordeaux, I headed for Germany’s state wine domain, Hessen, in
the Rheingau, also studying winemaking at the Geisenheim Institute. I had grown up with Sichel’s Blue Nun, possibly the best known Liebfraumilch brand. It seemed omnipresent in the Claridge household - though my mother didn’t literally bath in it! A generic Rhine wine, Liebfraumilch was easy to drink, medium/medium sweet, fruity, light in alcohol and inexpensive.
Back then all you needed to know about German wine was that Hock came in brown bottles and was sweeter and higher in alcohol, while Moselle - in green bottles - was fruitier and sometimes as low as 7.5% alc/vol. Supermarkets could not sell enough Liebfraumilch. How times have changed.
Anne Krebiehl MW (Master of Wine) in a recent article for ‘The Drinks Business’ said: “Germany is now showing consumers a more diverse wine offering, and British drinkers are happily following. Sales of German wines are on the increase in all categories above £7.00. There is real excitement driven by young winemakers”.
In the Rheingau, Riesling (pronounced Reeceling), remains king having originated there in 1435. It is an extremely versatile grape variety, producing great dry (trocken), medium, sweet, and very sweet wines of the highest quality. Moselle, the coolest German wine region, produces very distinctive, low alcohol styles, with high acidity and green-apple freshness and a hint of honey, making great aperitifs on a hot day.
For more information look at the Wines of Germany website www.winesofgermany.co.uk with details of the various regions and wine styles, where to buy, and tastings around the UK. Or see www.owloeb.co.uk IWC German Wine Merchant of the Year 2011/2. They have a wonderful range of wines. Ask for Chris Davey. Prost!
Next month ... drinking responsibly.
In vino veritas.
Tracy Claridge TLClaridge@TLClaridge.co.uk