The defining characteristic of German wines are their bright, fresh and zippy acidity. The cool weather helps in this regard, but so does its grape varieties, matched over centuries with their best-suited site. The best way to intimately get to know German wines is to start here: with a crash course in some of the top subregions.
We set out to write this Flatiron Guide to German Wines to explain not just why the wine geeks go so nutty for all things Deutsch, and not just why German wines are among the best wines for the super-casual wine drinker. And not even why we are so deeply in love with them, ourselves.
No, we set out to explain why a German wine is the bottle you should take home tonight. You. Yes, you.
Few things are as exciting as realizing you are experiencing an undiscovered phenomenon. Like your cousin who was playing Nirvana tapes before they hit the radio, or the line cook flipping burgers next to Danny Meyer. You vibrate with the energy of the thing, you can’t wait for it to infect everyone else. You start passing out cassette tapes and inviting your friends out to dinner.
Today, that’s me and Burgenland.
The Wachau Valley is the epicenter of Austria’s greatest wines. In fact, to many wine consumers, the wines of the Wachau are the wines of Austria.
While that sentiment sells Austria short, ignoring many diverse and excellent wine regions, it’s not baseless. The Wachau’s vineyards, defined 1,000 years ago by local monks, are still recognized today for producing some of the world’s greatest white wines.
I adore Castiglione di Falletto because it is balanced. The best wines possess a regalness and composure that is only possible when you stray from the opposite ends of a spectrum and wander towards the happy middle.
Here you have wines that do have intense structure and aromas – of course, as this is Barolo! – but also poise.