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.
20 years ago, “natural wine” was the freaky stuff drunk after-hours in Williamsburg and the East Village. Today, collectors around the world chase bottles of natural wine as passionately as DRC – and pay top dollar for some of them.
Where did natural wine come from, and how did it spread so far and so fast?
In a word: Beaujolais!
The Beaujolais wine region is not small, but it isn’t too complicated either, and it’s definitely easier to understand than many French regions like Burgundy or the Rhône. The first thing to understand is that the wines of Beaujolais are divided into three in three Classifications: Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, and Beaujolais Crus.
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.