With summer in full force, we as wine drinkers tend to look for lighter bodied and crisper wines to help beat the heat and enjoy the long sunshine filled days. The problem for some is that they don’t know where to look to find such a wine. With so many options from so many different places it can be hard to pinpoint an area or style that fits this need. For me, when I’m looking for a wine in this style the first place that always pops into mind is Germany.
Germany has long been known for its Rieslings which consistently show great, lively acidity and stunning minerality, making them perfect for a summer day. Less well known however, are the excellent wines being produced in Germany today not featuring the Riesling grape. Dry, crisp, aromatic varietals such as Scheurebe, Pinot Gris and Silvaner all are vinified with great success today in Germany, and make fantastic wines to enjoy under the summer sun or as a light, refreshing aperitif with dinner.
A very nice example of this is the 2013 Pfeffingen Dry Scheurebe. This wine shows fantastic balance, with strong minerality as well as expressive aromatic fruitiness. This accessible white is sure to be a crowd pleaser, and at $15.99, makes a great wine for any occasion. Another wine worth taking note of is the 2012 Schloss Hallburg Pinot Gris ($17.99). This crisp, dry white wine has lively acidity and subtle notes of citrus and stone fruits, making it a perfect gateway wine between easy drinking, more neutral white wines and very expressive and aromatic varietals.
As summer days turn into summer nights, and friends and family gather around the table for dinner, it is sometimes necessary to open something a little darker. I have discovered that for these occasions, a nice German Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) does the trick. Though not as well known as Burgundy, California or Oregon for producing high quality Pinots, recent vintages have shown that Germany is every bit as capable of producing red wines of the utmost sophistication. A fine example of this is the 2012 Meyer-Nakel Spatburgunder ($49.99). Grown in the mineral heavy soils of Ahr, this Pinot Noir shows all of the delicate earthy, mineral qualities one would expect to find in a high level red Burgundy, while still achieving pleasant fruit character.
James M., Beltramo’s Wine Consultant