The Art of Pairing
Three things we’ve found can really benefit your food-wine pairing adventures: lower alcohol wines, higher acidity and… Riesling!
We had a chance to test our mindset with a pair of outstanding German wines: 2014 Burg Ravensburg Weissburgunder, Baden, and 2014 Kruger-Rumpf Munsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe. To boil down the German nomenclature, we had a 2014 Pinot Blanc from Baden and a 2014 Kabinett Riesling from the Nahe region.
A good rule of thumb to help determine the sweetness of a Riesling is to look at the alcohol content. Since fermentation takes sugar and converts it to alcohol, a higher alcohol content means more sugar has been converted and it isn’t as sweet. Conversely, a lower alcohol Riesling has a greater sugar content that hasn’t been converted to alcohol. It’s sweeter. Do remember that Riesling can be finished as a sweet dessert wine or bone dry. The versatility is what makes it one of the world’s great grapes.
Riesling is a classic pairing with turkey (ham as well). The Kruger-Rumpf has an alcohol content of 9% compared to a typical wine which might have 14%. As you surmise, it has a nice ripple of sweetness. This is a light, balanced wine with delicious fruit notes and notes of minerality. It will be appreciated by occasional wine drinkers as well as wine aficionados. At only about $20, this is an outstanding value.
What’s Up With Weissburgunder?
The Burg Ravensburg vineyards were first mentioned 1251, making them among the oldest in the world. The Burg Ravensburg Weissburgunder is a distinctive wine, somewhat more exotic than Pinot Gris. This wine threw me a curve ball. I had been expecting a sweeter glass. This was lower in sugar and alcohol and was offbeat enough that I refilled my glass at least a couple times trying to decipher it.
It has a nice rounded texture with notes of apple and perhaps nuttiness. It paired brilliantly with everything on my plate. It can be found for $20 or less and represents another great bargain.
German wines are a great choice for holiday events. They appeal to a wide spectrum of guests, pair well with a variety of festive meals, and do so without breaking the bank.
Full disclosure: We received these wines as marketing samples.