When you hear “German wine,” what comes to mind?
For many it means “Riesling, white wines, sweet.” With the help of VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) and their 100th anniversary celebration, we aimed to better understand what German wines are all about.
The roster: 200 of Germany’s best wineries. The backdrop: 70 of Berlin’s trendiest art galleries. For a taste of German wine tradition and Berlin art gallery style, take a spin around the panorama below.
Yes, those are stuffed birds dangling from the ceiling.
360-Degree Panorama: Tasting German Wines at me Collectors Room in Berlin’s Mitte Neighborhood
As I hopped back on the German wine learning curve, I reflected on my admittedly limited experience: a full-semester wine course at university, during which German wines were covered in two or three classes. I remembered tidbits of the intricacies of Germany’s wine classification system and ripeness scale.
Sure, German wines made an impression on me back then. But relative to the messaging and marketing from other wine growing regions around the world, German wines had to battle misconceptions: light, sweet, often expensive, with difficult to comprehend labels.
High in specificity, low in accessibility. Like many others, I usually gravitated to anywhere but the German wine section at the local wine shop.
That’s why this event served as a real palate-opener. German whites are crisp and often feature a beautiful acidity. They are fresh but complex, and certainly not universally flat. German varietals like Riesling and Silvaner and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) are not only different from one another, but their style and interpretation in Germany is distinct from elsewhere in Europe and around the world. And while German whites usually get all the press, we learned this weekend that German reds are no slouches either. There’s tough competition from their French counterparts next door, but my experience so far only makes me want to learn more.
As with understanding anything, appreciating German wine is a process. I feel like we are just onto something. This is only the beginning.