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An Introduction to Germany by Alex Johnson

Posted on 18th September 2019 by JN Wine

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An Introduction to Germany by Alex Johnson

An Introduction to Germany by Alex Johnson

The wines of Germany have been unfairly maligned and often ignored altogether by some wine drinkers in the UK and Ireland in recent decades. The hangover of cheap, uninspiring, semi-sweet plonk that proliferated in the 1970s and 80s has left a somewhat sickly taste in the mouth of many, resulting in a broad tarring of German wines as a whole with the same unfortunate brush. This hasn’t been helped either by their often difficult-to-interpret labels, names and system of classification which has become so esoteric that even wine professionals find it difficult to navigate through. Slowly but surely however wine drinkers are waking up to the reality that Germany is producing not only some of the best white wine in the world (both unctuously ‘fruity’ – ‘sweet’ is a forbidden word in German wine circles! – and refreshingly dry) but some of the best red wines too, with German Pinot Noir (called Spätburgunder) consistently biting at the heels of Burgundy in terms of quality and almost always eclipsing it in terms of value-for-money.



My Experience of Germany

While visiting some of our producers in late June, I  had my eyes and taste buds well and truly opened to the true splendour and potential of German wine. After being completely blown away by the quality of wine, the majesty of the terroir and the hospitality and passion of the winemakers, I returned home determined to communicate the story of these undervalued wines to JN customers.


In the Vineyard at Donnhoff


Below is a selection of white, red and rosé wines from each of the German producers that we stock here at JN – two thirds of which I visited personally in the aforementioned trip. This includes a broad cross-section of styles and winemaking traditions, showcasing both the traditional side of German wine as well as the more modern, international style that has come about as a response to the challenges of consumer perception faced by winemakers in recent times.

We hope you’ll enjoy the selection and that some of you may even discover some new favourites as a result. For those still unsure I suggest that sometimes the most joy in wine can be derived from having your biases challenged, as the thrill of surprise and exceeded expectations greatly surpasses that of banking consistently on the same-old. Don’t take my word for it though, I’ll let the wines do the talking…


The case


An Introduction to Germany


Donnhoff Riesling QBA Dry 2018

“From volcanic soils the (Estate) Riesling Trocken is lovely, pure, refined and mineral on the nose, displaying ripe white fruit aromas and crushed stone flavors. On the palate, this is a tension-filled, lovely, juicy and intense Riesling of great elegance, lightness and finesse. “This is a typical Riesling from this part of the Nahe valley and it’s far too good for an Estate Riesling,” says Helmut Dönnhoff. The grapes are from south/southeast-facing vineyards (Oberhausen, Felsenberg and Kieselberg) and ripen later, sometimes they are picked pretty late–about in the middle of the main harvest. But, there are parts that are picked in the very end. This is a gorgeous Riesling and the best Estate Riesling I have ever tasted here. 90 Points.”

Stephen Reinhardt, eRobertparker.com, December 2016 – commentating on the 2015 release


Dr Loosen Estate Riesling 2016

“A dusting of pollen and saffron accentuates this bright, sunny Riesling full of peach and nectarine flavors. Off dry in style, it’s juicy and thirst quenching, but thoroughly four-square in structure, bolstered by a foundation of fresh, revitalizing acidity. 88 Points.”

Anna Lee C. Iijima, Wine Enthusiast, April 2016


Weingut Korrell Weisser Burgunder 2016

“New and exclusive wines here in Ireland and at last in James Nicholson Wine. We have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new range from Weingut Korrell ever since tasting them earlier in the year. Needless to say, we were all blown away by the quality, elegance and intensity these beautiful wines possess.

A delicate and lively pinot blanc with beautifully balanced sweet/acid interplay. On the nose, a flowery, fine scent of yellow fruits such as pear and vine peach leaps forth.

Food recommendation: Ideal for asparagus dishes, light summer salads or shellfish.”

James Nicholson Taste Team, April 2017


Weingut Salwey Spätburgunder Rosé 2016

“With this rosé the whole grapes are pressed after a short mashing time. On the nose, fine strawberry fruit, a touch of plum and some smokiness – a serious rosé with an animated nose. On the palate; crisp and dry with great freshness, very balanced, soft structure, a charmer with a lot of fruit on the palate, strawberry again, plus some yogurt, crunchy, the next sip beckons.”

Konrad Salwey, FALSTAFF WineTrophy German Winemaker of the Year 2017


Villa Wolf Pinot Noir 2017

“Luscious, sun-ripened blackberries and cherries are boldly concentrated in this easy drinking but elegantly composed Pinot Noir. Fresh acidity and fine-grained, pleasantly bitter tannins make it an approachable introduction to German Pinot with a gentle price tag. Drink now through 2020. 90 Points – Best Buy.”

Anna Lee C. Iijima, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Jan 2017


Furst Pinot Noir Spatburgunder Tradition 2017

“Released November 2017. Very pale, slightly greyish garnet. Spicy nose. Ripe rather than ethereal but very solid with some tannin. Slightly dry finish. 16/20 points. Drink 2019 – 2022.”

Jancis Robinson MW, www.jancisrobinson.com, 26 Mar 2018


The Introduction to Germany case is available as a case of 6 for £91.00 and as a case of 12 for £167.00.

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