Quick Recipes and Easy

I Love German Wine and Food – A Franconian Silvaner

If you are looking for fine German wine and food, consider the Franconia region of southeastern Germany. You may find a bargain, and I hope that you’ll have fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local Silvaner white wine.

Franconia is bordered by the Main River on the north and the Danube on the south.
It is named for a Germanic tribe known as the Franks, who also gave their name to France. After centuries of independence, the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815 made Franconia part of Bavaria in southern Germany.

Of the thirteen German wine regions, Franconia ranks number six in both acreage and total wine production. Unlike many other German wine regions, here the Riesling grape is not a major player. Over 85% of Franconian wine is white. The main grape varieties are Müller-Thurgau, a German hybrid, responsible for nearly half the local production of white wine and Silvaner, a grape also grown elsewhere in Germany, and in Austria, Switzerland, and Alsace, France. Many feel that the best Silvaner wines are grown in Franconia. About 40% of the region’s wine is middle-quality QbA wine, and nearly 60% is the higher quality QmP wine. Only about 0.5% of Franconian wine is table wine.

Do you like seeing the past? The Middle Ages trade route known as the Romantic Road with its castles and medieval churches, towns, and villages passes through Franconia. The city of Würzburg is the northernmost point of the Romantic Road. It is a medieval town jam packed with sites dating back several hundred years. For example, make sure to see the Alte Mainbrücke (Ancient Main Bridge), the Dom St. Kilian a Romanesque cathedral, Festung Marienberg (Marienberg Fortress) with the Marienkirche (Church of the Virgin Mary, this one dates back to approximately the year 700), the Mainfränkisches Museum (Main-Franconian Museum), and the Residenz where the local prince-bishops lived. You may also want to see the Bürgerspital (Almshouse) associated with the wine that we review below.

Before reviewing the Franconian wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to buy at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this gorgeous region.
Start with a Frankische Bratwurst (Franconian Roasted Sausage).
For your second course delight in Schüfela (Pork Shoulder with Potato Dumpling).
As a dessert indulge yourself with ApfelStrüdel (Apple Strudel).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are bought at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Burgerspital Zum Hl. Geist Silvaner Kabinett Trocken 2004 10.6% alcohol about $17

We’ll start by quoting the marketing materials. Let your guests know that this distinctively shaped bottle is known as a “bocksbeutel” and is native to the Franken region, not Portugal. With the trivia out of the way, you’re free to delight in this Silvaner’s slightly smoky aroma along with its floral, pear, apple and mineral notes. Medium full-bodied, its racy acidity gives it tremendous verve. Pair with freshwater fish such as bass or pike.

The first pairing was with leftover, reheated chicken in soy sauce with potatoes. The Silvaner was acidic; I could taste the smoke. The wine was quite nice, even more so after the chicken was finished. But I didn’t like this wine with dessert, thin biscuits containing almonds and pistachios.

The next time I opened the bocksbeutel was to accompany fried chicken breast strips, green beans, and rice. The wine was less acidic but had a not really pleasant taste. It was harsh. It was nearly, but not quite citrusy.

I then went to a slow cooked veal chop with potatoes and chick peas in a brown sauce, accompanied by a spicy Moroccan tomato salsa. I cannot believe what happened to this wine. It became round, quite long, and pleasantly acidic. The Silvaner tasted of limes and apples and went quite well with homemade biscotti type cookies.

My last meal paired this wine with a red pepper and mushroom omelet, accompanied by a commercial Greek eggplant side dish. The wine-omelet combination was a success. The wine was honestly long and showed fresh, if not racy, acidity. But, it flagged a bit when teamed with the acidic eggplant. And here come the cheeses.

My French Camembert is now overripe. And yet this wine was quite fascinating; it held its own, retaining its freshness without any aftertaste.

My German Limberger is starting to smell like a Limberger. The wine was nice, round, and fruity. Frankly (no pun intended) in both cases I liked the wine, but not the cheese.

Final Verdict. I never thought that I’d recommend purchasing a Silvaner wine. Live and learn. I am ready to buy this wine again, but would watch what I pair it with.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Presently his wine websites are theworldwidewine.com theworldwidewine.com and theitalianwineconnection.com theitalianwineconnection.com .

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