Quick Recipes and Easy

I Love German Wine and Food – A Pfalz Pinot Noir

If you are looking for fine German wine and food, consider the Pfalz region of southwestern 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 Pinot Noir.

The Pfalz is a narrow region about 80 kilometers long, close to the river Rhine. The Church owned the best vineyards until Napoleon redistributed them. There are about 25,000 vineyards whose average size is less than a hectare (about 2.5 acres). Given the small size of their plot, most vineyard owners must work elsewhere to make a living. While Pfalz was once the number one German wine producing region, it now ranks number two in both total wine production and vineyard acreage behind its northern neighbor, Rheinhessen. In the Pfalz, sometimes called the Tuscany of Germany, temperatures often climb into the mid ninety degrees Fahrenheit (mid thirty degrees Centigrade) and many farmers raise “southern” crops such as figs and lemons.

About 80% of Pfalz wine is white. The most widely grown grape varieties are the German developed hybrid Müller Thurgau, and the generally higher quality Riesling. Local red grape varieties include Portugieser and to a lesser extent Pinot Noir, better known by its German name, Spätburgunder. About 10% of Pfalz wine is classified as basic table wine, over 70% as middle quality QbA wine, and the remainder higher quality QmP wine.

The German Wine Road crosses the Pfalz region. Virtually anywhere you go on this road you can find something worth seeing, worth tasting, and I daresay worth eating. The city of Neustadt and its suburbs are close to the halfway point of this road. Every October comes the Deutsches Weinlesefest (German Wine Harvest Festival) with lots of floats and a German Wine Queen. Be sure to visit the Marktplatz (market square) on market days (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) when farmers sell their produce. Take a look at the square’s many Baroque and Renaissance buildings and its Gothic church whose north tower boasts the largest cast-iron bell in the world. If you’re up to it, you can climb the south tower and delight in the view.

You may find it harder to view the Elwetritsche, a fabled half bird, half human creatures of the Pfalz forest. You can ride through the forest on the Kuckucksbaehnel (Steam Train) from the Eisenbahn Museum (Railroad Museum) behind the main train station. You’ll have to plot in advance because these trains run only on alternate Sundays in season. End your tour of Neustadt’s Ancient Town with a few medieval lanes where you will probably want to eat, drink, and shop.

Before reviewing the Pfalz 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 Grumbeersupp (Potato Soup).
For your second course delight in Gequellde mit Lewwerworscht (Cooked Potatoes with Liver Sausage).
As a dessert indulge yourself with Schwarzwälder Torte (Black Forest Cake, Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream and Cherries).

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

Wine Reviewed
Lorch Pinot Noir Classic 2004 13.5% alcohol about $14

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. This Pinot Noir displays pretty cherry, plum and earth tones. It is dry, light-bodied with a nice, lingering fruit/acid end. This charming wine’s hint of tannin is softened by the lemon, while the cucumber and dill match the Pinot’s earthier tendencies.

My first pairing was with slow cooked meatballs and potatoes, accompanied by a somewhat spicy red pepper, tomato, and garlic “salsa”. This wine was round and long but not imposing. It was moderately acidic and held up well to the spices. Perhaps surprisingly I tasted some bubble gum. No it wasn’t a Beaujolais Nouveau. I like to reckon that I know when I’m drinking a Pinot Noir, but such wasn’t the case here. I finished the meal with a top-of-the-line chocolate mousse cake but the combination wasn’t really excellent. The cake and the wine didn’t meld.

My next trial involved a home made barbecued chicken that had marinated in a sweet and sour Thai sauce. The side dish was a specialty of the local supermarket, roasted potatoes cooked in chicken stout. Yummy. The wine was nicely acidic and quite fruity. The wine’s fruit was a excellent match for the fruit in the marinade. On the other hand, I thought that the potatoes would bring out the earthiness of the Pinot Noir. Such was not to be.

The final meal included store bought barbecued spare ribs, rice, and sautéed eggplant in a tangy tomato sauce including the skin. The Pinot Noir was fruity, round, and somewhat earthy with a touch of tobacco that lingered. I finally had the thought that I was drinking a Pinot Noir or nearly. The eggplant brought out the dark fruits in the wine. After the food was gone, the last sips of wine were powerful and mouth-filling.

My first cheese pairing was with a relatively soft and buttery German Edam cheese. The Pinot Noir was round and strong. Then I tried pairing it with a French Camembert cheese that was starting to age. I am not really a fan of ammonia. The Camembert cut into the wine’s fruit.

Final verdict. This wine was pretty excellent. I reckon that I would buy it again, but not waste it on cheese. Also I am not at all sure that I would drink this wine when I’m really in the mood for a Pinot Noir.

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

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