Quick Recipes and Easy

I Love German Wine and Food – A Franconian Riesling

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 Riesling.

Franconia is bordered by the Danube River on the south and by the Main River on the north. Both France and Franconia are named after the Franks, a Germanic tribe. Franconia had been independent for centuries but the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815 joined it to neighboring Bavaria in southern Germany as part of the reshaping of Europe.

Franconia ranks sixth out of the thirteen German wine regions in both vineyard acreage and total wine production. Over 85% of Franconian wine is white. Its main grape varieties are Müller-Thurgau, a German hybrid, responsible for nearly half the local production of white wine and Silvaner. Unlike many other German wine regions, here the Riesling grape is not a major player. 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.

Nürnberg (Nuremberg) is the largest city in Franconia and the second largest in Bavaria. It’s a very historic city, slightly less than one thousand years ancient. It was the site of the first Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, the site of Hitler’s most vital rallies, and the site of the Allied War Crimes Tribunals after the Second World War.

Among its many sights are the city walls surrounding Nuremberg’s Ancient Town. Be sure to see the Albrecht-Dürer-Haus, where the fantastic Renaissance painter spent nearly the last twenty years of his life. The Germanisches Nationalmuseum (German National Museum) is the largest such museum in all of Germany. Should you so desire, there’s enough to view to spend days there. Outside the museum is the Strasse der Menschenrechte (Street of Human Rights) with thirty huge columns inscribed with excerpts from the Declaration of Human Rights. Make sure to see the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) complex, which in bygone times was the home of the Holy Roman Emperors. As its name might suggest, the Neues Museum (New Museum) is devoted to modern design. Children and the young at heart will like the Spielzeugmuseum (Toy Museum) and Tiergarten (Zoo) which includes a dolphin show. Nuremberg’s historic churches include Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady), St. Sebaldus Kirche (St. Sebaldus Church), and St. Lorenz Kirche (Church of Saint Lawrence). If you get hungry you might want to stop in the Historische Bratwurst-Küche Zum Gulden Stern, the oldest bratwurst restaurant in the world dating back to 1419. Their slogan is Wer nicht hier war, war nicht in Nürnberg; if you weren’t here, you weren’t in Nuremberg.

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 Hochzeitsuppe (Wedding Soup – Meat Broth, Dumplings, and Sliced Potatoes)
For your second course delight in Hackfleischküchla (Franconian Hamburgers).
As a dessert indulge yourself with Lebkuchen (Gingerbread).

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

Wine Reviewed
Burgerspital Zum Hl. Geist Riesling Kabinett 2004 12% alcohol about $17.50

We’ll start by quoting the marketing materials. Description Franken is best known in our market for their Silvaner-based wines and squat, green bottles called bocksbeutal. Here, we have a rare opportunity to explore the incredible job Franconian winemakers can do with Riesling too. Tasting Note Aromas suggest rose petals, apple, apricot and mineral. On the palate it is off-dry, fresh and lively. Light- to medium-bodied, this long finishing wine would complement veal cutlets, pan-fried freshwater fish or mildly spiced Thai cuisine. And now for the review.

The first meal was consisted of slow-cooked chicken legs in a supposedly spicy tomato sauce, potatoes, and a medley of small salads. Wow! This wine just hit it right with its acidity and fruit. I tasted lime. It was very round. Frankly, no pun intended, I could have finished the bottle.

The next meal was an omelet with sliced brown mushrooms and chopped red onion and a side of smoked salmon. Once again I tasted fantastic acidity and lime. The smoked salmon intensified the wine. It was a very pleasant combination.

Then I went to spaghetti and meatballs but a bit different from the usual style. The spaghetti was whole wheat and the meatballs were made with ground turkey. The Riesling was honey-flavored, rather light, but somewhat complex and slightly acidic. I finally found a disappointing combination; fresh pineapple which flattened the wine. On the other hand, the wine went well with honeydew.

First I tried this Riesling with a French goat’s milk cheese that really seemed more like a Camembert. The wine was refreshing with excellent balance of fruit and light acidity. Then I tasted it with a nutty Swiss Gruyere. The wine became more acidic and was nice and long. When it finally faded away, it did so delicately. I saved the best cheese for last, a local Asiago that I prefer to the native Italian variety. Ironically the best cheese made the worst pairing; the wine was weaker.

Final verdict. This wine is a winner. I plot to buy it again. And I won’t be wasting it on cheese, especially local Asiago cheese.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine German 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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