German wine: Four picks to enjoy this summer

Peter & Ulrich Dry Riesling German wine

I don’t need a reason to try German wine, but I’m giving myself two reasons. The team from Wines of Germany (it promotes wines from Germany) has had a busy few weeks.

The winners in its annual Top 50 German wines competition have been announced and this month (July)  its  annual  31 Days of German riesling campaign  is underway. It encourages us all  to give German riesling a High Five.  And why not.

Here’s four German wine choices from me. 

German wine: Two from the Top 50

My choices both come from the Co-op and are under £6. How good is that.

The first, Kleine Kapelle Pinot Grigio 2015 (12.5% abv, £5.79) was described by  judges as was “well made and excellent value”. It is indeed. For just over a fiver you get a wine  which fairly pops in the mouth with tropical fruit, but has clean lines, is upright, balanced and elegant.

Devil’s Rock Riesling 2015 (12.5% abv, £5.99) tangs with a bite of apple and flickers with a fleck of herb. Zesty grapefruit and lime say “hey we’re here too” which together makes for a perfect glass of zingy wine. I’d cooked Thai-style minced pork and this wine was ideal alongside (prawns or fish would be even better).

German wine: A couple of rieslings 

Peter & Ulrich Dry Riesling (12% abv, £11.99 or £9.99 if you buy six at Majestic) is a bone dry wine with aromas of  apple and peach; and then on the palate  flavours of  peach, apple and apricot giddy along to water your mouth, finishing off with a slight minerality.  Moreish.

Dr Loosen Extra Dry Riesling Sekt (12.5% abv, RRP £16.99 from various retailers including www.thesecretcellar.co.uk and www.southdownscellars.co.uk) It baffles me that people get panicky about prosecco shortages when there’s other lovely sparklies to be had. Elderflower aromas from this sparkling German wine fluttered from the glass, together with fresh green apples, herbs and hedgerows. So much in a nose! Then to taste, flavours of crisp apples played happily in a clean refreshing, satisfying fizz.
(This wine was also included in the Top 50 winning German wines.) 

Read more about the Top 50 German wines at www.winesofgermany.co.uk/top-50.  To find out if a restaurant or wine merchant near you is holding any 31 Days of Riesling events click on www.31daysofgermanriesling.co.uk You can follow @WinesofGermany on Twitter.
First published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals July 2016

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

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Red wines: Three to try, a rioja, carmenere and barbera

red wines review

I write about wine and other drinkies in a handful of regional UK newspapers; I share my thoughts here on One Foot in the Grapes. Here’s a selection of red wines reviewed in recent weeks.

Three red wines should the fancy take you

Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja red wine review
Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja

♦ Red wines are probably a safe bet to warm your toes if sunny days don’t live up to expectations. Ramón Bilbao Single Vineyard Rioja (13.5% abv, £9.49 at Majestic or £7.99 if in a case of six) is a blend of tempranillo and grenache.

The wine has spent eight months in American oak which lends flavours of vanilla and a grind of spice.

It is generous with its fruit, gifting a hug of cherry and blackberry aromas and flavours of warming ripe red fruit. It’s as cosy and comforting as your favourite slippers.

This wine would be great with a lamb casserole; or if you peek outside and the barbecue is calling, then burnt-edged sausages could be just the trick.
(Price correct at time of print publication: May 2016)

Rive Barbera d'Asti red wine review
Rive Barbera d’Asti

♦  Despite the  miserable summer weather,  I managed to sneak in a barbecue and poured a red wine with burgers.  

Rive Barbera d’Asti (14% abv RRP £10 from independents including thesecretcellar.co.uk/, henningswine.co.uk ampsfinewines.co.uk)

The wine has been aged in a mix of new and old oak barrels  for 18 months to create a complex, comforting wine.

Black cherries and plum aromas huddled at the top of the glass together with a flicker of mint; then oodles of rich cherries mingled with spice in the mouth to transform and uplift our ordinary burgers.

(Price correct at time of print publication: July 2016)

Root 1 Carmenere 2014 red wine review
Root 1 Carmenere 2014

♦ By all means get your kicks on Route 66, but if you want a decent drop of Chilean Carmenere for under a tenner, my advice is to take Root 1.

Root 1 Carmenere 2014, (£8, 13.5% abv, Morrisons) is a mix of 85% carmenere and 15% syrah grapes, all grown on ungrafted roots (hence the name).

This is a delicious drop, with rich berry flavours, a hint of spice and slight vanilla on the finish, and a gloriously silky texture that feels like … well, silk on the tongue.

Although it’s a full-bodied wine, there’s a delicacy to the structure that goes perfectly with a nice bit of steak or a roast beef dinner, although you certainly wouldn’t complain if you had it with a spicy tomato pasta dish.

(Price correct at time of print publication: July 2016)

Reviews first published in Raise a Glass, Trinity Mirror regionals  

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

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