One Greek And A Couple Of Germans


Header-image-StephenBy Robert K Stephen (CSW)

(TORONTO, ON) – Germans and Greeks? Germans play their cards close to their chest. Greeks wear their hearts on their sleeves. Greeks are emotional and passionate while Germans are restrained and utterly logical and practical.

Its Ying and Yan.

Take your choice of character, but in wines expect no similarities. Remember good old Prince Phillip is Greek.

Greek wines bake in the sun and German wines use every trick in the book to derive maximum heat and sunshine to ripen their grapes. Like the German and Greek personality, so their wines seem reflective of that personality, however stereotypical it may be.

History is funny isn’t it?

The German occupation of Greece, particularly in the Greek island of Crete, was brutal. In other parts of Greece it was more civilized. It was the German tourists that blew Greece open as a tourist destination in the 1970’s. Cheap food, superb beaches and scenery, and low cost booze.

While the German troops have long left Greece, it would appear German driven austerity measures amount to a new German occupation. Or, is it a case of a corrupt Greek bureaucracy bleeding the country dry and a deserved EU response?

So many ordinary Greeks are suffering cut pensions, substandard medical care, and rampant unemployment. Whose ultimate fault is this?

As long as the German tourists keep flooding in, despite the general strikes, Greece can use all the tourist Euros it can get.

If there is one thing that can unite people, it is wine and good food which are aplenty in Greece.

This Greek is wine made from the Roditis grape. Cantaloupe, peach, and pineapple predominate, but in a subtle, non-flashy way. Just about bone dry on the palate, as a grilled fish could thrive.

Acidity, yes, but restrained and not out of control. It is, in fact, ready to attack a grilled spigola, porgy, or orate drizzled with an olive oil, lemon, and oregano sauce, with some fresh Greek bread and some vleta (greens) cooked and then drizzled with that lemon and olive oil.

This is a seafood wine with its straightforward acidity and overall simplicity. Raw and natural. Avoid rich lobster or any fish in a cream sauce.

I’d be happy to chill this wine to a frigid point on New Year’s Eve and start cracking open those oysters with a swig of it. (At Sea, 2014 Roditis, Protected Geographical Indication Peloponnese, Giannikos Winery, Korinthos, Greece, 750 mL, 12.5%, LCBO #431684, $17.95, Square Media Group Rating 87/100). A wine for basic fish lovers. At Sea captures its use very well.

Here is a German wine with a low alcohol count of 7.5%. Very pale gold in colour. Delightful aroma of almond cake soaked in honey, and all squashed in with an equal blend of pineapple, peach, and apricot.

Muted acidity to keep all the fruit in check.

On the palate, exactly the same that you get on the nose. German precision.

A typical German example of acidity due to the lack of heat and sunshine, matched wonderfully with fruit so no sloppy wine as a result. It is both fruity yet structurally sound so as to end up as a balanced wine.

The rich fruit could easily ruin the wine unless braced by its acidity. The end result is a great glass of wine.

Considering the low alcohol level, it is a great dinner party wine. It is well suited to pork, chicken, cheese and, of course, all types of Christmas nibbles. (Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 2013 Goldtröpfchen, Mosel, VDP Riesling Spätlese, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt G.M.B.H., 750 mL, 7.5%, LCBO #313502, $31.95, Square Media Group Rating 89/100). Ontario ice wine requires a minimum of 125 residual grams of sugar per litre. This wine has 67 grams, so it’s about half way to ice wine. Great for sipping or with food. Considering its acidity, this one is good to 2035.

Geez, another low alcohol Riesling, in at 8.5%. Dr Pauly Bergweiler strikes again with another high quality Riesling.

Once again it is from the Mosel, but a Spätlese Riesling, which is a notch up from the dry Riesling Kabinett.

In colour, light white gold. White, reach, cantaloupe, mango, pear, and damp slate.

Full of fruit on the palate, with pineapple, peach, guava, and marzipan.

Medium finish. So full of fruit, and such low alcohol in a region barely able to support cultivation of grapes. Very muted acidity, this time making the fruit stand out a bit more than in a Kabinett.

As with the Goldtröpfchen, a good sipping wine and one that will match, perhaps, lighter creamed dishes, straight roasted pork, and maybe some pig’s knuckles.

(Dr Pauly Bergweiler, 2013 Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Riesling, Spätlese, Dr Pauly Bergweiler, Bernkastel-Kues, Germany, 750 mL, 7.5%, $29.95, LCBO #197186, Square Media Group Rating 88/100). I am thinking this is good for up to five years due to its muted acidity.