German Varietal Wines for a Variety of Thanksgiving Dishes

German Varietal Wines for a Variety of Thanksgiving Dishes

City Vino's blog last week provided some suggestions for adding an Italian flair to your Thanksgiving table through food and wine. This week, our in-store tasting on Friday, November 12, and Saturday, November 13, will feature four wines from Germany that are Thanksgiving-worthy.

In Germany, the Thanksgiving equivalent is an autumn harvest celebration called Erntedankfest. This celebration is usually observed around the first Sunday in October, and involves church services, parades, and music, with the overall feeling of a country fair, as gratitude is expressed for the year’s harvest.

Our German recommendations for Thanksgiving are all varietal wines, each made from a single grape variety, all of which honor the respective harvests of each of the vintage years. We present Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Dornfelder to celebrate the harvest and to give thanks for the bounty on all our tables. 

Riesling is always a good choice for a Thanksgiving table as it’s brightness pairs beautifully with not only the main course of poultry, but also with appetizers and salads. Our Riesling choice for your table is the 2020 Karl Josef Riesling Piesporter Michelsberg Kabinett, from the Mosel region in Germany. The wine is an off-dry wine, the slight sweetness of which softens the high acidity into well-balanced wine. This wine has aromas of light white flowers, with green apples and lime notes. The palate shows the same green apples and lime, with a lovely sense of minerality.

Next, we go to Zweigelt, which is a widely planted grape in Austria, but also grows in Germany, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia. Typically produced into a red wine, in this case is also a beautiful rosé. The 2019 Tegernseerhof Mittlebach Zweigelt Rosé, from Niederösterreich, Austria, has a beautiful coal pink color and bright, fruit-filled, red cherry and red currant aromas. This wine is crisp, refreshingly dry, medium-body on the palate, showing fresh cherry, delicate red currant flavors, and a slight hit of watermelon. If you have roasted ham for your Thanksgiving feast, or if you are considering spicy sausage stuffing, or drop kick the turkey and put duck on your plate, you will be glad you had a bottle of Zweigelt rosé.

Another grape variety that often gets invited to the Thanksgiving table is Pinot Noir. In Germany, Pinot Noir is often labelled as Spätburgunder, which translates to “late Burgundy,” since it roots are from Burgundy, and it is a late-ripening grape. Germany is the world’s third-largest producer of Pinot Noir, behind France and the United States. German wines made from Pinot Noir focus on the fruit itself, and not barrel aging notes.

We present the 2018 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir, from the Pfalz region. This is an easy-drinking wine that pairs so well with poultry due to its fruitiness. It has ripe black cherries, black raspberries, and cranberries on the palate with hints of spice. You may be familiar with Dr. Loosen, who is a well-known producer of quality German wines. Ernst Loosen took over the vineyards at the Villa Wolf estate in the late 1990s, and his well-trained team produces this wine.

Dornfelder is our next varietal wine in our tasting. In case you have not heard of Dornfelder, it is a grape created in Germany in 1955, with thoughts of producing a richer, deeper red grape that ripens fully, given the cool climate. It is a crossing of the two grapes Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe. Both of these grapes are crossings themselves, and if you looked at their family trees you would find Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir, Trollinger, Schiava, and Blauer Portugieser all in the mix. Suffice it to say, let us stick with the name Dornfelder.

The Dornfelder we feature is the 2019 Weingut Manfred Breit Dornfelder, from the Mosel region. There is a little bit of sweetness to this wine that again balances the acidity, and pairs well with its notes of blackberries and sour cherries. This is a wine that can be served with a slight chill to it. With its fruit notes and slight sweetness, it will pair well with cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and of course, the Thanksgiving turkey.

We are very thankful for your patronage and grateful to you for allowing us to make wine recommendations for your Thanksgiving table.



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