|By Guest Blogger – Live Like Italian Work Like German|
@livelikeitalianworklikegerman VIA Italian Wine Maestro
The name of my blog is Live Like ‘Italian’ Work Like ‘German’, which clearly shows that apart from Italy, Germany is the love of my life as well. Therefore, today I would like to share a few of my thoughts about German food and wine pairing.
Around 10 years ago, I was lucky to have a chance to work in Germany for a year. During my stay, I spent most of my time working in the bar of a Chinese restaurant. Life in Germany was of course not as fancy as that in Hong Kong. And perhaps because of my young age, I was a bit fed up with the lifestyle, desiring to pursue more entertainment and maybe some personal interest other than work.
Therefore, the wine and beer that I was constantly exposed to during my job became my new hobby. After listening to my friend’s suggestion, I started with German food and experimented with how German wine could work with the local cuisines.
German Food x Wine & Beer
What comes to mind when we talk about German food? The more signature dishes, like Pork Knuckles (Eisbein, Pickled Pork Knuckles / Schweinshaxe, Roasted Pork Knuckles), Sausage (Wurst), and Deep-fried Pork Chop (Schnitzel), are often meaty and greasy, with a flavour profile inclining to the salty and sour side (especially when added with Sauerkraut, a fermented sour Cabbage). Whether for the locals or the tourists, the most common pairing is with beer. There are over 1,500 beer breweries in Germany and more than 5,000 brands. The beer styles alone can be a headache to the beginners, such as Bock, Dunkel, Weissbier, Kolsch, Hefeweizen, Marzen, Pilsner, and Lager…not to mention the drinks mixed with beer, like Diesel, Radler, and Alsterwasser.
When returning to our more familiar wines, most people may instantly think that we should pair the more flavourful dishes with red wines. For example, when having Roasted Pork Knuckles, people may suggest pairing them with Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) or Dornfelder. These are surely good pairing. Yet, white wines can be a good option too, particularly Riesling.
The ‘friendly’ Riesling
Riesling might seem ‘ordinary’ and ‘mediocre’ in some people’s eyes and has nothing to do with ‘class’. However, top Riesling has exceptional quality and can be some of the most expensive white wines in the world, sought after by collectors, socialites, and celebrities alike. To me, the most treasurable part of Riesling is how ‘friendly’ it is – it not only often has a friendly price point that allows us to enjoy it without pressure, but also pairs well with a lot of German cuisines, such as the abovementioned Pork Knuckles, Sausage and Pork Chop. I think good quality dry Riesling has a bright and fresh acidity than can balance the greasiness and intense flavours of meats, especially Pork Knuckles. Some German locals even directly add Riesling into the dishes when cooking Pork Knuckles.
This time I would like to share with the Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling By Ernst Loosen & Telmo Rodriguez 2015. Dr. Loosen is probably no stranger to German Riesling lovers. What is special about this wine is that it is the result of the friendship between Erni Loosen, Dr. Loosen’s owner, and his good friend Telmo Rodríguez, the owner of Bodega Lanzaga, a famous winery in Rioja, Spain. They have adopted Mosel’s traditional winemaking and also have the wine fermented on the skins like orange wine and aged in barrels that had been used to produce one of Telmo’s finest Rioja wines, combining the strength of both parties.
The wine is golden in colour, instantly aromatic once poured into the glass, showing notes of green apple, pear, honey, gasoline, and lemon. On the palate, it is medium-bodied with crisp, fresh acidity, followed by good minerality, almonds, and a medium finish. When paired with a German Pork Knuckle, it can remove the oily feel and bring out the extra refreshing vibes. With this wine and the pairing, I can’t help but be reminiscent of my time in German. 10 years have gone by, and so has my youth. It is always a good experience to look back at the past from time to time with a nice wine-induced nostalgia.
|About guest writer @livelikeitalianworklikegerman|
A lover of Italian and German culture since he was a kid. Stepped into the wine world by chance and drifted in the boundless “ocean of wine” ever since. While he realized that there was a lot that he needed to explore, through sharing and communication, he met friends with wine and strengthened his love of wine.