Did you know that there is a campaign to raise awareness about some of the “unsung heroes” from wine regions in Bordeaux and Germany? Clink Different, the perfect name in my opinion, started up in 2019, was pretty much frozen like everything else in 2020, and now for 2021 has begun anew.
I was recently invited onto a Zoom presentation called “Variety in Varietals” to taste four unsung heroes, while learning from Steffan Schlinder, of the German Wine Institute, and Cristie Norman, the President and Founder of the United Sommeliers Foundation. I will begin by sharing some of my notes of what we learned from Norman and Schlinder and then the tasting notes and food pairings provided by Norman, as well as some of my own notes.
What We Learned
Schlinder opened the meeting by sharing the similarities between the two wine growing regions: both are over 200 years old, both have cool climates and both are experienced in the industry. Varietals in Germany are divided by one third red and two thirds white. Orange wines are one example of a wine being made in both areas.
Norman explained that we don’t always have to enjoy only first growth wine Bordeaux, and that Germany and Bordeaux “have an entire rainbow of different wines to choose from”. Her theory on food and wine pairing is similar to decorating a home: pieces have to fit together, there needs to be balance, opposites and a respect for key elements. As far as wine costs, all of the four wines we were to taste were priced accessibly. Norman said that cult wines have become “astronomically expensive” and through her experience as a restaurant sommelier she has learned that people want to try new wines. She then led us through the wines.
Tasting the Wines and Food Pairing Suggestions
Of the four varietals below which is new for you? Norman asked that same question in our Zoom presentation. The only varietal I didn’t recall having had before was the Lemberger, now a varietal I will be looking for again. And her mention about prices really sprang out as all of these wines cost less than what I expected them to be. Yep, that means I liked them all, and I would certainly buy these wines. (Notes: tasting notes and pairings are Norman’s, my additions are in italics.)
Silvaner: Weingut Strub 2019 Silvaner Trocken
SRP: $19. Green apple, cantaloupe, wet rock; with a medium acidity and freshness. Pair with salad, stir-fry, oysters; Indian food. This was my favorite wine in the line-up. And yes, we did enjoy with Indian food later!
Sauvignon Blanc: Dourthe 2019 La Grande Cuvée Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc
SRP: $14. Lemon, grapefruit, cheese rind; limeade, green apple and a mild salinity. Pair with cream-based sauce over pasta, steamed clams, goat cheese; I agreed that this wine would do well with any cream sauce, and due to the ocean spray-ish salinity maybe even with some shellfish. We enjoyed the rest of the bottle poolside.
Lemberger: Schnaitmann 2017 Steinwiege Lemberger
SRP: $37. This wine, also referred to as a Blaufrankisch in the past but not so much today, had notes of blackberry, elderberry, sweet and sour cherries, vegetal; spices, dried red berries, a slight medicinal, a light red. Pair with duck, pasta with a red sauce, Chicken Shawarma; charcuterie and hard cheeses.
Petit Verdot: Château Belle-Vue 2018 Petit Verdot
SRP: $25. Blackberry, red and black cherry, black plum, grilled meat, vanilla, cream, purple flowers; big, bold, tannic, black pepper, spice on the nose, very dry. Pair with aged Gouda, skirt steak, Philadelphia Cheese Steak; I thought it would be great with a rich beef stew.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.