HEAD SOMMELIER AND MANAGER OF LUTYENS RESTAURANT ANDREW CONNOR
THIS will be my last column for City A.M. I’d like to thank you all for reading over the last eight months. My wife and I have recently had our first child and we’d like him to spend some time with his German relatives, so I have accepted a position at Fischers Fritz restaurant in Berlin. I’d like to end my stint as City A.M.’s wine columnist by returning to my personal favourite: German Riesling.
Most people’s impression of German wine is stuck in the past. The immediate reaction people have when I propose a German Riesling is that it will be sweet. No doubt there are sweet German wines, and the UK off trade does the consumer no favours by stocking them to the exclusion of the exciting, dry wines that Germany produces in abundance. But I believe that contemporary German dry Riesling is a wine uniquely in tune with modern tastes, well suited to modern cooking and often with a pleasingly low alcohol content (think 11 or 12 per cent).
I’m going to make a specific recommendation to you as a sign-off: one of the wines that first opened my eyes to the quality of German vintages. It’s a vineyard in the Pfalz called Pechstein (in the village of Forst), a number of stellar producers make a wine from here including Ernst Loosen (JL Wolf) and Bürklin-Wolf – but the one I really like is from Von Buhl.
Typically for a German wine its full name is a bit of a mouth-full, Reichsrat Von Buhl Riesling Grosses Gewächs [translates roughly as Grand Cru] Forster Pechstein, but they seem to realise this, so on the front of the bottle you’ll find just Pechstein GG. The vineyard has a lot of basalt and this shows itself in a kind of smokey, salty mineral finish that snaps the exotic fruit (think mango, tangerine) into line with a long finish. It’s an explosively concentrated and delicious mouthful and the wine will age for years. Go out and try a bottle, today.