Friday, July 1, 2011

Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett (2009)

Clare and I participate in a wine club where a bunch of friends get together for a dinner.  One couple cooks a four course dinner, another couple pairs wines with each course, and everyone eats and has a good time.  Clare and I volunteered to do the wine pairing for the July dinner.  We had quite the challenge, because the couple who were cooking the dinner decided to prepare a four course meal of South Indian street food.  Toover Dal with Uttapam and Maangai Thokku, Vada Pav with Coriander and Tamarind Chutneys, and much, much more. Given Indian food is usually paired with beer (like Taj Mahal for example), we needed to do our research.  Based upon my initial research, a lot of people were recommending German Riesling wines as a good pairing with Indian food. 

Although more commonly known for beer, Germany has a fairly developed wine culture.  Given this is my first review of a German wine, a little background is in order.  Germany produces more white wines than red wines, by about two to one.  The most commonly planted white grapes are Riesling, followed by Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner (or Sylvaner).  The most commonly planted red grapes are Pinot Noir grapes.  All of these grapes (and more) are grown in thirteen regions around Germany, including Rheinhessen, Mosel, Baden, Wurrtemberg and Saxony.

There are several classifications of German wines.  Setting aside the classifications for table wines, the basic classification is Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete or "QbA."  The next higher classification, which is for wines of greater quality, is called Qualitätswein mit Prädikat or "QmP." This classfication has several subcategories, such as Kabinett, which refers to a wine made with grapes that are picked after the QbA grapes.  Other subcategories refer to grapes picked after the Kabinett, such as the Spatlese (late harvest grapes picked about 12 to 14 days after the Kabinett grapes) and Auslese (grapes that are hand selected from other pickings).

With this background, I can now turn to Dr. H. Thanisch's Bernkasteler Badstube.  This wine is made with Riesling grapes grown in and around Mosel at vineyards such as Graben, Lay, and Alte Badstube am Doctorberg.  The winemaker uses only sustainable practices to make this wine.  No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used on grapes.  

This wine pours a golden apple color, which is suggestive of the flavors in both the aroma and the taste.  The aromatic elements feature green applies and Bartlett pears in the nose.  These aromas are actually very nice and light.  The wine is light in terms of body, although not as light as other white wines that I've tried.  The taste of the wine is also full of apples both in the front and the finish.  I particularly liked this wine because it was sweet without the sticky and sugary residue of other semi-sweet or sweet wines. 

Obviously, the Bernkasteler Badstube can be paired with Indian food, but it can also be paired with seafood and poultry chicken dishes. I think it could have gone well with my Roasted Turkey Thighs and Collard Greens.  The sweetness of the wine could have been a good contrast to the bitterness of the collard greens. 

I found this wine at Whole Foods and, if I recall, it was over $20.00 a bottle. Still, it was worth the money. 

ENJOY!

For more about Germany's wines, check out Wikipedia.



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