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All About German Wines

Most people have only heard of a few German wines: Riesling and Gewürztraminer. While both of these can be very delicious, Germany makes considerably more wine, most of it white, than those two varieties. If you've only ever had a Riesling and disliked how sweet it was, don't give up on German wines. You may have to look a little harder to find them in the U.S., but other German wines are a delightful surprise you shouldn't miss.

Riesling and Gewürztraminer:

These two wines are the most well-known that come from Germany. Riesling has traditionally been very sweet, but lately drier bottles have been available. If you don't like sweet wine, these aren't for you, but if you're trying to introduce someone to wine, they're great places to start. Gewürztraminer is aromatic and sweet, though not quite the tongue-curling sweet of Moscato. If you're not into eating dessert, you can always get one of these and drink it instead. Seriously, though, there's nothing wrong with a delicious sweet wine once in a while.

Pinot Gris:

Pinot Gris (called Grauburgunder in Germany) is a cousin to Italian Pinot Grigio, with several major flavor differences. Expect a Pinot Gris to have soft acidity and some delightful peach notes. It's not as structured as the Italian counterpart because Germans love pure fruit. A Pinot Gris is going to have exquisite fruity notes, and it pairs beautifully with creamy or buttery dishes, like pasta, fish or chicken.

Müller-Thurgau:

Most countries known for wine have a table wine variety, and Müller-Thurgau is Germany's. This wine tastes similar to Riesling, but the grapes grow in colder areas. It's got a delightful dry yet sweet combination, and if you wish Riesling had fuller body, then you'll love Müller-Thurgau. This isn't really a wine that many professionals have talked about, and most people probably won't have heard of it. Try a bottle yourself before bringing it to a gathering. If you find a delicious one, though, you can show off your German wine knowledge by talking it up.

Silvaner:

If you want something delicious and unknown, go for Silvaner. The grapes are hard to grow, which should make it exclusive and expensive. But because nobody's heard of it, you can usually get it for a reasonable price. It is hard to find, but when you come across a bottle of Silvaner, you can expect an acidic wine with earthy flavors. It can sometimes be oily, lemony, or even have hints of caramel.