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All About Dornfelder Wine

Had enough of lighter red wines? Get to know Dornfelder, one of the deepest, darkest red wines on the market.

What Is Dornfelder?

When you open a bottle of Dornfelder, you can expect to leave at least a few wine glass stains behind. This red wine variety is known for its dark red hue, full-bodied characteristics and high tannin.

Dornfelder isn't exactly a grape with a long, illustrious history. The hybrid was designed as a darker red variety that could easily deepen German blends, which are traditionally much lighter in color. This "created grape" only dates back to 1956, when it was developed as a hybrid of the Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe grapes. Since these two grapes are also hybrids, Dornfelder shares its DNA with just about every other red grape in the region.

Where's It Produced?

As you may have guessed from the name, Dornfelder is a German red. It hails from Deutschland's Pfalz and Rheinhessen regions. Even though it's new on the scene, Dornfelder has already taken home the silver trophy as the second most predominant red grape in the country.

Like most red wine grapes, though, it's spread way beyond the borders of its original habitat. Today, you can also find English Dornfelders, along with bottles cultivated in New York's Finger Lakes region.

What's It Taste Like?

If you've already sipped red wines that feature Helfensteiner or Heroldrebe grapes, you'll notice some similar flavors in a glass of Dornfelder. Most varieties of this red wine feature cherry or plum flavors, along with pleasant floral notes. Aged versions boast distinctive hints of oak.

Why You'll Love Dornfelder:

If you're looking for a red wine with a lot of personality and tons of variety, Dornfelder is a solid pick. Most bottles boast a signature dry, or trocken, style, and some also take advantage of oak-aging techniques for deeper, richer flavors.

Of course, not all bottles of Dornfelder contain just one type of grape. Many winemakers blend Dornfelder with Germany's top red wine grape, Pinot Noir. Some Dornfelder grapes are even made into a rosé-style wine that boasts a hint of sparkle.

Great Food Pairings for Dornfelder:

Thanks to its naturally high acidity and floral notes, most Dornfelder fans love drinking this wine with roasted meats and flavorful cheeses. Try it with dishes that include German bacon or English blood sausage. Or pair your bottle of Dornfelder with fresh yet hearty dishes like Singaporean chili crab or Greek moussaka.