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I Love German Wine And Food - A Baden Pinot Noir


If you are in the market for fine German wine and food, you should consider the Baden region of southeastern Germany. You may find a bargain, and I know that you will enjoy yourself fun on this fact-filled wine education tour in which we review a local Pinot Noir.

The Baden region is the southernmost wine-growing region in Germany. Most of its many vineyards are found in a long, narrow strip between the Black Forest and the Rhine River. Across this river lies the French wine region of Alsace. Although approximately sixty percent of local wine is white, the red Pinot Noir is definitely the most important grape variety in Baden. White varieties include the German-bred Mueller Thurgau, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling. Baden ranks third in Germany for both vineyard acreage and total wine production. Slightly over one third of its wine production is QbA wine, the remainder is the higher quality QmP wine. Baden produces no table wine.

If you're going to be in Baden, why not visit Baden-Baden? This town, simply called Baden until 1931, is the center of a famous spa taking advantage of the local hot springs already known to the Ancient Romans. The city offers a casino, the oldest casino in Germany. This was where the famous Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote The Gambler. It wasn't only a labor of love; there were gambling debts to pay. Be sure to visit Abtei Lichtenthal, a medieval Cistercian abbey. The Festspielhaus Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden Festival Theatre) is Germany's largest opera house and concert hall with 2,500 seats.

Before reviewing the Baden wine and imported cheeses that we were lucky enough to purchase at a local wine store and a local Italian food store, here are a few suggestions of what to eat with indigenous wines when touring this beautiful region. Start with Schwarzwaelder Schinken (Black Forest Ham). Continue with Forelle (Trout) done in dozens of ways. For dessert indulge yourself with Schwarzwaelder Torte (Black Forest Cake, Chocolate Cake with Whipped Cream and Cherries).

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Konigschaffhausen Pinot Noir 2003 13.0% alcohol about $15

Let's start by quoting the marketing materials. The hot growing season of 2003 facilitated a level of ripeness in the vineyards of many regions, including Baden, that was almost unprecedented. Expect ripe strawberry, cherry, and plum aromas and flavors. This Pinot would complement grilled salmon or veal chops.

My first meal consisted of breaded, fried chicken breast with potato salad, eggplant, and tomato salad. Perhaps because I knew that the wine was a Pinot Noir, I tasted the earth and a bit of tobacco. This wine and food pairing was quite successful.

For my next tasting, I started with a tomato-based eggplant salad and humus topped by very piquant Moroccan spices. The heart of the meal was beef stew and potatoes. Once again I knew this Pinot Noir was a Pinot Noir and I enjoyed it all the way.

The final meal wasn't really a meal. It was a late night snack of cold barbequed chicken. The wine was excellent and tasted of light cherries. My initial reaction was that the wine came up short, but after a few sips I thought otherwise.

As often, I tried this wine with two cheeses. The first was an overripe French Camembert, a soft cow's milk cheese. The wine became flatter, and while it was still fruity what a shame to combine the two. It was as if somebody shaved the top off the wine. I guess you know by now that German Limberger cheese can be quite pungent; this one was certainly starting to smell but interestingly enough the odor didn't really affect its taste. My Pinot Noir retained a bit more of its fruit than when paired with the Camembert, but frankly, why waste this wine with this cheese?

Final verdict. I'm going to buy this wine again. The 2003 vintage is no longer available so I'll grab the 2004 and see what a difference a year makes.

Submitted by:

Levi Reiss

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine German or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His major wine website is http://www.theworldwidewine.com.





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