From the Vine

September 2017 Urban Sampler

‘On Cloud Rhine!’

Four great bottles of wine handpicked by our staff, always $50

As the Rhine River snakes around feeding a multitude of tributaries – you soon find yourself in the winemaking hotbed that dominates western Germany. Usually, when you think of German wine, your mind goes directly to Riesling – an ethereal grape that dominates the scene. On ‘Cloud Rhine,’ however, you get to explore the diversity that makes up Germany’s other heavenly wines- such as Silvaner and Elbling, and more common offerings like Pinot Noir (disguised as ‘Spätburgunder’) and made in both a red and rosé styles!

2012 Margarethenhof, Elbling Classic (Mosel, Germany)

Distinguished by it’s antiquity, Elbling has been cultivated for over 2,000 years in the Mosel Valley, making it one of Europe’s most ancient vines. The variety has been pushed to the Mosel’s upper reaches, where chalky soils begin to dominate the slate and even Riesling finds it difficult to ripen fully. Elbling is characterized by considerable freshness and acidity- balancing fruit-driven flavors with a racy bouquet. This wine is a perfect match for crispy sea bass with corn and shishito peppers.

2015 Horst Sauer, ‘Just Silvaner’ Trocken (Franken, Germany)

Silvaner is another historically significant white grape of Germany, dominating over half of the country’s vineyard plantings at it’s peak. The variety first arrived in Franken from Austria, where it’s still the second most planted variety. The subtlety of the grape is particularly adept at reflecting Franken’s terroir. It’s clay-limestone soil play a defining role in this wine’s exotic aromas and creamy texture. This Silvaner is a great match with sweet crabmeat, lobster or scallops.

2015 Weingut Drautz-Able ‘Le Petit Pigeon’ Rosé (Württemberg, Germany)

Steeply terraced vineyards, loosely following the Neckar River define the most iconic and breathetaking vineyards of Württemburg. Here, white varietals take a back seat to reds, which account for 60% of Drautz-Able’s plantings. The estate is one of the oldest in Heilbronn, dating back to 1496. ‘Le Petit Pigeon’ is a nod to the family’s coat of arms, which has become a symbol of their high-quality wines. This supple and lightly pink wine, made from Schwarzriesling, Spätburgunder and Trollinger, yields soft aromatics of raspberry and kirsche, with floral aromatics – pair it up with creamy Brillat-Savarin!

2015 Affentaler, Spätburgunder (Baden, Germany)

Baden is the southernmost wine region in Germany, nestled between the Rhine Valley and the Black Forest. Spätburgunder, aka Pinot Noir, has been grown here since the 1200’s, where Cistercian Monks began planting it in the ‘Ave Tal’ (Ave Valley). Over time, local vernacular morphed the name into  ‘Affental’ (Valley of the Monkeys), thus Affentaler is a wine co-op that has proudly embraced the Monkey bottle as a branding symbol since 1949! Fresh flowers and powerful spice are layered with zippy ripe strawberry and wild cherry flavor.