Wines Along the Rhine
Updated: Apr 5
Dylan here. This past weekend I got a call from a friend of mine who was playing a show in San Francisco. I originally met Lorenz, who goes by Recondite, when I lived in Berlin. His music is hard to characterize, but a few words that jump out are: dark, soulful, rhythmic and alive. There's something very distinct about the music that comes out of Berlin. You'll frequently find big warehouse clubs where people from all over the world gather to hear the unique sounds inspired by this historic, and diverse city.
Just like electronic music, wines -- my other passion-- carry an imprint of the place they are from. And the more wines I taste from around the world, the more I'm able to discern their stories from just a few sips: the soil they grow in, the climate that ripens them, and the care of the people who tend to them from vine to bottle. This week's wines are particularly close to my heart, carrying the essence of the part of the world where I've spent most of my life: Germany and just over the border in France.
Bercher Weissburgunder Burkheimer 2016 ($24)
This Weissburgunder, known as Pinot Blanc in France, comes to us from a beautiful estate in Baden, which is a small wine region in the southwest of Germany along the French border. Nestled between the Black Forest and Rhine River, Baden is the warmest of Germany's wine regions, creating more ripeness and richer flavors. Cousins Martin and Arne Bercher are now the 10th generation working on their family's organic wine estate in the Kaiserstuhl, an area in Baden that is blessed with volcanic soils. The distinct minerality from this landscape balances the lush, full palate. With notes of nectarine, apple skins, and sea shells, and a surprisingly fresh finish, this is an elegant white to enjoy in the warm months ahead. One of the great qualities of Weissburgunder is its versatility when it comes to pairing with foods. Drink alongside white meat, cheese, or an earthy mushroom quiche, or sip it on its own.
Boeckel Sylvaner Midelberg 2018 ($21)
Our next wine is from Baden's 'sister wine region', just across the Rhine River in the Alsace of Northern France. Jean-Daniel and Thomas Boeckel are the current proprietors of the estate, following 400 years of family tradition. This sumptuous and juicy Sylvaner is grown on the sun-drenched slopes of Mittelbergheim, a small medieval village of less than 1,000 inhabitants. Golden-berries, pineapple, and guava combine with a candied character and a refreshing herbaceousness on the palate. The rich nature and crisp acidity would make this the perfect wine to pair with the exotic and spicy flavors of Thai curry or coconut soup.
Vendrell Montsant Seré 2021 ($16)
We just got in the new vintage of this lovely red from Josep Maria Vendrell. This 80/20 blend of Garnacha and Carinena is his ‘second wine’ made from younger vines grown on this small farm in Catalunya, Spain. Josep runs a one-man operation with a little help from his father and a family friend. He's rebelled against local tradition and the heavily oaked winemaking that can often be found in the area. He farms his grapes organically and is producing elegant, refined and fresh wines. The last vintage was a Wine Friends favorite, especially because of the great value. The 2021 is equally approachable and just so drinkable. Hard to resist at this price.