Georg Albrecht Schneider Winery is a family run vineyard located southwest of Frankfurt in Germany’s Rheinhessen. Ursula Müller and her winemaker husband are the 9th generation of Schneiders to run the estate, and have been doing so for a little over two years. They produce mostly Riesling on a bit more than 54 acres of land. Ursula will freely tell you, “Riesling saved my life” as she left another career to take over the family business.
Usula, Rachael Buehrer from The Country Vintner wine distributor, and Chef / Sommelier Danny Lledó of Slate Wine Bar in Washington, DC recently teamed up to offer a German Wine Dinner. Danny prepared a beautiful four course meal, each paired with a different wine from the Schneider Estate.
Local Tip: Pearson’s Wine and Spirits in Glover Park, DC carries some of these wines and can order what they don’t already have.
2013 Schneider Riesling Vom Kalk, Niersteiner and 2015 Schneider Riesling Spätlese, Niersteiner
We received a surprise double pairing with the first course, an Ahi Tuna Poke on Wonton Chips, that offered us a window into the power of terroir. The wines were made from the same type of grape, grown at similar elevations, and underwent similar winemaking processes, but they could not have been more different due to the types of soil in which the grapes were grown.
The 2013 Vom Kalk, made with grapes grown in limestone, offered a very subtle nose, and we found it difficult to identify any individual scents. By contrast, the flavors of the wine were intense. The wine hits your palette with an incredible minerality and flavors of apricot and apple. It balanced the spice of the Tuna Poke beautifully.
The 2105 Spätlese was made with grapes grown in red slate. The nose on this one was quite powerful, offering up lemon, honeysuckle, and floral notes. This wine had volume as you drank it. It was dry and crisp with citrusy notes, apple, and pear. The flavors in this wine really stood up to the tuna.
2012 Schneider Riesling Kabinett, Niersteiner Paterberg
Our third Riesling was paired with our second course: Mini Pork Sliders with Shishito Peppers and Aioli. This Riesling was made in the fruity style, and the grapes were also grown in limestone. We found it to be very easy drinking, with or without food. The nose was subtle with hints of green apple, vanilla, and lemon. It’s a fruit forward wine offering very subtle minerality on the palette. We got Gala apples and vanilla with banana on the back. The pork sliders and the spice of the peppers brought out the minerality of the wine. The wine, in turn, balanced out the spice in the food.
2011 Schneider Dornfelder, Niersteiner
Duck Confit Spätzle with Red Wine Sun-dried Tomatoes was up next. The Dornfelder grape (diverging from Riesling for a moment) is one of five grapes that have both a red skin and a red flesh, allowing the wine to develop a beautiful, dark plum color with no tannins. This wine offered a complex nose with some spice, smoke, raspberry, and cherry cough syrup (in a good way). It’s also a fruit forward wine with tastes of boysenberry and blueberry. The wine, however, is dry with a slight acidity. As you taste, you might find some smokiness on the back.
I could eat Danny’s Duck Confit Spätzle every day, and the wine paired beautifully with this dish. The duck confit mellowed out the dryness of the wine, making it juicier and jammier. This wine would be wonderful with any form of tomato sauce, particularly on a pizza.
2014 Schneider Riesling Spätlese, Niersteiner Hipping
Warm Spiced Apple Strudel for dessert. Unlike the 2015 Spätlese, the 2014 is a sweeter wine. Its grapes were also grown in red slate, but during the winemaking process, residual sugars were allowed to develop in this wine. It’s a beautiful light, white color with vanilla, honeysuckle, and apple on the nose. This one is floral forward and tastes of honeysuckle and vanilla. As you taste this wine, it’s almost sparkling from the back. Paired with the Appel Strudel, honey flavors in both the wine and the strudel became more prevalent and made for a delightful end to the evening.