Now that summer is well underway here in Germany, I thought it was a good time to list out a few of my favorite summer wines from around Europe. Plus, my blog is called “Pack the Corkscrew”, so I am hoping the readers will appreciate this!
Before moving to Germany, I was pretty set on the fact that I did not like German wine. Little did I know how much variety is within the German wines, or that Stuttgart is nestled between oodles of vineyards and is a highly regarded region of German wine production.
The local grocery stores are loaded with wines from Germany, but also surrounding countries at affordable prices. Not affordable in the sense of, “oh, $10 for a bottle of French wine, that’s not too bad…” No, I mean affordable like 2-4 Euro a bottle which is about $5 or less, and it is tasty wine. My husband and I now joke if that if we purchase a bottle over 5 Euro, we’re highfalutin. Ooo-la-la, look at Mr. Money Bags McGee over here, sheesh.
I’m not a sweet wine fan, but there is something satisfying and oh-so-summery to me sipping on a light, crisp, semi-sweet wine on the few hot days we have here. I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 whites from around the continent. Please feel free to chime in, I’d love to know what your favorites are!
#5 Grauburgunder, from Germany (Baden)
The Grauer Burgunder (Gray Burgundy) is basically the drier version of Pinot Gris of Germany. The grapes that are harvested to create this have a grayish-blue tint to them, hence the “gray” in both the French and German namesake. The alcohol content is about 12.5 – 13% and is a great pairing with summer dinners on the grill.
#4 Gruner Veltliner from Austria
This grape is the most important in Austria and is grown all over the country. This pale, green wine with alcohol content of about 13% is the driest wine from my list. It also has a very high acidity making your tongue tingle a bit with each sip. It’s another wine that is fantastic served ice-cold on a warm day, but since we spend a good amount of time in Austria in the winter, I drink this one in the snow, as well. The acidity goes well with the thick, hearty dishes of the Austrian countryside and warms me up after a day on the slopes.
#3 Pinot Gris from France (Alsace)
If you have read any of my posts from France you know how much I absolutely love the Alsace region and the Pinot Gris that comes from there. The sweetness levels vary a lot in this region, so I had to taste my way through several producers to find my favorites at the annual wine expo. The Vignerons Independents (French Wine expo) takes place at the Strasbourg convention center every February. I search for the yellow “Alsace” signs among the nearly 700 wine booths and head right for the Pinot Gris.
Pinot Gris is on the sweeter side, but I still wouldn’t call it a “sweet” wine. It has a full-bodied drinkability and high alcohol content of about 13.5%. It’s absolutely divine!
#2 Pošip, from Croatia (Dalmatian Region/Korčula Island)
Pošip is a dry, medium bodied and fruity wine with high alcohol content at 13-14%. This wine became my go-to during our week-long stay on the Dalmatian coast. We stopped at several grocery stores from Dubrovnik to Split and gathered bottles of “research” which were used to conduct our own private tasting after the nugget passed out. We were in Croatia in early September when the hot beach weather is at its peak, so the refreshing Pošip was an easy winner for me.
#1 Vinho Verde, from Portugal
Vinho Verde is a semi-dry white wine made from young grapes, hence the “verde” which translates to green (young). The wine isn’t green, but it’s refreshing with a touch of bubbles which makes this a perfect wine for hot, Portuguese summers. This wine is best served ice cold. As a nice gentleman and local from the Algarve region described to me when I was visiting, “Not room temperature, not chilled, not with ice, but only ICE COLD!!”. This wine has a low alcohol content of about 8-9% but goes down quickly, so maybe that’s for the best. This is my absolute favorite summertime wine!!
I’m always trying new wines and building my collection, so if you have any top 5s you think I missed, please let me know. I would love an excuse to set up another tasting night!