Two small statistics suggest that a groundswell of enthusiasm for dry German wines is slowly building.
The other day I hosted a tasting of nine fine wines for a small group in London's financial district. The winning bidders for this particular lot in this auction in aid of the homeless charity Crisis were Catlin and they invited a few of their wine-loving clients to share a bottle of each of the following wines. I asked everyone to vote for their favourite white and their favourite red and the number of votes cast appears in purple next to the name and price of each wine - chosen from the list of firm's wine merchant Jascots:
Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2001 England £33 0
Christophe Cordier, Ver Cras 2006 Pouilly-Fuissé, Burgundy £26 2
Inama 2007 Soave Classico, Italy £12 0
Von Buhl, Pechstein Forst Riesling Spätlese trocken 2007 Pfalz, Germany £28 11
Kilikanoon, Mort's Block Watervale Riesling 2006 Clare Valley, Australia £15 1
Bertrand Ambroise, Clos des Argilliers Premier Cru 2005 Nuits-St-Georges, Burgundy £30 2
Cuvaison Pinot Noir 2005 Napa Valley, California £24 3
Château de St Cosme 2006 Côte Rôtie, Rhône Valley £35 5
Glaetzer, Amon Ra Shiraz 2004 Barossa Valley, Australia £42 2
And the winner was.....the dry German.
Then today I went to The Winery wine store in Maida Vale, London W9, to taste their enterprising range of growers' champagnes for my major report on them next week. David Motion, owner of The Winery, reports that a good 25% of his stock nowadays is dry German wine, red and white, and that they sell like hot cakes. Indeed they were doing so while I was there.
Yet, Motion reported, when he judged the Decanter World Wine Awards last month, it was almost as though dry German wine did not exist.
I am told by Justerini & Brooks, whom I thoroughly nagged last year, that their forthcoming German 2008 offer will include more dry wine than last year. They import Keller from the Rheinhessen and Sauer from Franken, so that is certainly a good start.
Anyone seeking a single bottle of dry Riesling in central London could do worse than picking up a bottle of Fortnum & Mason Riesling trocken 2007 Rheingau (£17.50, £14.99 til the end of July) which comes from the widely admired Robert Weil estate with its distinctive pale blue labels. Chill it well and try it with food.