German Riesling and Fun Fondue With Friends for #WinePW

our line-up of German Riesling

Last summer when we paired four Riesling from Alsace with fondue, we thought it would be so much fun to get together in the winter by the fire and do it again but with a potluck of German Riesling and German food along with fondue.

Ask and ye shall receive!

Just in time for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend’s deep dive into Germany with host Nancy Brazil, several bloggers including myself were fortunate to receive a generous selection of German wines, including a number of Riesling! Five of these pictured above came from this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend sponsor Winesellers, Ltd., a family-owned importer and marketer based in the U.S. In addition to a very large portfolio of German wines, Winesellers, Ltd. imports wines from around the world. In recognition of that worldwide effort, Winesellers, Ltd. was recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as Importer of the Year in 2015.

Someone is so ready to pounce on Pineapple Helen’s cookies from a recipe from her Austrian grandmother! They went so well with these Riesling — recipe below!

It didn’t take Sue and I long to realize this was the perfect time to realize our friends and fondue plan. We asked Drummer Diane if she would once again like to host a gang of our friends, many who came for  our last adventure in wine tasting at Halloween, and some who were also at Malbec in May and even our dry farmed Oregon Chardonnay excursion. When she said yes, the challenge was on to think about German foods and recipes — and our friends met the challenge admirably well!

Like many areas of Europe, grapes have been grown in Germany since Roman times, and documentations shows that Riesling was growing close to Rheingau in 1435. By 1500, vineyards covered some 1 million acres while today there are only about 250k — in part due to increased interest in beer– grown in 13 defined regions mostly along the Rhine and its tributaries in western Germany.


The history is relatively straightforward, but making sense of German riesling is not — unless you study German or learn a few terms:

  • Trocken: dry wines with less than 9 grams/liter of residual sugar.
  • Halbtrocken: off-dry with 9-18 grams/liter of residual sugar but because of high acidity they don’t taste “sweet” but “crispness” and most would identlfy them on the palate as dry.
  • Feinherb: slightly more sweet than halbtrocken wines.
  • Lieblich: noticeably sweet and have fallen out of fashion since the 1980s.

In addition to this, you’d find it helpful to know that wines are also defined by a minimum potential alcohol level as determined by region and grape variety; for the first three, it’s 7%.

  • Kabinett: the first level of reserve grapes
  • Spätlese: “late harvest” and the second level of reserve grape selection
  • Auslese: “select harvest” or third level of reserve grape selection.
  • Beerenauslese:“berry selection” or grapes infected by the fungus Botrytism typically a dessert wine.
  • Trockenbeerenauslese: “dry berries selection” or even more concentrated than  Beerenauslese. Sweet and pricey!
  • Eisweinice wine uses naturally frozen grapes the ice stays in the press creating a super concentrated juice that produces a super sweet wine that’s high in alcohol.

So now that you’ve had a brief introduction, let’s look at the menu and then the wines!

Odd tidbit: Many of the wineries have Dr. in their names not because they are medical doctors and practicing physicians but because they an advanced degree and so can go by that title!


  • Cheese plate with an emphasis on Alpine cheese
  • Fondue (which uses a cup of dry wine so we used 1/3 of  cup from 3 of the drier ones)
  • Blanched Vegetables
  • Bratwurst
  • 2 kinds of Spätzle: one with gouda and mushrooms and the other without
  • Pickled beets
  • Red cabbage dish by Diane
  • Saukraut
  • Helen’s Grandma’s Cookies

Note: We used a variety of white wine glasses including five Riesing glasses I got from my grandparents with the traditional green stems. These really bring out the petrol, slate and earthy notes.

2016 Dr. Nagler Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Rudesheim Bischofsberg Feinherb
11.0% ABV, 16.8 RS, $19 SRP

Located in the Rheingau region and the town of Rudesheim, Dr. Nagler is a 6th generation winery with a history of vines there dating back to 1031!

Color: Pale straw

Nose: Petrol, grass, sulphuric, green grape must

Palate: A bit of effervescent acidity, citrus, bright tart lemon, ruby grapefruit, tangerine pith, minerals. This is a very nice light crisp riesling with a mineral finish.

Pairing: Fine with sausage and fondue, we felt it would go nice with oysters, something with capers, sand dabs or other light white fish.

2017 – Nik Weis Mosel – Urban Riesling –
10% ABV

Color: Very pale

Nose: White flowers, grass, ocean air

Palate: Green apple, peach, kiwi, diatomaceous earth, honey, pollen

Pairing: John felt this wine is very even. Dora felt that it was nice with the pickled beets. It worked with the spatzel, Sue found this wine to be very food friendly; it worked with many different flavors of the meal making it quite versatile. It would be a great restaurant wine because it went with everything well. Sue felt it would be great with Thai food.

2015 – Nik Weis Mosel – St. Urbans – Hof – Wiltinger – Alte Reben –
10.5% ABV ? RS $18 SRP

Old vines established in the 1800’s.

Color: Buttercup, like a limoncello

Nose: Rubber, petrol

Palate: Bright tart, eureka lemon, the petrol notes are also on the palate, earth, minerals, leather, pepper. Bright acidity, but not bracing.

Pairing: It liked the fattiness of the sausage. I could see this working with chicken or even duck; Asian mock duck dishes would be great.  I imagine pairing it with seafood, oysters.

2016 – Dr.Heyden Riesling Oppenheimer  Sacktrager Spätlese –
11.1% alcohol ABV 56.1 RS $18 SRP

Color: Light straw

Nose: Light petrol, grass, vinyl, machine oil.

Palate: Tart apples, grass, semi-sweet with bright acidic tang, lemon curd or lemon custard, lemon sweet tart.

Pairing: This too is a very versatile wine. When paired with pickled food, it balances the sweetness of the wine. Pairing this wine with something spicy would be great, as the sweet would balance with the heat.

2016 – Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Riesling Kabinett –
8.5% ABV 59.5 RS $25 SRP

Color: Very pale

Nose: Petrol, metal, wet stone, white stone fruit

Palate: Very sweet tart, green apple, lemon, pineapple

Diane: it is fun, zingy and nicely well balanced

Pairing: This is another food friendly wine. Likes foods that are also bright in acidity. Worked so well with the pickled beets and the cabbage that Diane made.

2016 Bollig Lehnert Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Spätlese 
7.5% ABV 58.2 RS $20 SRP

Stefan Bollig’s family has made wine since the 17th Century; they grow their grapes on a steep slope composed of blue and black decomposing slaty soil. After completing his viticultural studies in 1987, Stefan has managed the estate since 1987.

Color: Light straw

Nose: Diesel, vinyl; as it warms, tropical fruit.

Palate: Bright acidity but smooth, lemon heads candy, baking spice, diesel, tropical fruit including pineapple.

Pairing: Great with the alpine cheeses, brings out the nutmeg in the bratwurst; another wine that works well with pickled foods.

2016 – Georg Albrecht Schneider – Niersteiner Hipping Riesling Spätlese –
9.6% ABV 77.4 RS $17 SRP

For seven generations the Schneider family has owned this estate in Mosel.

Color: Pale yellow

Nose: Saline, very understated, subtle petrol, stone fruit

PalateL Nectarine, honey

Pairing: Alpine cheeses bring out the sweet tanginess in the wine and make a perfect end to any meal. The wine brings out the nuttiness of the alpine cheeses and the cheese tames the sweetness of the wine. I loved the potato dipped in the fondue for this one.

Helen’s Grandmother’s recipe

This cookie is not too sweet making it really wine wonderful!

Mix until fluffy:

  • 1 c shortening
  • 2 c sugar

Add remaining ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 5 c flour
  • 1 c sour milk (1 tsp vinegar + 1 cup milk)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Bake at 375 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Join us for our twitter chat which is live at 8am Pacific by following the hashtag #WinePW. Check out the wines and pairings from the rest of this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend Crew by clicking on the links below.

And what’s up for us in 2019? While the schedule may change, here’s what we’re planning on doing:

Jan: Argentina
Feb: Uruguay
Mar: Cab Franc
April: Biodynamic — and I’m hosting!
May: Oregon
June: South Africa
July: BBQ & Rioja
Aug: New Zealand
Sept: Slovenia
Oct: #MerlotMe
Nov: Texas
Dec: Pet Nat

Stay tuned and please subscribe!

8 thoughts on “German Riesling and Fun Fondue With Friends for #WinePW

  1. Pingback: 50 Shades of Kabinett Riesling #WinePW | foodwineclick

  2. Pingback: Coq Au Riesling #winePW - Tasting Pour by Jade Helm

  3. I never realized there were special glasses for Riesling. I love those cocktail napkins. I am still trying to figure out how to get invited to one of your fabulous gatherings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, those glasses have fallen out of favor! Quick story: I had a big fight with an ex because when I moved out I took all of them — and it turned out some of them were his and not all of them were mine from my grandparents like I thought! He insisted more of them were his so I just gave him all but 4. I di have some without the green stems but they’re not as fun. Diane got the napkins at Cantara Cellars — they are so fun! And perfect for this groups of friends. And just let me know when you come to southern California so you can join us!


  4. Hello form Germany! This ist Ursula from the Georg Albrecht Schneider estate. So great to hear that our Hipping Riesling Spätlese paired so well with the cheese. If you want to see more from us and the winery, find us on instagram: ursulaschneidermueller


Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s