Give German wines a chance to surprise you this year

If you love exploring new wines, give these German varieties a try. Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

If you love exploring new wines, give these German varieties a try. Krista Slater for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

If your knowledge of German wines is limited to riesling, you’re missing out.

We’ve made the plea for riesling in the past, and while we won’t give up on rolling that boulder up the hill, that’s not our focus this time. Germany has a centuries-old wine culture that often is misunderstood and generally is overshadowed by its larger beer culture.

The wines are not all sweet and they’re not all riesling (or white wine, for that matter). While you can spend a lot of money (usually on riesling), a lot of truly great German wines come in around $30 a bottle or less. Plus, some are incredibly food-friendly and food-versatile, thanks to the higher acidity and lower alcohol levels.

When you want to explore wines of a certain region, a good rule of thumb is to find a passionate importer who specializes in that area. So on this journey, trust Vom Boden to be your guide. Vom Boden (German for “from the soil”) is an importer dedicated to great German wines and highlights small producers who are dedicated to their craft and their particular patch of land.

The company has a portfolio that runs the spectrum from hyper classic to unexpected and experimental, and every bottle we’ve tasted from this importer has been exceptional, from the entry-level to the collectible stuff.

Here are a few wines from Vom Boden we’ve recently enjoyed:

Brand pet-nat. If you are a fan of this category of natural, fizzy wine, this wispy blend of weissburgunder (aka pinot blanc) and sylvaner is one to seek out. It tastes of salted green melon and clean citrus. And while unfiltered and cloudy, it is clean, not funky in flavor.

Hild elbling trocken. Elbling is a grape you’ve likely never heard of or tasted. The ancient grape is grown in the Obermosel region of Germany, where chalky white limestone is more prevalent than the slate soil that we expect from the Mosel region. Prepare for the warm weather ahead and stock up by the caseful on this vibrant light white, which typically sells for under $20 a bottle; and if you find their Sekt, a tasty sparkling elbling, grab a case of that as well.

Emrich-Schönleber Frühlingsplätzchen riesling GG. If you feel up for a splurge, this is a producer we implore you to seek out. This particular wine is a riesling from a special single vineyard, what they would call a grand cru in France, and it has beautiful balance and complexity, and is mineral-forward, floral and captivating. And, yes, it is dry.

Jochen Beurer trollinger. Germany has really delicious red wines, and this is one we seek out every vintage. Trollinger, which goes under the name schiava in Italy, is light-bodied and loaded with juicy, peppery red fruit. Beurer also makes a delicious rosé from trollinger that is a gulpable summer favorite.

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