Ready to wine down and chill?

If you’re looking for food and wine inspiration, then you’ve come to the right place. Return here each Friday to find a food and wine column. We make it fun to read, plus we offer terrific wine-movie pairings that go with the theme-of-the-week. You never know what’s next for our “Wine Down for the Weekend” column. Read on for an easy-to-prepare-at-home paired with an affordable wine and a viewing suggestion. We’re here to help you sit back, wine down and chill.

Zum wohl!

This week’s selection is the Mosselland Riesling, Painted Landmark. Rieslings are generally recognized as a sweeter wine. They are not quite saccharine enough to be in the dessert category, but they are typically not suitable for the palette that is seeking a crisp wine. I’ve known several people who sampled Rieslings as their first wines then evolved to other wines once they established which flavors they liked best. But, Rieslings like those made by Mosselland are a good staple for your rotation. Total Wine sells it for around $13 a bottle which makes it easy to keep in your rotation stable.

Wine down and chill

Chill then wine down with this Riesling

Indeed, “Zum wohl!”, which is toasting “to your health” is never a bad thing. And it’s even better when you’re toasting with a glass of German Riesling wine. As it is with all cultures, there is a certain way to toast, and a certain way not to toast. For example, the Germans believe that if you do not make eye contact during a toast, you are going be plagued with a poor love life for seven years! Culturally, it’s also more acceptable to simply refuse to partake. People understand if you don’t want a drink, no questions asked. To my knowledge, there is no German Heritage Month or some such celebration, but we’re going to raise our glasses anyway this week, clinking with a loud, “Prost!”

Weinland Rheinland-Pfalz

Since this is the first Riesling that we’ve featured in our Wine Down and Chill weekly column, we’re going to spend a little time digging into them. The Mosel River runs through the core of Germany’s Wineland and no doubt influenced the name of today’s featured winery. The mineral-rich, high slate content of the sloping hillsides that flank the river makes the area famous. This terroir is particularly well suited to growing Rieslings. At nearly 70° incline, the hills are more than merely “sloping.” In fact, the vines are notoriously challenging to tend to here. Most likely this contributes to their appeal as these grapes are highly sought after. Plus, danger always adds an inexplicably awesome element to everything, doesn’t it?

Riesling is one of the oldest noble grapes. Characteristic notes include exotic fruits and a heaviness to the wine. Here is where Mosselland Riesling, Painted Landmark, differs from most of the others in this category. It is light, well balanced, crisp, slightly acidic but still has that wonderful pear, guava-like fruity bouquet that Rieslings are known for. Late harvests of Rieslings, which occur in late September to early October, allow the grapes to attain high levels of sugar and are hence, significantly sweeter than those harvested at the traditional period in early to mid-September. Riesling grapes left on the vines through the winter are sweeter still and harvested in the depths of darkness and bitter cold in January as the source of highly coveted ice wines. More on those another time… 

Brats ‘n’ beer wine

Today’s food pairing, in keeping with our lederhosen-esque theme, is just about as German is it gets. Exactly – we have bratwurst nestled in sauerkraut and a bun. Garnish with some spicy mustard and throw down! This week, our make-at-home dinner is so easy that you need fewer than five ingredients and only a couple of steps.

Three ingredients and three steps

One, select your bratwurst. If you’re seeking a full-flavored vegan option, consider the Lane Veggie Bratwurst from Whole Foods. Stab them repeatedly with a fork then throw them on the grill or fry them up in a pan if you prefer.

Two, the sauerkraut by Boar’s Head has the right balance of crispness, acidity, and flavor. The added bonus is that you can serve it right out of the bag. Of course, it’s better if you warm it up first.

Three, add the brats and sauerkraut to a fresh bun and top liberally with your favorite mustard. I like Koop’s Düsseldorf Mustard for this dish.

Pour yourself a glass of Riesling, add a little ice. As you know from prior columns, I like my whites icy cold to wine down and chill.

Berlin – I love you

Netflix is debuting “Berlin – I love you” starring Keira Knightley, whom I adore as an actress and an extensive cast.  Jenna Dewan is one of nearly 20 actors featured in the film. One of which is the divine Dame Helen Mirren who adds interest and depth to every character that she plays.

The movie is the latest in the series paying homage to cities of love. “Love Series” has already featured New York, Paris, and Rio. The movie is layered with ten different stories (hence the large cast) of people living within Berlin. Thematically, love is at the core of each of the relationships but they are not solely heterosexual love stories. As we know, this is Pride Month and not all relationships are sexual. Some are simply based on friendships. This is not uncommon, particularly in large cities where people are seeking to belong to a community. However, as the movie portrays, finding those new friends and building those relationships in a big city can be complicated.

Finally, it’s time to wine down and chill.

Prost!