With my limited experience tasting German wines, I offer a few tips to the uninitiated:
1) Do not randomly try German wines off the shelf if you are looking for a dry, white wine. They are frequently 'off dry', that is slightly sweet. While it is amusing to watch your dinner guests react to them, I would hardly consider the 'What the hell was that?' look a 'success'. Make sure they are 'into' off dry wines...
2)Remember the word 'Trocken' - while the off dry wines are delicious, they may not always be a perfect pairing for your meals. Make sure you have a good pairing in mind for an off dry German (or Alsatian, Austrian, Canadian, etc.) white.
I will admit that German wine is a bit of a mystery for me, due to the limited availability here in Montreal. Moreover, I have note yet identified a few good houses, and the label terminology is not at the tip of my tongue. A project for this summer, perhaps.
Anyway, while I thought an Alsace white would be just the thing for tonight's dinner, my wife decided a German Spatlese was in order. The 2003 Schloss Lieser Niederberg-Helden Riesling Spatlese, Qualitatswein mit Pradikat, hails from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (MSR) region of Germany, a region famous for its white wines. Pale straw yellow in colour with a hint of bubbles, the candy apple and pineapple scents give way to lemons, earth, toast, and some faint, signature Riesling petrol. On the palate it was off-dry and crisp at the same time, balanced and smooth. Delicious on its own, it also paired decently with a BBQ pork chop covered in some homemade applesauce - have you had your desert for dinner today? Yum. Ready now, or over the next few years.
PS - my apologies to my German readers for not having all of the accents in the right places.