Every time I walk into a wine store I see a head-to-head tasting. On this occasion I saw a pair of German whites from Dönnhoff - same vintage, different grapes, and neither a Riesling. Even better, they both hail from the German wine region of Nahe, a region I have never tasted before. And Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)? These are rare, both accounting for less than 5% of German plantings.
Both wines exhibited a marked earthiness and omnipresent mineraliness on the nose, but the 2005 Dönnhoff Weissburgunder -S- showed more honeyed-apple scents while the 2005 Dönnhoff Grauburgunder -S- sported lemon peel and floral aromas. On the palate both were extremely elegant, soft and luscious, and neither wine betrayed the high % alcohol. In particular the Weissburgunder was more flavourful and better structured with nice acidity, while the Grauburgunder was softer, more perfumey. These were stunning bottles, and one of the first "WOW" moments I have had with a white wine in quite some time.
cork. 14% alcohol
Scores: 17.5/20 (Weiss), 17.5/20 (Grau)
Prices: C$42.25, C$43.75 (SAQ)
The employee at the shop warned me that these were rather "different" vs. any other German wines I had previously tasted, but I'm not so sure - while the grapes and the 14% alcohol were unusual, there was an acidic structure and minerally backbone that was very German.
Over the past year I have spent more time on German wines (easy because my wife loves 'em), but my coverage is shallow. If you're interested in German wines I suggest a visit to Barry's or Lyle's - both sites have been an inspiration for my journey into German wine and both provide excellent coverage of all things vinous in Germany.