You would think that finding a red wine with less than 12.5% alcohol in Germany would be a piece of cake. I did too, when I read the theme that Tim, over at Winecast, picked for WBW#22: low alcohol reds. Think again: scanning the local stores, the lowest % alcohol German reds I managed to find are exactly on that limit. I only managed to come across one single bottle of red with 12% – from the sunny Italian island of Sardinia nonetheless – but having already decided for a German wine, I picked a local product of the Saale Unstrut wine region.
I never thought the alcohol percentage in a wine would make me feel old, yet it did. I was telling Daniela how 13-14% wines were considered alcohol bombs back when I started getting interested in wine-tasting and she just looked at me, smiled and told me I sounded like a pensioner rambling about the "good old times". Isn't she the loveliest wife? Nonetheless, I do miss having more low-alcohol every day wines at hand, especially to go with this season's cuisine and temperatures... even if I sound like a moaning old man when I say so!
The wine I picked for this edition of WBW is a 2004 Saale Unstrut Qualitaetswein made by the local Thüringer Weingut Bad Sulza from Regent grapes. I had never tried Regent before. This is hybrid grape variety with high resistance to fungal diseases, which is said to produce either warm wines from cold terroirs or products that resemble Rhone wines in their aroma. It is certainly becoming increasingly popular in Germany, and to some extent in England too. The wine itself is a special edition bottle released for the bicentenary German-French celebrations of the battles of Jena and Auerstedt between the Napoleonic troops and the Prussian-Saxon alliance.
The wine itself opens on fruity notes of damsons, blackberries and raspberries, with just a touch of cloves, leather and earth following, but it slightly lacks cleanness, closing on a weak chemical-waxy note. It is well balanced in taste, where the fruity notes return albeit less defined than in the bouquet; the finish is medium closing with a not too pleasing bitter note.Though not completely disappointing, it is another Saale Unstrut red that falls short of expectations, contrary to what I am discovering about the local whites.