Fall is when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of … football! And with football comes that uniquely American pre-game ritual: tailgating!
Tailgating. An American tradition that, while not quite as old as Thanksgiving, actually has quite a bit in common with the all-American holiday. It starts with a gathering of family and friends who might not otherwise find time to be together in the same place. It’s followed by a football game that, for some at least, is the primary reason for the gathering. And in the middle is a meal consisting of several of the most diverse dishes to share a plate.
And all of that food needs a good drink. Beer has been the traditional beverage of choice with tailgaters. The Germanic style consumed here in the States is well suited for the abundance of sausages, sauerkraut, and of course “sandwiches of Hamburg.”
Those Germanic origins and Thanksgiving similarities are what lead Your Private Wineaux to Riesling as the optimal wine pair for the tailgate party. Riesling pairs well with a wide variety of foods meaning it can match up with whatever is cooking. Bratwurst and other pork sausages and meats are natural pairs straight from a Mosel Weinfest, while spicier foods like Buffalo wings and Cajun shrimp are tempered nicely by the slight sweetness of a typical German Riesling. Burgers are red meat, but the smoky char from grilling is a nice foil to the white Riesling’s minerality, while the natural fruitiness compliments fresh fruit and grilled vegetables nicely.
Any well-made German Riesling from any region would be a good choice for the tailgate party. Your Private Wineaux recommends a selection from the Nahe such as the 2009 Paul Anheuser Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Riesling Spätlese. The diversity of guests requires a wine with mass appeal and the Nahe wines — not as rich as those of the Mosel, nor as steely dry as Rheingau offerings — bring that in a premium wine for a penny-pinching price. The Anheuser gives stone fruit and actual stone on the nose and palate with an appealing, almost hop-like darkness on the finish. It’s well-structured with enough firm, but not bracing, acidity to let it age well, but it’s a great drinker now. Your Private Wineaux would even recommend it as an entry point into premium Rieslings.
But for now, enjoy it with the masses. Besides, with a name like Anheuser, you may convert some diehard beer hounds.