Grafen Neipperg
Lemberger "Württemberg"

13% ABV | Price: about $15

Germans call this grape lemberger, but in Austria, where it's more widely planted, they call it blaufränkisch. It's not unlike gamay in its body and flavor profile, and until DNA evidence proved otherwise, gamay was thought to be its forebear. It's a light-bodied red with moderate acidity, and this one has just a hint of residual sweetness, which makes it enormously food-friendly.

The color is limpid garnet with a faint brickish cast at its rim. Aromas of dusty raspberry and blackberry mingle with faint green tea and an herbaceousness pleasantly evocative of late September afternoons. The aromas have a bewitching suppleness—not sharp nor fruity, not oaky nor caramelized—just beautiful blackberry bramble fruit an an earthiness that says this wine was grown, not made. It smells like Indian Summer.

It is light-bodied on the palate, and here offers blackberries in full fruit, a juicy mouthful cut by that bitter snap blackberries use to tell you their true purpose, that they're really a conveyance for seeds, and that you are simply their minion. This wine has some tannin, and so there is black tea, now, not green tea, with good acidity. The finish is lithe and graceful.

This is an absolutely stunning pairing for the chicken I roasted tonight on a bed of red onions and blood oranges. The flavors commingle beautifully with the bitterness of the roasted citrus rind, the sweetness of the fruit and caramelized onions, and the savory chicken pan juices.

This is old world, not new, and a stunning bargain. Drink it now.


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