I knew Germany made red wine, but until I encountered Villa Wolf’s Dornfelder for $12.99 at Evolution Wines & Spirits, I’d never seen or consumed any. I assumed the wine wine would be highly acidic and quite tart in character – what the industry might call a “stern” wine – but this was nothing of the sort.
Dornfelder is a grape native to Germany and is the second most planted red variety next to Pinot Noir. In the glass it has a deep ruby color with a fuchsia/purply pink rim. Upon seeing the color, I assumed the wine would be quite tannic and would suck the spit out of my mouth in an instant. However, this was not the case: the wine is silky smooth on the palate and is actually pleasing when slightly chilled.
A word about chilling red wine: Red wine is typically not chilled because chilling the wine enhances the sensation of tannins sucking the moisture out of your mouth. So if you chill a Cabernet Sauvignon, which has very high tannins, it will taste like drinking red chalk water. You can get away with lightly chilling reds with very subtle tannins such as this Dornfelder or even a Beaujolais Nouveau.
On the nose, it is all ripe and almost candied strawberries, cherries, and raspberries with a hint of went earth. The wine is off dry – meaning there is a hint of residual sugar but it is not quite in dessert territory yet – with medium to high acidity. The acidity is tempered by the residual sugar so it’s not going to make your jaw twinge. I’d tell you about the finish, but I didn’t notice one.
I will tell you that this is not a wine for an expensive dinner party or one that will impress your wine-snob friends. It is simply a good, easy drinking, causal wine to be enjoyed at an outdoor barbecue or on lazy Sunday afternoon.