Sunday, September 27, 2009

In the Glass: Federweisser - Between Wine and Juice

Picture: Federweisser and onion tart

I have not seen this in the Washington area, but in the Frankfurt area it is now widely available: Federweisser.

This is grape must, which is in the process of fermenting. Typically, when you buy it, it is at the early stage of fermentation. It has 4% of alcohol or a bit more and tastes like fizzy lemonade.

Over time, as it continues to ferment,the sweetness goes away. This process continues until an alcohol content of about 13 percent has been reached. The Federweisser assumes a dry and often bitter taste at this stage. It is become badly made wine.

Federweisser is available in Germany from early September to late October, and is generally served together with hearty, savory food. The classic combination is Federweisser and Zwiebelkuchen (onion tart).

Two final points: As the fermentation of the Federweisser continues in your stomach, it is advisable to limit consumption to a glass or two at the most. My mother can tell you a painful story about disregarding this.

Federweisser has nothing to do with Beaujolais Nouveau, which is finished wine that however has not benefited from any or very little aging and is sold starting the third Thursday in November of each year.

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