Last week grocery shopping in Rewe, I found wine bottles kept in the refrigerator section right at the entrance, as an amateur wine enthusiast, I had to check that out! That’s how I discovered Fedeweisser.
The fresh new wine is extracted before fermenting process truly begins. It’s light, sweet, bubbly, and truly perfect for the weather. Because of its sweet taste, the wine does not have a high alcohol content, but it can increase if conserve for more days. When bottled, the wine is typically around 5%, but it continues to ferment and can reach up to 11% alcohol. Hence, vintners package it with holes on top to let gas escape and prevent the wine from becoming a Molotov cocktail.
The name translates to ‘Feather-White’ for the tiny yeast particles that float in the white wine making it a bit cloudy. ‘Roter Rauscher’ or ‘Federroter’ is the name for the red-wine version of the same. The drink is called by different names in different wine-producing regions of Germany it is known as Suser, Sauser, Neuer-Süßer (new-sweet), or Junger Wein (young wine) in Southwest Germany, Switzerland and South Tyrol, Neuer Wein (new wine) in the Palatinate, Federweiser in Franconia, Fiederwäissen in Luxembourg, Sturm (storm, from the cloudy appearance) in Austria.
It wasn’t until I started researching this article that I found the importance of this fedewiesser culture and its economic implications on the Rhine valley. In Rhineland-Palatinate alone, around two million liters of Federweißer are sold yearly. This is a lot of wine for a country that’s more famously known for its beers.
Originally, the drink is paired with an onion and bacon flatbread called ‘zwieblekuchen’. Similar to Flammkuchen, an Alsacian dish. However, I think one can also experiment with sweet-savory toppings on the flatbread. While the Germans claim the supremacy of the onion bread, I believe if you got a sweet tooth, some sweet cheese and tart berry compote can also be very decadent with this drink. Moreover, the white one also goes well with goat cheese-crackers with some figs and honey on the side, or enjoy it with some hearty quiche.
As the temperatures are still warm, I believe the best way of celebrating the Golden October weekend, is to get a bottle of the young wine with a picnic blanket on the Rhine or Neckar Wissen with your friends before the season ends in mid-November.
-by Simran Biliye.