german wine

Celebrate Oktoberfest with Grapes, Not Hops: Try Five Tasty German Wines

While there’s no denying that a stein of German beer is an easy choice for celebrating Oktoberfest, you shouldn’t forget that Germany is also known for making some truly world-class wines – many of which are not sweet! If beer isn’t your thing, or if you just want to try something new this month, you’re in luck. Check out these spots for quality German wines in the DMV. Prost!

Sparkling Wine
2011 Hofgut Falkenstein Riesling Sekt Brut
Region: Mosel
Where to get it: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill
Price: $29.99/bottle
Why you’ll love it: This sparkling riesling is dry and complex, with savory ginger notes that shine alongside the racy acidity. For lovers of sparkling wine, this is likely to become your new go-to; it’s easy to drink alone and has endless versatility with food pairings. Can’t make it into the store? You can also order online.  Schneider’s of Capitol Hill: 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC;

Dry White Wine
2014 Hild Elbling Trocken
Region: Mosel
Where to get it: Eatbar
Price: $35/bottle
Why you’ll love it: This varietal, elbling, is rarely seen on its own, so head to new Barracks Row hotspot Eatbar to check it out. If you love the summertime favorite Vinho Verde, this is a great wine to try. It’s light but flavorful, showing notes of tart lime, apple and chalky minerality alongside the refreshing acidity that makes it all too easy to drink a couple of glasses with no problem.  Eatbar: 415 8th St. SE, DC;

Off-Dry (i.e., a little sweet) White Wine
2014 Dönnhoff Riesling
Region: Nahe
Where to get it: Northside Social in Arlington
Price: $13/glass or $55/bottle
Why you’ll love it: This complex riesling is spicy, mineral-driven and to put it rather simply, just plain delicious. The soft sweetness is never cloying and the lively acidity keeps the wine fresh and crisp, with notes of citrus zest and herbs shining on the long finish. This producer consistently makes stunning wines, and this one is no exception. Think you don’t like riesling? This Dönnhoff might just change your mind.  Northside Social: 3211 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA;

2015 Schäfer Fröhlich Blanc de Noir Trocken Rosé
Region: Nahe
Where to get it: Cafe Berlin
Price: $15/glass or $60/bottle
Why you’ll love it: Enjoy these final warm days on Cafe Berlin’s patio with a glass of this dry rosé made exclusively from pinot noir grapes. It’s incredibly light in color – somewhere between a white and rosé at first glance – but packed with fruity flavors of apricot, strawberries and white flowers. Cafe Berlin will also have a special Oktoberfest menu; keep an eye on their website for details.  Cafe Berlin: 322 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC;  

2011 Becker Family Pinot Noir
Region: Pfalz
Where to get it: MacArthur Beverages
Price: $17.99/bottle
Why you’ll love it: Also known as spätburgunder, this pinot noir has an amazing value. The wine has something for all pinot lovers: it’s fruity and spicy – with highlights of dark cherry, cranberry and baking spice – and also earthy, showing flavors of truffles, bramble and a twinge of peppery minerality. Enjoy it on its own or pair with all the Oktoberfest brats you can get your hands on. MacArthur Beverages: 4877 MacArthur Blvd. NW, DC;


Tess Ankeny

Tess has been writing wine-related features for On Tap since 2014. She is a Certified Sommelier (CS), Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) and a Certified Wine Educator (CWE).