If anyone offers to sell you a bottle of 40 year old Dornfelder, refuse it. Unless they can give excellent reasons for its existence then they are probably lying as the grape was only released for cultivation in 1979 having been created in 1956. It has since become a major player in the German wine industry as it offers deep colour, so often missing in other German grown grapes. It is now the second most planted variety in the country.
Apart from the assistance it gives other grapes, Dornfelder produces wines of high quality on its own. Originally it was used to produce wines of a Beaujolais Noveau character, but now with low yields encouraged and the use of oak, wines with complexity and good body are being released.
A very dark inky ruby red, this wine has a nose which is creamy and earthy with notes of cooked dark berry fruit. On the palate, there is full, ripe dark fruit, loganberries and blackberries, with a chalky, earthy overtone and a slightly herbal note.
Whilst there are small amounts grown in Switzerland and the Czech Republic, Germany is the main producer of Dornfelder.
Due to its lineage, a cross between Helfensteiner and Heroldrebe, it is often thought to contain DNA from every red grape grown in Germany.
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