Oktoberfest is back after a two-year hiatus due to — well, you know why — in Munich, Germany.
It’s also celebrated in other German cities, as well as in many communities around the world. In Las Vegas, for instance, a four-day Oktoberfest celebration begins Thursday at The Orleans Arena, part of The Orleans Hotel and Casino complex.
In Munich, inflation has forced organizers to raise the price of a 2-pint mug of beer to between $12.84 and $14.07.
While Munich visitors will consume somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.7 million gallons of beer during the 16-day festival, Oktoberfest isn’t strictly about beer. A number of tents on the festival grounds also sell wine — mostly from Germany, but also from Austria.
The cost? About the same as for a glass of beer — except that the glass will be a whole lot smaller.
In Germany, wineries grow more than 130 varieties of grapes, but about 25% of all vineyard acreage is devoted to Riesling. Winemakers then craft the grape juice into wines ranging from bone dry to off-dry to semi-sweet to very sweet. Each sweetness designation comes with a German word that’s virtually impossible for us Americans to pronounce.
For the vast majority of these wines, no other grape varieties are utilized, and no oak barrels are used for aging.
Because of the wide spectrum of sweetness levels, there’s a Riesling available that will pair nicely with virtually every type of Oktoberfest food — yes, even bratwurst, its mild spiciness working brilliantly with an off-dry Riesling.
Dry Riesling is a wonderful pairing partner for schnitzel and German potato salad.
And when the plate of strudel arrives for dessert, a glass of semi-sweet or sweet Riesling washes down the apple and baking spice flavors perfectly.
Though we may not be able to make it to Munich this year, there’s no reason we can’t have an Oktoberfest celebration in our own home. Even if it involves a modest pretzel with some mustard for dipping, a glass of Riesling will really bring it to life.
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