One of the duties of a wine is to refresh. That's why the grape's acidity is still there, in the same way that any apple tastes better if it's crisp rather than overripe or flat. For a meal like this, refreshment is key; more people might prefer beer with their brats, for that reason alone.
But many wines, from all over the globe, would pair deliciously with this preparation; the brat will taste even brat-ier if paired with one of them. Just pick reds, whites, pinks and sparklers that are fresh, crisp and lively and low on ponderous tannin and alcohol.
The food: Sausages with riesling-mustard 'kraut
Cut 4 bratwurst lengthwise almost through each sausage; open up. Grill until cooked through and browned, about 10 minutes. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 1/2 onion, sliced thinly; cook, stirring, over medium-high heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup riesling; cook to reduce slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 package (16 ounces) refrigerated sauerkraut, rinsed; season with salt and pepper. Heat through. Place bratwurst in poppy seed buns; top with sauerkraut.
2012 Domaine Gerovassiliou White Blend, Epanomi, Greece: A 50/50 blend of Greek grapes malagouzia and assyrtiko from the fellow who saved the first one from extinction; crisp, lively, aromatic, delicious. $15-$20
2010 Bodegas Olivares Monastrell "Altos de la Hoya," Jumilla, Spain: Made with monastrell (known elsewhere as mourvedre), this Spanish wine is such a great price for smooth, juicy red with low tannin, soft texture and gobs of clack-red fruit flavor; price is a big bonus. $11
2011 Poet's Leap Riesling, Columbia Valley, Washington: German input assures that these U.S. grapes become refreshingly crisp and zesty as a wine, with nary a hint of sugar and gorgeous scents of apples, citrus and spice. $20
— Bill St. John, Special to Tribune Newspapers