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German Wines
German white wines are among the finest in the world.  But surprisingly beer, and not wine is the national drink of Germany. The greatest wines are made from the noble Riesling grape. No Country's growers must take greater risks than those of Germany to create the brilliant wines upon which their reputation relies.  Central Germany is as far north as you can go and still have a reasonable chance of ripening any of the classic grapes.  But the genius of the Riesling grape is that , if you allow it to ripen slowly through long, cool summers, and are lucky enough to have a balmy autumn, it is capable of a sublime balance between fruit acidity and fruit sweetness that is unique in the world - even at ridiculously low alcohol levels and very high levels of acid.  The true Riesling grapes produce wines of excellent taste, with hint of peaches, honey, and daffodils. At their best, the taste of these wines is rich and full, showing great depth. Many German wines are sweet as winemakers makes great efforts to achieve that sweetness which, by law, must be entirely natural, with no sugar added to the wine.

 

Winemaking is only possible in many parts of Germany when four elements come together; site, climate, soil, and grape.  With the greatest of these being site.  Nearly all the vineyard are in the southern half of the country.  The best vines are often grown where no other crops will flourish: on slopes too steep for cows, or where the soil is too poor or shallow over the underlying rock for wheat to put down roots.  But steep slopes have great advantages for vines.  They offer shelter from the wind, particularly if they are crowned by wood  or if there is a  mountain range behind.  In order to maximize the sunshine and warmth that the vines so despartly need, the slopes must be south, west or east facing, depending on the type of sunlight needed.  the best kind of slope of all is in a river valley.

 

Rivers are crucial to vine-growing in Germany.  Nearly all the great wine areas are close to rivers and their tributaries.  The reason is that an expanse of water has the effect of moderating extremes of temperature.  It helps ward off frosts and give humidity in hot, dry summers; and the water reflects heat and light back on to the banks, particularly if they are very steep.

 

German wine grapes

Riesling

Muller-Thurgau

Kerner

Silvaner

Rieslaner

scheurebe

Huxelrebe

Siegerrebe

Weissburgunder

Grauburgunder

Spatburgunder

 

Major grape growing regions

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

Nahe

Rheingau

Rheinhessen

RheinPfalz

 

Other grape growing regions

Ahr

Franken

Wurtemberg

Baden

Hessische Bergstrasse

Understanding German wines can be a very demanding affair, partly because the language of German wines is so different than that used everywhere else in the world. All that is needed to enjoy them is the knowledge of a few basic terms.

Quality Categories

Deutscher Tafelwein: Basic table wine from 4 main regions.

Landwein: Similar to France's vin de pays, from any of 17 regions.

Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) From designated regions, they are permitted to add sugar to the juice when natural ripeness has not produced enough and yields are high, these wines are usually ordinary.

Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP): Quality wine with special attributes.  They are divided into 6 categories of ascending levels of ripeness, and typically account for the majority of high quality wines exported out of Germany.  The categories of QmP wines are; Kabinett- made from ripe grapes, most are light, and may have a little as 7 percent alcohol.  Most Kabinett wines are fermented dry or off-dry.  Spatlese-made from late-picked grapes, they can also be made in a dry or off dry style.  Auslese-made from selected bunches of late-picked grapes.  Some Auslesen are made from botrytis-affected grapes and are sweet to very sweet, some are made in a "Trocken" or dry style.  Beerenauslese-made from individually selected berries affected by noble rot.  This wine is very sweet. Trockenbeeerenauslese-made from individually selected berries that are shrivelled with over ripeness.  The wines are intensely sweet and very rare.  Eiswein-made from sound grapes, picked and pressed while naturally frozen.

 

Important wine producers

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

Joh. Jos. Christoffel

Fritz Haag

Von-Hovel

Immich-Batterieberg

Karlsmuhle

Heribert Kerpen

Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt

Dr. Loosen

Maximin Grunhaus

Egon Muller

Joh. Jos. Prum

Schloss Saarstein

Willi Schaefer

Selbach-Oster

Dr. H. Thanisch

Dr. Wagner

Wegeler-Deinhard

Dr. Weins-Prum

Zilliken

 

Nahe

Paul Anheuser

Crusius

Hermann Donnhof

Schlossgut Diel

 

Rheingau

J.B. Becker

Hans Hermann Eser

Graf Von Kanitz

Schloss Johannisberg

Freiherr Zu Knyphausen

Franz Kunstler

Langwerth Von Simmern

Dr. Heinrich Nagler

Schloss Reinhartshausen

Schloss Schonborn

Schloss Vollrads

Wegeler-Deinhard

Robert Weil

Werner'sches Domdechant

 

Rheinhessen

Gunderloch

Louis Guntrum

Heyl Zu Herrnsheim

Burgermeister Carl Koch Erben

Georg Albrecht Schneider

Villa Sachsen

 

Rheinpfalz

Bassermann-Jordan

Reichsrat Von Buhl

Dr. Burklin-Wolf

Koehler-Ruprecht

Lingenfelder

Georg Mossbacher

Muller-Catoir

Pfeffingen

Karl Schaefer

Wegeler-Deinhard

 

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