Much of Germany’s reputation has often been based on wines made from the Riesling. However, this country has a more diverse and thriving winemaking tradition than is often thought. The northerly area of the German vineyards, has allowed it to create wines unlike any others in Europe. Traditionally the wines have been overwhelmingly white and the finest made from Riesling in sweet and semi-sweet style. However, as of late much more German white wine is being made within the dry fashion.
German wine is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its various tributaries, with some plating going back to the Roman era. Germany has around 252,000 acres of vineyard with a total wine production is usually around 10 million hectoliters annually, making Germany the ninth-largest wine-producing country in the world. With White wine accounting for almost two thirds of the total production.
Regions of Germany
The Ahr is one of Europe’s most northern wine regions and also one of the smallest in Germany. Know for its impressive wines; Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is the dominant grape variety in the (80% of the wine of the region are made from it).
This Germanys most southern region. Reaching around 240 miles along the Rhine from Bodensee to Heidelberg. This is a region with a rich tradition of food and its wines reflect this. Expect dry Burgundian style Reds and Whites. Plantings of Pinot Noir as well as Rivaner vineyards along with other classic whites such as Riesling and Silvaner.
- Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir)
- Frühburgunder (Pinot Noir Précoce)
- Blauer Lemberger
- St. Laurent
- Syrah / Shiraz
- Cabernet Franc
- Malbec / Côt
- Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner)
- Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
- Sauvignon Blanc
This wine must be from one of the 13 wine-growing regions and the region must be displayed on the label. It is a entry level wine made for everyday drinking (although some top dry wines are officially Qualitätswein although they would qualify as Prädikatswein). Qualitätswein wines can range from dry to semi-sweet, and the style is often indicated on the label.
This is the top certification of German wines. These prominently display a Prädikat (ripeness level designation) on the label. Prädikatswein range from dry to intensely sweet. These wines have to be produced from designated grape varieties in one of the 39 subregions of one of the 13 wine-growing regions (required to be displayed on the label)
Ripeness of grapes is measured in Oechsle, and, according to Mr. Eilers, goes from least ripe to ripest like this:
Made from fully ripened grapes. This is a a light, low-alcohol wine made from fully-ripened grapes. Typically these wines are drank young and are typically semi-sweet.
This term may have originated as indicating the winemaker felt it was good enough to put in his own cabinet rather than offer it for sale.
Spätlese means “late harvest,” as, compared to Kabinett. The grapes are riper as they picked at least 7 days after normal harvest They can be made dry or have some sweetness often offset by the high acidity
Meaning “selected harvest.” These grapes very ripe often hand selected, and many times are slightly affected by botrytis. These wines are normally age very well. More often than not sweet, these can also be made into powerful dry wines
Meaning berry selected. These wines are made from overly ripes and individually selected from bunches. Typically these grapes have been affected by botrytis and so make rich dessert wines.
Made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine, making an extremely concentrated wine. They must reach the same sugar level as Beerenauslese.
These grapes are raisin-like at the time of picking and are often affected by noble rote. Because of their rarity these wines are the most expensive German wines. Due to the high sugar concentration the wines have a low alcohol content.
Dönnhoff, Riesling ‘Tonschiefer Dry Slate’ 2016
Dönnhoff, Riesling ‘Tonschiefer Dry Slate’ 2017
Dönnhoff, Riesling ‘Tonschiefer Dry Slate’ 2018
Dönnhoff, Riesling Kabinett ‘Oberhauser Leistenberg’ 2018
Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba 2016
Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba 2017
Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba 2018
Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba Dry 2017
Dönnhoff, Riesling Qba Dry 2018
Dönnhoff, Riesling Spätlese ‘Norheimer Kirschheck’ 2017
Dr Loosen, Riesling Auslese ‘Wehlener Sonnenuhr’ 2017 (Quarter Bottle)
Dr Loosen, Riesling Sekt Extra Dry NV
Fürst, Astheimer Chardonnay 2017
Fürst, Chardonnay R 2018
Fürst, Frühburgunder Bürgstadter Berg Erste Lage 2017
Fürst, Pinot Noir Tradition 2018
Fürst, Pur Mineral Silvaner 2018
Fürst, Sekt Pinot Noir Rosé Mousseux Brut 2015
Fürst, Spätburgunder Bürgstadter Berg Erste Lage 2017
Jean Stodden, Spätburgunder 2018
Jean Stodden, Spätburgunder JS 2017
Leitz, Riesling Qba ‘Dragonstone’ 2017
Leitz, Riesling Spatlese ‘Rüdesheimer Magdalenkreuz’ 2016
Leitz, Riesling Trocken ‘Rüdesheimer Berg Schlossberg’ 2013
Schnaitmann, Grauburgunder Steinwiege Trocken 2017
Schnaitmann, Lämmler Lemberger VDP Grosses Gewächs 2017
Schnaitmann, Simonroth Lemberger 2016
Weingut Bergdolt-Reif & Nett, Spätburgunder Troken ‘Paranoia’ NV