Wittmann and Keller are making excellent dry rieslings that help the world remember the great wines of the Rheinhessen. These 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) are broken down into 39 districts (Bereiche) which are further broken down into collective vineyard sites (Großlagen) of which there are 167. The bright pop, the mouth-watering freshness of this riesling—and so many German wines—makes it easy to get excited. Grapes for Spätlese wines were left on the vine a little longer to get more sugar, and the resulting wine is likely to be more powerful and rich, plus sweeter than the Kabinett. While there are many great importers, folks like Terry Theise, Rudi Wiest, and Vom Boden have all built impressive portfolios of some of the most renowned estates in Germany. Adam, and Merkelbach. Still not sure if a wine is dry or sweet? From mid-1990s and during the next decade, there was an almost explosive growth of plantation of red varieties. Here's a handy trick: Look at the alcohol percentage. effects of climate change on wine production, Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter, German Wine Institute, German Wine Statistics 2019–2020, Roll out the riesling, German wines are making a comeback, German Wine Institute: Wine growing regions, Wein.de (German Agricultural Society): 13 winegrowing areas in Germany, German Wine Institute: German Wine Statistics 2017–2018, Weinverordnung (WeinV 1995), updated until Art. From this time, late harvest wines from grapes affected by noble rot have been produced intentionally. Now you can find sparkling wine made in Tasmania, Argentina, Australia, and of course the U.S. The wines are all produced around rivers, mainly the Rhine and its tributaries, often sheltered by mountains. During the last century several changes have taken place with respect to the most planted varieties. A beneficial mould that causes grapes to shrivel and sugars to concentrate, resulting in sweet, unctuous wines; common botrytis wines include Sauternes, Tokay, and German beerenauslese. This is because not all the sugar has been converted to alcohol through fermentation. As the grapes get riper, they pack in more sugar...and more intensity of flavor. Some winemakers age it in large old barrels that they've been using for Riesling for years, while others take the opposite approach with new oak barrels that'll impart more flavor. Almost nothing is known of the style or quality of "German" wines that were produced in the Roman era, with the exception of the fact that the poet Venantius Fortunatus mentions red German wine around AD 570. German wine comes predominantly from the areas along the upper and middle Rhine and its tributaries. Bowle loosely translates to punch, and it's served at every festival in Germany. Trocken refers to dry wine. Not all German rieslings are sweet, but you shouldn't steer clear of a riesling with a little residual sugar. The vineyards are extremely small compared to New World vineyards and wine making is dominated by craft rather than industry wines. Hardly any German wineries reach the size of New World winemaking companies, and only a few are of the same size as a typical Bordeaux Grand Cru Classé château. The Riesling wine includes flowery tones as well as acidity to balance the taste. Recently much more German white wine is being made in the dry style again. Red slate soils at Urziger Wurzgarten. Comments can take a minute to appear—please be patient! What are the origins of mulled wine? These wines will generally be more expensive than bottles labeled 'Trocken' or 'Selection,' but will also be powerful and complex. Keep a pot warming on your stove for the perfect taste (and smell) of Christmas! Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of German wines is the high level of acidity in them, caused both by the lesser ripeness in a northerly climate and by the selection of grapes such as Riesling, which retain acidity even at high ripeness levels. The lower the alcohol, the sweeter the wine will be. Nowadays, over 35% of the vineyards are cultivated with red grapes. Finally, grapes for Eiswein are picked and pressed in winter when they are frozen. The market share of organic wine is between four and five percent.[22]. That'll be pretty dry. Those regions, with a few exceptions overlap, with the quality wine regions. Until relatively recently, Germany specialized in somewhat sweet, white wine that's relatively low in alcohol.White grapes grow well in the cooler climate and hilly topography of the German countryside where they account for nearly 85 percent of Germany's wine … To balance the wine, unfermented grape juice, called Süssreserve, may be added after fermentation. For instance, it's called glögg in Sweden, glühwein in Germany, grzaniec galicyjski in Poland, vin brûlé in Italy, and vin chaud in France. Some HTML is OK: link, strong, em. Follow her on Twitter @stacey_gib. German wine labels can be a bit intimidating: so many words! Riesling has been documented from 1435 (close to Rheingau), and Pinot noir from 1318 on Lake Constance under the name Klebroth, from 1335 in Affenthal in Baden and from 1470 in Rheingau, where the monks kept a Clebroit-Wyngart in Hattenheim. This hot spiced wine punch is a staple at the Christmas festivites in Germany. Halbtrocken wines are off-dry and have 9–18 grams/liter of residual sugar. [13] Many smaller vineyard owners do not pursue viticulture as a full-time occupation, but rather as a supplement to other agriculture or to hospitality. Two Rheingau examples illustrate this: archbishop Ruthard of Mainz (reigning 1089–1109) founded a Benedictine abbey on slopes above Geisenheim, the ground of which later became Schloss Johannisberg. Yep, that's the sweet stuff: trocken means 'dry,' but here the term refers to the dried berries on the vine rather than the wine. Post whatever you want, just keep it seriously about eats, seriously. (Heat reflecting on the water helps, too.). Above this line the climate becomes less conducive to wine production, but there are still some vineyards above this line and the effects of climate change on wine production are growing. Think of it like this: Have you ever made fresh lemonade? The region also makes some minerally, expressive white wines, such as Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris). The oldest archeological finds that may indicate early German viticulture are curved pruning knives found in the vicinity of Roman garrisons, dating from the 1st century AD. Chaptalization is allowed only up to the QbA level, not for Prädikatswein and all wines must be fermented dry if chaptalised. During December there are mulled wine stands everywhere at the famous German Christmas markets, known as ‘Christkindlmärkte’. Before the era of Charlemagne, Germanic viticulture was practiced primarily, although not exclusively, on the western side of Rhine. The lineup starts with an estate wine that sells for $20 (delicious and fresh, with laser-like acidity), and moves up to legendary (and pricey) dessert wines. An important event took place in 1775 at Schloss Johannisberg in Rheingau, when the courier delivering the harvest permission was delayed for two weeks, with the result that most of the grapes in Johannisberg's Riesling-only vineyard had been affected by noble rot before the harvest began. These wines have less than 9 grams/liter of residual sugar. With an average annual growth rate of 25 percent and a cultivated area of more than 7,000 hectares, Germany ranks in place six worldwide. Bring in something fatty (say, crispy pork belly) and you'll discover the true triumvirate of deliciousness: acidity, sweetness, and richness are amazing together. This makes the lists of wines produced long and complex, and many wines hard to obtain as production is so limited. Many viticultural practices were however taken from other parts of the Roman empire, as evidenced by Roman-style trellising systems surviving into the 18th century in some parts of Germany, such as the Kammertbau in the Palatinate.[5]. There's another thing to look for when you're scanning labels: if you're not familiar with the winemaker, check the back of the bottle to find out who imported the wine. Look for Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese. The 2016 viticultural survey counted 15 931 vineyard owners. Halbtrocken is off-dry: perfect for that Thai or Indian dinner. These laws, introduced in 1971, define the designations still used today. More on the exceptions later.). However, there are also a number of regions for the insignificant table wine (Tafelwein) and country wine (Landwein) categories. The number of German wines produced in a lieblich style has dropped markedly since the style went out of fashion in the 1980s. Most of the Rheingau's vineyards are clustered on the northern bank of the Rhine between the towns of Assmannshausen and Wiesbaden. Can you imagine farming there? The wines that sparkle in Italy—or more specifically the Veneto region of Italy—are called Prosecco and have larger bubbles (better for cocktails) and a focus on the fruit. Here, too, a river plays a major role in ripening the grapes. (Think of them like the wine equivalent of a Puggle or Labradoodle, but maybe a bit less cute.) Top 3 Grapes: Riesling (61%), Müller-Thurgau (12.2%), Elbling (5.8%) The most famous of all German wine regions, this cool area has a continental climate and is near the border of France and Luxembourg. They have nothing to do with the sweetness of the wine after fermentation, which is one of the most common mis-perceptions about German wines. It is served hot or warm and is alcoholic, although there are non-alcoholic versions of it. Plantings was shared between traditional Spätburgunder and a number of new crossings, led by Dornfelder, while other traditional German red varieties such as Portugieser only held their ground. The great sites are often extremely steep so they catch the most sunlight, but they are difficult to harvest mechanically. For this reason, Müller-Thurgau hasn’t ever achieved the same status as Riesling, but it’s actually quite delightful when done well. German vintners on average crop their vineyards quite high, with yields averaging around 64–99 hl/ha,[16] a high figure in international comparison. Cornelius Donnhoff in the Nahe [Photo: Maggie Hoffman]. Freezing concentrates the sweet grape juice, and these wines tend to be the sweetest—and most expensive—of the bunch. The Mosel region is famous—and for good reason. I wish it could be as simple as always paying attention to the ripeness levels—the Prädikat categories above. Its spicy and sweet smell is associated with Christmas. Red grapes in Germany have experienced several ups and downs. The Rheinhessen is where cheap Liebfraumilch—a sweet white blend—came from. As a wine country, Germany has a mixed reputation internationally, with some consumers on the export markets associating Germany with the world's most elegant and aromatically pure white wines while other see the country mainly as the source of cheap, mass-market semi-sweet wines such as Liebfraumilch. The spectrum in Germany starts with table wine from anywhere in the country: that's Deutscher Wein. I rummaged in my wine fridge and found the perfect thing—a bottle of Peter Lauer's 'Barrel X' riesling. Mulled wine goes by different names, depending on the country of origin. [8] The main wine-producing climate lies below the 50th parallel, which runs through the regions Rheingau and Mosel. Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest recipes and tips! Germany is one of the top 10 wine-producing countries in the world, generating more than 3 percent of the world's wine in 2009. Red slate soils at Urziger Wurzgarten. Those who own vineyards in truly good locations also have the option of renting them out to larger producers to operate. Stacey Gibson is an Advanced Sommelier, practicing her craft as wine director at the Bruce Carey Restaurant Group in Portland, Oregon. Two digit decreases of operating owners change the structure. The Pfalz sits north of the French wine region of Alsace and enjoys a similar warm, sunny climate. Weingut Nigl Eiswein (Austria) If you are looking for an ice wine that you can leave in your wine cellar for decades, this is Weingut Nigl Eisewein . To make a clear distinction between the quality levels, the regions and subregions for different quality levels have different names on purpose, even when they are allowed to be produced in the same geographical area. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. A hot and spiced mulled wine is a great beverage to offer your guests. The subsequent decline can be attributed to locally produced beer becoming the everyday beverage in northern Germany in the 16th century, leading to a partial loss of market for wine, to the Thirty Years' War ravaging Germany in the 17th century, to the dissolution of the monasteries, where much of the winemaking know-how was concentrated, in those areas that accepted the Protestant reformation, and to the climatic changes of the Little Ice Age that made viticulture difficult or impossible in marginal areas.[5]. Since the 1980s, demand for German red wine has constantly increased, and this has resulted in a doubling of the vineyards used for red wine. While primarily a white wine country, red wine production surged in the 1990s and early 2000s, primarily fuelled by domestic demand, and the proportion of the German vineyards devoted to the cultivation of dark-skinned grape varieties has now stabilized at slightly more than a third of the total surface. Germany is the new rising star of Pinot Noir – called Spatburgunder in German. But the effort is worth it: Mosel rieslings are wonderful, with lots of acidity to complement flavors of peach, slate, and fennel. [Photo: Maggie Hoffman]. The steep slope at Urziger Wurzgarten. Approximately 60 percent of German wine production is from the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated. There are 13 defined regions ("Anbaugebiete") in Germany:[4][9]. Not that this is its only name. Below are five regions you'll most likely encounter. It's also incredibly aromatic, all jasmine and honeysuckle. Fruity, boozy, … We reserve the right to delete off-topic or inflammatory comments. A fifth of all of the wine grapes planted in Germany are riesling, so to talk about German wine, you have to start with this iconic grape. If made by the traditional method, the bubbles in sparkling wine are a consequence of secondary fermentation in a bottle or a steel tank. Some of the best sites lie along rivers, such as the Mosel and the Rhine, because the steep south-facing slopes get maximum sun. Most of the 40 625 operators of less than 0.5 ha should likely be classified as hobby winemakers. Due to the northerly location of the German vineyards, the country has produced wines quite unlike any others in Europe, many of outstanding quality. Rum with a high alcohol level is added generously to mulled wine, and the concoction is set in flames. Riesling grapes are naturally very high in acid, and the cool, northern climate of Germany means this ripping acid stays in the grapes even into the fall harvest season. There's a lot to love: Riesling can taste like peach or apricot, with a bolt of lime-like tartness. Since then the Napoleonic inheritance laws in Germany broke up the parcels of vineyards further, leading to the establishment of many cooperatives. Lieblich wines are noticeably sweet; except for the high category Prädikatsweine of type Beerenauslese and above, lieblich wines from Germany are usually of the low Tafelwein category. So winemakers let the fermentations stop before the wine is completely dry, retaining a little sweetness in order to strike balance in the wine. Some of the red grapes are also used to produce rosé. Ürziger Würzgarten is the Würzgarten vineyard in the town of Ürzig, for example. Klaus / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 Between the beers of Oktoberfest and the sticky mittens of Glühwein is the cloudy, light, young wine called Federweißer. This organization was formed to promote quality wine in Germany by requiring its members to adhere to strict guidelines. There's a lot to love: Riesling can taste like peach or apricot, with a bolt of lime-like tartness. Many winemakers make wines from each vineyard—each producer owns just a segment of the vineyard, and may farm his steep-sloped parcel of vines alongside a dozen neighbors. Gewurztraminer is a fairly flashy white grape grown predominantly in France (especially Alsace), Germany, the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, especially in pockets where the climate leans to the cooler side and the flavors have an opportunity to concentrate. Pretty helpful! The subsequent differentiation of wines based on harvested ripeness, starting with Auslese in 1787, laid the ground for the Prädikat system. Cornelius Donnhoff, who took over for his father in the winery in 2007, says he likes his rieslings "very clear, like fresh spring water." It is also very hard to find in … (This is true even if there's also a Spätlese on the bottle—that term refers to ripeness, and the Trocken is the final word on dryness.). (The only wine style not commonly produced is fortified wine.) Is the ABV 8%? They're perfect. 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