If I were to cover all of them, this page would go on forever. Therefore, I'll cover the most well known of German whites and reds, some which you might find surprising. German wineis light, lively and fruity and differs from wines of other countries thanks to Germany's unique climatic and geological conditions. With the exception of Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen in the east, the wine-growing regions are concentrated in the south and southwestern part of country. These regions are among the most northerly wine regions in the world and straddle the border between the humid gulf stream climate of the west and the dry continental climate of the east.
The long growing season and moderate summer temperatures bring forth filigree wines that are relatively low in alcohol. The diversity of German wine stems from the many soil types and grape varieties, there is no "uniform" type or style of German wine and this diversity is reflected in Germany's wine-growing regions.
The Wine Regions of Germany
Beginning just below Bonn and extending about 60 miles south along the banks of the Rhine, the Mittelrhein is a beautiful region of steep, terraced vineyards and some of the wine world's most splendid scenery — medieval castles and ruins clinging to rocky peaks, sites of ancient legends where Siegfried, Hagen and the Loreley seem to spring to life. Nearly three-fourths of the vineyards are planted with the noble Riesling grape. The clayish slate soil yields lively wines with a pronounced acidity. In years when the wines are particularly austere, they are sold to the producers of Sekt , Germany's sparkling wine, where high acidity is an asset.
a result, the late-ripening Riesling plays a minor role. Müller-Thurgau (also called Rivaner), Silvaner and new crossings, such as Bacchus and Kerner, are the most important white varieties. Red wine grapes thrive in the western portion of the region between Aschaffenburg and Miltenberg.The finest Franken wines are traditionally bottled in a Bocksbeutel, a squat green or brown flagon with a round body, which lends considerable recognition value to the region's wines.
A List of German Wines (cus folks love lists)
- Silvaner, Kerner
- Bacchus, Scheurebe
- Grauer Burgunder
- Weißer Burgunder
- Faberrebe, Huxelrebe
- Gutedel, Morio-Muskat
The Müller-Thurgau, or Rivaner, is the second most widely planted grape in Germany and accounts for about a fifth of the total vineyard area. It is named after Professor Müller of Thurgau, Switzerland, who created it in 1882, by crossing Riesling and Gutedel — not, as previously assumed, Riesling and Silvaner. It yields about 30% more than Riesling and ripens earlier, usually in the latter part of September. While it requires less sun and makes few demands of the climate, it does need more rain than Riesling, as well as soil with good drainage. Its wines are generally light, with a flowery bouquet and less acidity than Riesling. Müller-Thurgau often carries a hint of Muscat in its flavor. The wines are best consumed while fresh and young. Dry versions are increasingly marketed under the synonym Rivaner.
Bred in the Pfalz and given the Latin name for Dionysos, the Greek God of Wine, Bacchus is a crossing of (Silvaner x Riesling) x Müller-Thurgau. It is a large yielder that, with sufficient ripeness, can produce fruity wines with a distinctive, aromatic bouquet and a light Muscat tone. Bacchus is grown primarily in the Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Franken and Nahe regions.
In Germany, the Spätburgunder is to red wine what the Riesling is to white wine: the cream of the crop. Sensitive to climate and soil, it needs warmth (but not intense heat) to thrive and does well in chalky soils. As the name implies, it ripens late (spät) and it was brought to Germany from Burgundy, where it has probably been cultivated since at least the 4th century (first documented, however, in the 14th century). Called Pinot Noir in France, this grape produces elegant, velvety wines with a distinctive bouquet reminiscent of bitter almonds or blackberries. The traditional style of German Spätburgunder is lighter in color, body and tannic acidity than its counterparts from warmer climates. Many contemporary winemakers, however, are producing wines that are more international in style, i.e. fuller-bodied, deep red wines with higher tannin levels. Often the wines take on more depth and complexity (and a light vanilla tone) if they are aged in small oak casks.
A promising, and relatively new, red wine grape, Domina is a crossing of Portugieser and Spätburgunder that was bred at the Institute for Vine Breeding in Siebeldingen in the Pfalz. Like the Portugieser, it is a fairly prolific variety and does not require a particular type of soil or site. Domina ripens later than Portugieser but earlier than Spätburgunder. In 2001, there were 563 acres of Domina under vine - more than double the area a decade ago, most of which is planted in Franken. Although they seldom show the finesse of Spätburgunder, Domina wines are pleasant, full-bodied and deep in color.
Gemany has come a long way with regard to its standing in the world as a class wine producing country. From its award winning Spätburgunder, to its most famous and well known Reisling, next time you are thinking wine, think German!