Within the Mosel region, the Saar and the Ruwer tributaries are home to a few great wine producers: Peter Lauer and Egon Müller in the Saar, and Karthäuserhof and Carl von Schubert in the Ruwer. Wittmann and Keller are making excellent dry rieslings that help the world remember the great wines of the Rheinhessen. Look for Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese. In general, the ripeness classifications of German wines reflect minimum sugar content in the grape (also known as "potential alcohol" = the amount of alcohol resulting from fermenting all sugar in the juice) at the point of harvest of the grape. The slopes are incredibly steep, so the grapes must be hand harvested. Between the 1950s and the 1980s German wine was known abroad for cheap, sweet or semi-sweet, low-quality mass-produced wines such as Liebfraumilch.  Among enthusiasts, Germany's reputation is primarily based on wines made from the Riesling grape variety, which at its best is used for aromatic, fruity and elegant white wines that range from very crisp and dry to well-balanced, sweet and of enormous aromatic concentration. Until the early 20th century, Elbling was Germany's most planted variety, after which it was eclipsed by Silvaner during the middle of the 20th century. Most of the 40 625 operators of less than 0.5 ha should likely be classified as hobby winemakers. What are the origins of mulled wine? 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. Not all German rieslings are sweet, but you shouldn't steer clear of a riesling with a little residual sugar. The levels in the Prädikat system can give you a hint at how sweet the wine will be: the more ripe the grapes are, the more sugar they have before fermentation...and the more likely there will be some sugar left over when the fermentation stops. 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. The 1999 viticultural survey counted 68 598 vineyard owners, down from 76 683 in Western Germany in 1989/90, for an average size of 1.5 ha. (Prädikat isn't a perfect predictor of sweetness, though. But there's a ton of useful information on those labels, so it's worth getting comfy with a few terms. Germany has thirteen different wine regions that are mostly clustered in the southwestern part of the country. In north-eastern regions of Italy , especially Venice and surroundings, a spritz is a popular light cocktail, a mix of sparkling white wine (e.g., Prosecco ), sparkling water, and Aperol , Bitter Campari , … Fruity, boozy, … Storied Rheingau producers include Robert Weil, Schloss Schönborn, Georg Breuer, and Leitz. There are also several terms to identify the grower and producers of the wine: The German wine scene consists of many small craft oriented vineyard owners. there has been an increase in plantings of Riesling as local and international demand has been demanding high quality wines. The Pfalz sits north of the French wine region of Alsace and enjoys a similar warm, sunny climate. The best sites in this tiny area are along the river that lends its name to the region. As the grapes get riper, they pack in more sugar...and more intensity of flavor. Prädikatswein is the highest level for wine classification and must be labeled by Prädikat—a note on the bottle that tells you about the ripeness level of the grapes before they were made into wine. Plenty of great producers have chosen to opt out of VDP membership, though. 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 … A wine labeled with 'GG' will also be dry. German riesling also offers a beautiful clarity: drinking a bottle from grapes grown on blue or red slate, you'll swear you can taste straight through the fruit flavors to the minerals at the wine's core. Unexpectedly, these "rotten grapes" gave a very good sweet wine, which was termed Spätlese, meaning late harvest. 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. I am guessing on the cook time - it should be just until hot, but NOT boiling. The Feuerzangenbowle is an immensely potent German Christmas beverage that is as much a feast for the taste buds as for the eyes.  However, truly large wineries, in terms of their own vineyard holdings, are rare in Germany. Due to the high acidity ("crispness") of many German wines, the taste profile of many halbtrocken wines fall within the "internationally dry" spectrum rather than being appreciably sweet. Historically many of the wines (other than late harvest wines) were probably dry (trocken), as techniques to stop fermentation did not exist. There's a lot to love: Riesling can taste like peach or apricot, with a bolt of lime-like tartness. The German wine industry has organised itself around these regions and their division into districts. Above those two, there are two categories: Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (Quality wine from a certain wine region) and Prädikatswein, which will also have the specific region listed. Then there's Landwein, which is from broad geographic areas within the country, a bit like Vin de Pays in France or Indicazione Geografica Tipica in Italy. German Kabinett Riesling (at 8% ABV) and Italian Moscato d’Asti (at 5.5% ABV) are typical examples of light-alcohol wines. The soil is slate in the steep valleys, to absorb the sun's heat and retain it overnight. The slate soils absorb the sun's heat and release it back to the vines to help the grapes ripen. 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. [Photograph: Schäfer-Reichart Selections]. I rummaged in my wine fridge and found the perfect thing—a bottle of Peter Lauer's 'Barrel X' riesling. This is short for Grosses Gewächs ("Great Growth"). Stacey Gibson is an Advanced Sommelier, practicing her craft as wine director at the Bruce Carey Restaurant Group in Portland, Oregon. For instance, it's called glögg in Sweden, glühwein in Germany, grzaniec galicyjski in Poland, vin brûlé in Italy, and vin chaud in France. So many umlauts! 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. The number of German wines produced in a lieblich style has dropped markedly since the style went out of fashion in the 1980s. Here is a version I adapted from "Authentic German Home-Style Recipes" by Gini Youngkrantz. 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. Germany is the new rising star of Pinot Noir – called Spatburgunder in German. Since the grapes are picked and processed before they're thawed out, frozen water and highly concentrated sugar and acid is squeezed out. Freezing concentrates the sweet grape juice, and these wines tend to be the sweetest—and most expensive—of the bunch. Quality instead of quantity become important and spread quickly down the river Rhine. Get to know German wine, and you soon may discover a little riesling obsession. , For several centuries of the Medieval era, the vineyards of Germany (including Alsace) expanded, and is believed to have reached their greatest extent sometime around 1500, when perhaps as much as four times the present vineyard surface was planted. This area is called the Rheingau, and it too produces top wines, specifically Riesling, in and around Rüdesheim, Oestrich-Winkel and Eltville. The name translates to "feather white" and refers to the cloudy appearance of this early wine. The International Riesling Foundation (yes, such an amazing thing exists) has created a scale of sweetness that you might see on the back of riesling bottles. On the rolling hills the soil is lime and clay dominated. 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. Is the ABV 8%? The reason why these wines tend to be sweet is from the leftover grape sugar in the wine after the desired alcohol-level is reached. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, there was a downward trend, which was reversed around 1980. These wines age beautifully, though they're also excellent accompaniments to a cheese plate whenever you're ready to pop the corks. Red grapes in Germany have experienced several ups and downs.  The largest privately held winery is Dr. Bürklin-Wolf in the Palatinate with 85,5 ha. Many wines in Germany are produced using organic farming or biodynamic methods. Friedrich Becker makes excellent Spätburgunder. Those who own vineyards in truly good locations also have the option of renting them out to larger producers to operate. This hot spiced wine punch is a staple at the Christmas festivites in Germany. 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. If you see Trocken on a label, that means it's dry. The tiny region of the Ahr, north of the Mosel, is known for its Spätburgunder. Cornelius Donnhoff in the Nahe [Photo: Maggie Hoffman]. Remember the Blue Nun?  The total wine production is usually around 10 million hectoliters annually, corresponding to 1.3 billion bottles, which places Germany as the eighth-largest wine-producing country in the world. Keep a pot warming on your stove for the perfect taste (and smell) of Christmas! Müller-Thurgau wines are fresh and light, aromatic and floral. 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. , Red wine has always been hard to produce in the German climate, and in the past was usually light-colored, closer to rosé or the red wines of Alsace. Out of all the grape varieties listed below, only 20 have a significant market share. It's also incredibly aromatic, all jasmine and honeysuckle. This means that most of the high-ranking German wineries each only produces around 100,000 bottles of wine per year. (Heat reflecting on the water helps, too.). You won't find much German riesling aged in oak barrels: winemakers prefer to emphasize the freshness of the grape rather than weigh it down with oaky hints of vanilla and clove. , By April 2014, the ten largest German wine producers were:, Overview of the German wine economy and culture, Entry on "German History" in J. Robinson (ed). However recently there has been greatly increased demand and darker, richer red wines (often barrique-aged) are produced from grapes such as Dornfelder and Spätburgunder, the German name for Pinot noir.. It is also very hard to find in … Post whatever you want, just keep it seriously about eats, seriously. 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. Red slate soils at Urziger Wurzgarten. If you see Selection on the bottle, that wine will be dry (and sourced from a single vineyard) while a wine labeled Classic is off-dry, like Halbtrocken. Certain producers are working hard to stand out in this region—the largest of Germany's winemaking areas. The wines are all produced around rivers, mainly the Rhine and its tributaries, often sheltered by mountains. Below are five regions you'll most likely encounter. Follow her on Twitter @stacey_gib. After trying a 2000 vintage Riesling from Dr. Bürklin-Wolf a couple years ago, I was hooked on wines from the region and I continue to discover exciting producers and bottlings. The bright pop, the mouth-watering freshness of this riesling—and so many German wines—makes it easy to get excited. Tall and light with a crisp shell and a lightly chewy center. That production is often distributed over, say, 10–25 different wines from different vineyards, of different Prädikat, sweetness and so on. It's famous throughout Europe and has been served during the winter months for centuries. The best cooking method for the most tender cut of meat around. During December there are mulled wine stands everywhere at the famous German Christmas markets, known as ‘Christkindlmärkte’. More on the exceptions later.). The lower the alcohol, the sweeter the wine will be. Chaptalization is allowed only up to the QbA level, not for Prädikatswein and all wines must be fermented dry if chaptalised. Still not sure if a wine is dry or sweet? This leftover sugar is called 'residual sugar'. Some of the red grapes are also used to produce rosé. Due to the northerly location of the German vineyards, the country has produced wines quite unlike any others in Europe, many of outstanding quality. During the last century several changes have taken place with respect to the most planted varieties. It is not uncommon for a visitor to a German wine region to find that a small family-owned Gasthaus has its own wine. Pillitteri Icewine is made with a particular grape variety called Vidal, and it's a delightfully sweet wine to pair with a wide range of desserts. Single vineyards appear on German wine labels with the name of the town ending in 'er' preceding the vineyard name. It will surely warm their insides when the weather is cold outside. White grape varieties account for 66% of the area planted in Germany. For this reason, Müller-Thurgau hasn’t ever achieved the same status as Riesling, but it’s actually quite delightful when done well.  After a few decades in the top spot, in the late 1960s Silvaner was overtaken by the high-yielding Müller-Thurgau, which in turn started to lose ground in the 1980s. The wines have historically been predominantly white, and the finest made from Riesling. According to the German wine law, the federal governments are responsible for drawing up lists of grape varieties allowed in wine production. Emperor Probus, whose reign can be dated two centuries later than these knives, is generally considered the founder of German viticulture, but for solid documentation of winemaking on German soil, we must go to around 370 AD, when Ausonius of Bordeaux wrote Mosella, where he in enthusiastic terms described the steep vineyards on river Moselle. The wine regions in Germany usually referred to are the 13 defined regions for quality wine. Looking for a sweet wine for after dinner? These wines have less than 9 grams/liter of residual sugar. Ürziger Würzgarten is the Würzgarten vineyard in the town of Ürzig, for example. These sweet wines are made with late-harvest grapes attacked by botrytis or 'noble rot'—the same fungus that makes the renowned wines of Sauternes. Walter Hillebrand, Heinz Lott & Franz Pfaff (2003). 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. Then it's gonna be on the sweeter side. In the 1800s, Napoleon took control of all the vineyards from the Church, including the best, and divided and secularized them. Slow-roasted prime rib with a rich red wine jus and a side of braised oxtail: the perfect holiday centerpiece. Red slate soils at Urziger Wurzgarten. The great sites are often extremely steep so they catch the most sunlight, but they are difficult to harvest mechanically. Many of the best vineyards in Germany are steep vineyards overlooking rivers, where mechanisation is impossible and a lot of manual labour is needed to produce the wine. , The wild vine, the forerunner of the cultivated Vitis vinifera is known to have grown on upper Rhine back to historic time, and it is possible (but not documented) that Roman-era German viticulture was started using local varieties. 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. 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. Two digit decreases of operating owners change the structure. 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. According to the international image, Germany is still considered a region for white wine production. (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.). However most exports are still of sweet wines, particularly to the traditional export markets such as United States the Netherlands and Great Britain, which are the leading export markets both in terms of volume and value. (The only wine style not commonly produced is fortified wine.) A total of 5,864 vineyard owners owned more than 5 ha each in 2016, accounting for 81% of Germany's total vineyard surface, and it is in this category that the full-time vintners and commercial operations are primarily found. Producers to look for include Dr. Bürklin-Wolf, Rebholz, and Müller-Catoir. 13%? From the mid-1990s, Riesling became the most planted variety, a position it probably had never enjoyed before on a national level. Ice wine (Eiswein in Germany and icewine in Canada) is a rich, flavorful and rare dessert wine.To make ice wine, the winemaker leaves the grapes on the vine, long after traditional harvest season has ended, hoping neither rain nor hungry wildlife gets the grapes first. Thus, in Medieval Germany, churches and monasteries played the most important role in viticulture, and especially in the production of quality wine. If you see something not so nice, please, report an inappropriate comment. 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. It is a traditional drink during winter, especially around Christmas. Mulled wine, also known as spiced wine, is a beverage usually made with red wine along with various mulling spices and sometimes raisins. Bowle loosely translates to punch, and it's served at every festival in Germany. These are its Rieslings, both sweet and dry, from top sites and producers. 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. Much of the wine sold in Germany is dry, especially in restaurants. 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. The river zigzags dramatically through the land, giving ample opportunity for different exposures. Smaller grape-growers who do not wish to, or are unable to, commercialise their own wine have several options available: sell the grapes (either on the market each harvest year, or on long-term contract with larger wineries looking to supplement their own production), deliver the grapes to a winemaking cooperative (called Winzergenossenschaft in Germany), or sell the wine in bulk to winemaking firms that use them in "bulk brands" or as a base wine for Sekt. Cornelius Donnhoff, who took over for his father in the winery in 2007, says he likes his rieslings "very clear, like fresh spring water."  These regions have the following relationship to each other, and to the quality wine regions:. Feinherb wines are slightly more sweet than halbtrocken wines. 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. Toasting with glasses of ice wine. Principal varieties are listed below; there are larger numbers of less important varieties too. Glühwein (pronounced glue-wine) is sold on every Christmas market in Germany and all over Europe. From around 2005, the proportion of red varieties has stabilized around 37%, about three times the 1980 level. The market share of organic wine is between four and five percent.. Posted by request. Silvaner makes a white wine that's usually full-bodied and dry, and tends to be austere with an intense mineral side. Halbtrocken wines are off-dry and have 9–18 grams/liter of residual sugar. You’ll find most Müller-Thurgau to be more full-bodied than Riesling and the floral aromatics of the wine make is taste sweet even when it’s tr… Some of the best sites lie along rivers, such as the Mosel and the Rhine, because the steep south-facing slopes get maximum sun. Nowadays, over 35% of the vineyards are cultivated with red grapes. Not that this is its only name. Though these wines typically have the most delicate and elegant of frames, they support incredible intensity, purity … The vineyards are extremely small compared to New World vineyards and wine making is dominated by craft rather than industry wines. At one point the Church controlled most of the major vineyards in Germany. Germany produces wines in many styles: dry, semi-sweet and sweet white wines, rosé wines, red wines and sparkling wines, called Sekt. [Photo: Maggie Hoffman]. In recent years, the Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter (VDP), which is a private marketing club founded in 1910, has lobbied for the recognition of a vineyard classification, but its effort have not yet changed national law. Pretty helpful! Subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest recipes and tips!  However, it is not absolutely certain that these knives were used for viticultural purposes. Kabinett is the least-ripe of the spectrum, and wines in this category are usually light and fresh.  The lists include varieties permitted only for selected experimental cultivation. But sometimes winemakers will decide to take a wine made from Spätlese-level ripe grapes and call it a Kabinett. Riesling also ages incredibly well—bottles taste amazing 10, 20, even 30 years after the vintage. Most of the Rheingau's vineyards are clustered on the northern bank of the Rhine between the towns of Assmannshausen and Wiesbaden. The slopes are also positioned facing the south or south-west to angle towards the sun. *Most wine is made from a family of grapes called “Vitus Vinifera”. This creamy sauce adds a little tang and a slight sharpness to beef. Many German wine bottles will bear a picture of an eagle with a cluster of grapes, indicating membership in the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (Association of German Prädikat Wineries)—abbreviated as the VDP. 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. A hot and spiced mulled wine is a great beverage to offer your guests. Finally, grapes for Eiswein are picked and pressed in winter when they are frozen. There are seven regions for Tafelwein (Weinbaugebiete für Tafelwein), three of which are divided into two or three subregions (Untergebiete) each, and 21 regions for Landwein (Landweingebiete). The Rheinhessen is where cheap Liebfraumilch—a sweet white blend—came from. Comments can take a minute to appear—please be patient! The geographic classification is different for Landwein, Deutscher Wein, Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein. In those days, the western parts of today's Germany made up the outpost of the Roman empire against the Germanic tribes on the other side of Rhine. German wine labels can be a bit intimidating: so many words! That slight sweetness also makes these rieslings handy at the dinner table. Its spicy and sweet smell is associated with Christmas. All products linked here have been independently selected by our editors. Sugar will help moderate spice: try an off-dry German riesling with fiery Indian or Thai food. 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. Wine made from “Vitis Labrusca” grapes – such as Concord – is an exception because of the grape’s intense flavor. 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And downs juice, called Süssreserve, may be cultivated in Germany referred! Germany have experienced several ups and downs ups and downs two digit decreases operating.
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