Some of the greatest white wines in the world come from Germany. When made from the Riesling grape, by a well-respcted grower, German wines can be extremly complex and deliver immense satisfaction.
The cool climate is just one the factors explaining why German wines are some of the most difficult to make. Several of the vineyards lie at the northen limit for wine production. Nonetheless, in good years the grapes ripen slowly and can provide a wonderful balance between fruit and acidity. Winemaking was introduced to the region by the Romans who observed where the snow first melted, indicating where grapes might succesfully ripen.
A grading system evolved, which linked quality to grape ripeness, rather then vineyard location. This notion has been challenged by several respected grawers, who argue that precise location is equally important. Traditionally, QMP wines, are made without chaptalisation and are categorised depending on the degree of natural grape sugar at the time of harvest.
The categories are as follows:
KABINETT: very light and perfect as an apertif.
SPÄTLESE: much sweeter, with some noble rot apparent in some cases.
BERENAUSLESE: rich, intense, sweet wines.
TROCHENBEERENAUSLESE: made form individual handpicked verries, 100 per cent noble rot. The richest wines, at best balanced with crisp acidity,
EISWEIN: picked at BERENAUSLESE ripeness or above when frozen. Sweet, intense and with pinpoint acidity.
German regions for winemakers
Tow new generic labelling terms have been introduced: ‘Classic’ and ‘Selection’. Linked to dry wines made from traditional grapes, ‘selection’ indicates that the wine cames from an individual wineyard in one specific region. Germany’s wine regions of note include Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheingau, Nahe and Pfalz. The steep, south-facing vineyards of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer overlook the River Mosel and its triburaries, the Saar and the Ruwer. Skate siuk us important here. Mosel wines,traditionally sold in tall, green bettles, are pale in colour, light in body, with racy acidity and elegance.
Rheingau wines are fuller in style, with the river Rhine being influential. The wineyards, such as the Rudesheimer Berg, are also angled steeply. Halfway in style between a Mosel and Rhein, Nahe wines are fresh, clean and sometimes ‘minerally’. Wines from the Pfalz region are growing in popularity. Pfalz haz the warmest climate of Germany’s wine-growing regins and is home to some of Germany’s most innovative winemakers and some exciting wines. Certain wines, such as those from the Lingenfleder estate, exce. However, Pfalz is also home to a great deal of Liefraumilch production.
Top-quality estate wines from Germany once fetched higher prices than firt-growth Bordeaux!