The Rheingau is not only the geographical centre of the German wine industry, but also its historic centre.
The relatively small region lies on the northern bank of the Rhine between Hocheim and Lorch. With the exception of the small Grosslagen of Daubhaus (north of Hocheim), Steil (near Assmannshausen), and Burgweg (near Lorch) the Rheingau forms one continuous area on the hills of the Taunus.
The Rheingau is renowned for its wonderful landscape, its superlative wines, and its important role in Germany's history of wine. All the basisconcepts and terminology of present-day German wine law originated here. The first wines to be made from late harvested grapes were made here and also the first Trockenbeerenauslesen. Riesling thrives nowhere else as well as it does here on soil consisting of loess, loam, and weathered slate.
Rheingau's celebrated Riesling is elegant, fruity, fresh, and of great class. The best wines often possess a firm, almost spicy character, and enough acidity to enable them to be kept for several years. In addition to the Riesling, the Rheingau is also world renowned for Spatburgunder wines from Assenhausen that are outstanding for a German red wine.
Four wine regions come together where the Nahe joins the Rhine: Nahe, Rheinhessen, Rheingau, and Mittelrhein. The last of these is an extended area from Bingen by way of Bacharach and Koblenz to the mouth of the Ahr, in the north of the region. The vineyards are sited on terraces on either side of the Rhine. The landscape is quite literally breathtaking.
Wines from Mittelrhein need to be discovered locally. These wines are characteristic of their terroir, slate on the hills but more clay near the river. Riesling here is responsible for the best wines, which are elegant, fruity, and well structured, sometimes with quite high acidity. The Miiller-Thurgau and Kerner are more mellow but are also quite strongly acidic.
This region is relatively small and comprises a tongue of land between Heidelberg and Bensheim. The area is bounded by the Rhine in the west and the superb Odenwald in the east. The soil is almost exclusively loess, which is good for white wines. Here too little of the local production leaves the area.
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Riesling dominates here followed by the fragrant MüllerThurgau and subtle Silvaner (Sylvaner). Most wines are elegant and fruity with fine acidity. They are also very refreshing.