German wine has gotten a bad rap over the years. I think my first wine purchase was a bottle of Blue Nun way back when. When we think of German wine, most of us think of Liebfraumilch and Piesporter. In France, it’s all about location, location, location. In Germany, it’s about vintage, vintage, vintage because the inconsistent climate doesn’t guarantee good vintages every year. Germany is the north-most country in which wine can grow, and most of the vineyards are located on south-facing slopes. Riesling is the king of white wine in Germany, and Spatburgunder-Pinot Noir is the top red wine. Without making this too boring for you, let me tell you a little bit about two of the most-important regions in Germany, the Mosel and the Rheingau.
Typically, Riesling from the Rheingau has more fruit flavors, such as apricots, peaches and nectarines. The Rieslings from the Mosel are usually higher in acidity and show more autumn fruits like apples, pears and quince. When choosing a German wine, look for these classifications on the wine label.
German wines have two main categories Tafelwein and Qualitatswein.
This is the lowest designation given to a wine grown in Germany.
Meaning quality wine of which there are two types.
1: Qualitätswein Bestimmter Anbaugebiete: QBA a quality wine that has to come from one of the 13 German wine regions.
2: Pradikatswein: This is the good stuff to look for. These wines may not be chaptalized, meaning no sugar can be added during fermentation. Here are the pradikatswein levels and meanings.
Kabinett: Semi-dry wine
Spatlese: Late picked, these wines have a medium sweetness.
Auslese: These grapes are more expensive because they are selectively picked from ripe bunches of grapes and have a deliciously fuller, rich taste.
Beerenauslese: Grapes that are picked out individually and are used to create the rich dessert wine. Beerenauslese is only made two to three times every ten years.
Trockenbeerenauslese: Grapes that are dried (trocken) more like raisins and make the richest, sweetest, honey-like wines.
Eiswein: Made from grapes that are pressed while still frozen.
Check out some of these German wines we carry here at Nino’s.
Schloss Vollrads Spatlese 2013- Rheingau, Germany
A classic! Naturally sweet with nice acidity and an elegant structure. Delicate with peach and melon flavors.
Dr. Burklinwolf Dry Riesling 2012- Pfalz, Germany
Located in the southwest part of Germany. The Burklinwolf winery is the largest private landowner in the Pfalz region. Lush, dry and fruit-driven with spring blossoms and apricot flavors.
Dr. Loosen Riesling 2013-Mosel, Germany
This is the classic Mosel Riesling. It’s refreshing, elegant and fruity.
I hope you found this helpful!