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WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF GERMAN WINES.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A WORLD OF PLEASURE.

WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF GERMAN WINES.

A WORLD OF PLEASURE.
A TRADITION OF QUALITY.

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FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

CLIMATE, TOPOGRAPHY AND SOIL.


SELECTED GRAPE VARIETIES.

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611

GERMAN WINE-GROWING REGIONS.

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GERMAN WINES A PURE PLEASURE...NATURALLY.

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HARVEST, RIPENESS, STYLE & BOTTLING.

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DESIGNATIONS OF DISTINCTION.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE QUALITY.

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THE LABEL THE KEY TO A WINES PROFILE.

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CLASSIC. TASTE DRY. TASTE STYLE.

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SELECTION. EXCELLENT AND DRY.

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OTHER PRODUCTS OF THE GRAPE.

SEKT DELIGHTS OF A SPARKLING NATURE.

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EPICUREAN DELIGHTS.

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PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WINE ENTHUSIASTS.

WINE, FOOD AND PLEASURE


DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM.

3637

WINE AND HEALTH.

3839

TASTING WINE PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

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THE CONNOISSEURS RESERVE STORING WINE AT HOME.

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QUICK REFERENCE.

APPELLATION OF ORIGIN.
QUALITY CATEGORY.
GRAPE VARIETY.
STYLE.
TYPE OF WINE.
GLOSSARY.

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4648

The innovative wines


and sophisticated packages emanating from
Germany today please
both the palate and the
eye. There are German
wines for every taste
and every occasion a
diversity praised by
renowned chefs and
appreciated by wine
novices and connoisseurs alike. A respect
for 2,000 years of viticultural tradition, combined with qualityoriented, environmentally-friendly vineyard practices
and state-of-the-art cellar techonology, put German
vintners in the vanguard of contemporary winemakers.
It is particularly challenging to harvest a crop of fullyripened grapes in this northerly location, yet the
rewards of cool-climate viticulture are crisp, invigorating wines that capture the essence of the soil and
the grape. The ripeness of the grapes at harvest fundamentally influences the intensity of the aromas,
flavors and acidity in the finished wine. While the role
of Mother Nature is undeniable, it is the grower who
ultimately decides at which stage
of ripeness to harvest. The style
of the finished wine is also determined primarily by the vintner, in
the cellar.
This fascinating interplay between
nature and man accounts for the
great variety of German wines
that are available. The natural factors vary among regions, vineyards and even among parcels
within a vineyard, and the winemakers touch lends each wine an
individual character. The possibilities are seemingly infinite yet,
understanding a bit about region,
ripeness, grape variety and style
can help you size up the profile of
a wine with ease.

With this illustrated booklet you can hone your


profiling skills learn how to quickly find the "right
German wine to meet your needs. Whether youre
planning a wine tasting at home or a trip to German
wine country, there are lots of practical tips for wine
enthusiasts as well as useful information for professionals who sell or serve German wines. See the quick
reference pages at the back of booklet for a summary
of the essentials and pronunciation guidelines. The
enclosed quiz lets you test your knowledge. Submit
your answers and take part in a quarterly prize drawing.
Let this "Invitation to Indulge help you discover why
German wines offer a world of pleasure. For the latest
news about German wines or a current calendar of
events, visit our websites: www.germanwines.de or
www.deutscheweine.de.. Here you will also find links
to the information services of the German Wine Institute around the world.
Last but not least: the excursions offered by the
German Wine Academy (see the inside back cover for
details) are a great way to experience firsthand the
beautiful countryside, delicious wine and food, and
hospitable growers of German wine country.
German Wine Institute
Mainz, Germany

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WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF GERMAN WINES.

A TRADITION OF QUALITY.

No one knows when and where wine first appeared, but certainly wild vines existed long before
man as long as 130 million years ago whereas
the earliest fossil remains of Neanderthals, for
example, are merely 200,000 years old. Modern
scientific tests have shown that wine was produced by man at least 8,000 years ago, although
these early wines could have borne little resemblance to modern vintages.
Germanys wine history goes back to ancient
times when wild vines of the species vitis silvestris grew abundantly in the Rhine Valley. About
100 B.C. the Romans conquered the region, and
ultimately introduced the systematic cultivation of
the vine particularly vitis vinifera, the species
that includes all of Europes great winemaking
grapes. The Romans were pragmatic: local viticulture ensured the supply of wine needed for the
legionnaires
without
having to transport it in
heavy amphorae over
the Alps.
A period of great viticultural expansion
ensued in the 7th and 8th centuries, when
the monastic orders established many of
the finest vineyards in Germany and else
where in Europe. It was the monasteries,
with their research and meticulous care of
the vines and wines, and later, the nobility,
that set the standard for the high quality of
German viticulture.
A number of factors led to a viticultural
decline in the post-medieval era, including
climatic changes (poorer weather, cooler
temperatures) and stiff competition from
imported beverages (wine from the south,
tea, coffee) and local beer. Even more devastating were the economic and political consequences of the many wars in the
centuries that followed they wiped out
vast tracts of vineyards and a considerable
portion of the labor force. In the early
1800s, when Napoleon occupied German

territory on the left bank of the Rhine,


church properties were secularized. Most
were divided up and sold at auction to
private citizens; some remained intact
and were given to the ruling nobility
as compensation for territorial losses.
Fortunately, the new owners carried on
the quality-oriented practices of their
ecclesiastical predecessors.
Despite the tremendous upheavals named above, German vines and
wines benefited from practices implemented in the late 18th century:
high-quality Riesling grapes supplanted inferior varietals, especially
in the Mosel and Rheingau regions, and the merits of ripeness and
late harvesting were recognized the foundation of todays "Prdikat wines. Many of todays highly esteemed research and teaching
institutions, wine-growers cooperatives, and associations of qualityoriented wine producers were founded in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. Their contributions to German wine history range from
improved vineyard management (not least in dealing with pests and
disease, such as phylloxera and mildew, and developing new clones
and crossings that are more resistant), to the development of stateof-the-art cellar technology, and production of wines of the highest
quality all of which helped foster the renown of German wine at
home and abroad.
Today, Germany is justifiably known
for its well-educated, innovative winegrowers, whose viti- and vinicultural
know-how is as often exported as its
wines. Its vineyards are recognized
as the source of superb, inimitable
Riesling wines and other traditional
varieties, such as Silvaner and the Pinot
family, that have long been appreciated
by wine connoisseurs and leading chefs
throughout the world.

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

CLIMATE, TOPOGRAPHY AND SOIL.

Germanys wine regions are concentrated in the


southwestern part of the country, which is parallel in
latitude (50) to Winnipeg or Kiev. It is primarily the
warm Gulf Stream and its tempering influence on
western Europes climate that enable grapes to ripen
as far north as Germany. In fact, the average annual
temperature here (10C/50F) is nearly on a par with
that of Tuscany.
An ideal German summer is moderately warm, with
periodic rainfall during vegetation, and a long, slow
ripening period that enables grapes retain their
acidity as they develop sugar. In a good vintage, the
wines are vibrant and rich in fruity aromas and flavors. Such vintages are welcome, but not taken for
granted in this northerly location. Compared with the
Mediterranean wine regions, annual weather conditions here are much more variable and the quality
and quantity of each vintage fluctuate accordingly.
However, temperatures during the past 15 years have
been slightly higher than usual and as a result, nearly
every German vintage since 1988 has been rated as
good or very good.

NATURAL
FACTORS.

BENEATH
THE SURFACE.

Viticulture in Germany
is confined primarily
to
the
sheltered,
south-facing
slopes
and steep hillsides
along the Rhine River
and its tributaries, e.g.
the Ahr, Mosel (and its
tributaries Saar and
Ruwer), Nahe, Main
and Neckar. In the
east there are small
pockets of vineyards
in the Saale, Unstrut
and Elbe river valleys.

The nutrients the vine


absorbs from the soil
influence the bouquet,
body and flavor of the
finished wine. The longer the grapes ripen on the vine, the higher the content
of minerals and trace elements in the wine.

The rivers favorably influence the temperature


(heat retention and reflection) and humidity, and in
autumn, the mist and fog that rise from a river offer
protection from early frost. Protective ridges of hills
or forested mountain summits, which deflect the wind,
also help the grapes to ripen.

Very broadly speaking, these soil types "yield wines with these characteristics:
volcanic: full-bodied, fiery wines
slate: racy, piquant wines
marl and shell limestone: hearty, powerful wines
loess and loam: full-bodied, fragrant wines.
There is rarely one type of soil in any given location. Not only do combinations
abound, but there are also tremendous variations in soils even within short distances. This, coupled with topographical and climatic factors that are equally as
variable, helps to explain why, in one vintage, the quality of wine can vary within
sections of a vineyard or from vineyards that are adjacent to one another to say
nothing of the annual differences between districts or regions.
Climate, topography and soil factors the French sum up as "terroir influence the
quality and character of a wine and thus, contribute to the amazing diversity of wines
produced in such a small wine-growing country. Tasting is the most enjoyable way
to discover all the differences.

There are many other natural factors that


help determine the location and layout
of vineyard sites as well as which
grape varieties are planted. Much scientific research has been carried out in
Germany to determine which grapes
grow best in which regional climates and
soil types. Southern exposure generally
affords more hours of sunshine and
hence, warmth. Slopes improve drainage
and put vines at a better angle of incidence to receive solar radiation. Nearly
60 percent of Germanys vineyards are
located on slopes or steep hillsides, but
seldom on plateaus higher than 300 m
(1,000 ft) temperatures at that altitude
are too low for grapes to ripen well. In
fact, the steepest vineyard site in Europe
(perhaps, in the world) is the Bremmer
Calmont in the Mosel Valley, with an
astounding 70-degree gradient.

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

SELECTED GRAPE VARIETIES.


Knowing a bit about the characteristics of the
grape(s) from which a wine is made is a great help
when selecting a wine for a particular occasion. And
thanks to the many different grape varieties cultivated here, there is virtually something for everyones
taste and budget.
There are ca. 100,000 hectares (247,000 acres) of
productive vineyards in Germany an area somewhat
smaller than Bordeaux. In 2003, about 70% of this
area was planted with white wine varieties, compared
with 89% in 1980. Although the area devoted to red
wine grapes continues to grow, the three top whites
Riesling, Rivaner (Mller-Thurgau) and Silvaner still
account for 2/5 of Germanys total vineyard area.
Nearly 1/5 of the vineyard area is planted with members of the Pinot family (red and white), primarily
Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir), Grauburgunder (Pinot
Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc). Regional
specialties, such as Elbling in the Upper Mosel and
Gutedel in southern Baden, have been cultivated for
cen-turies, as has the ancient variety Muskateller
today, a rarity, grown in Baden and the Pfalz.
Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon were only
added to the official vineyard register in 1991 and
1998, respectively, and are now permitted in most
of the 13 regions.

THE WHITES.
RIESLING
A STELLAR PERFORMER.
First documented in 1435, near
Hochheim/Rheingau, the noble
Riesling grape is Germanys premier variety in terms of image
and acreage. It ripens late,
during the last half of October
although the harvest can
extend well into November
and it grows best in sites with a
warm, southern exposure and
light stony soil or weathered
primitive rock. It can, however,
thrive in various soil types,
including loess and loam.

Riesling yields white wines of great elegance,


complexity and longevity. Both mature and young
Rieslings fetch record-breaking prices at auction and
given their superb aging potential, are the clear
favorites of German wine collectors. Firm, fruity
acidity is a hallmark shared by all. Aromas and
flavors can range from citrus or crisp apple, to ripe
peaches or tropical fruit; the honeyed tones of Botrytis, or the nuances that develop with with age, add
yet another dimension to a Rieslings personality.
Regional differences abound: both light, filigree
versions and steely, mineral-rich Rieslings emanate
from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer; the pronounced acidity
of Mosel or Mittelrhein Rieslings becomes softer and
rounder in the central and more southerly regions,
and the wines are more powerful and buxom. In the
eastern regions, the late-ripening Riesling plays a
minor role due to the shorter growing season and
danger of frost. The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is home to the
worlds largest area planted with Riesling (ca. 5,500
ha/13,650 acres). It is the premier grape variety
there, as well as in the Pfalz, Nahe, Rheingau, Mittelrhein and Hessische Bergstrasse regions.

Riesling
wines
are
extraordinarily diverse
and therefore, so
versatile. They add
enjoyment to festive
occasions and meals,
from apritif through
dessert. Seafood and
light meats are traditional partners, but its
fruity character also
enhances spicy, sweetand-sour, or slightly
sweet ethnic favorites
from Asia (Szechuan/
Hunan dishes, sushi,
curries and satays),
Mexico or Cajun country. Riesling. One grape,
endless possibilities.

RIVANER
A WINE FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
Many are familiar with this white grape under its synonym, MllerThurgau, which for decades was thought to be a crossing of Riesling
and Silvaner hence the term Rivaner. Thanks to genetic analysis we
now know that when Prof. Dr. Mller of the Swiss canton Thurgau
bred his namesake in the Rheingau in 1882, he actually crossed Riesling and Gutedel. Rivaner ripens early, is not fussy about site or soil,
and consistently yields good quantity. As such, it is widespread throughout German wine country, above all in the central regions along the
Mosel and Rhine valleys and in Baden. It is the primary variety in the
Franken, Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen regions, where the continental
climate puts late-ripening varieties at risk.
In general the wines are flowery, with a light Muscat tone, and not
too acidic easy on the palate and best enjoyed while young. They
are primarily refreshing wines for everyday drinking and casual gettogethers. Rivaner usually denotes a drier, more food-compatible style
than Mller-Thurgau, that goes well with herbed foods, salads and
vegetables, such as asparagus.

SILVANER
A TRADITIONAL VARIETY STILL IN VOGUE.
This ancient, traditional white variety was once the most widely planted grape
of Germany. Over the years it has been nudged out of this position by increased
plantings of Riesling and Rivaner. Nevertheless, Germany is still known for earthy
Silvaners from Franken; sleek Silvaners from Rheinhessen, the Nahe and SaaleUnstrut; and powerful, full-bodied Silvaners from the Pfalz and the Kaisterstuhl
district of Baden.
The grape probably originated in the
Danube River Valley or Transylvania;
the name derives from the Latin silva,
meaning forest.
Silvaner wines are fairly neutral in bouquet and flavor, with a fine-fruity acidity
that is less pronounced than that of
Riesling. It is a versatile variety that
yields simple, juicy quaffing wines as
well as harmonious, mouth-filling wines
that are excellent with fish, poultry,
pork, veal and the springtime favorite,
asparagus. In general, the wines are
best consumed within two years of the
harvest. Auslese-type Silvaners are the
exception; these highly prized rarities
merit cellaring.

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

KERNER A SWABIAN SUCCESS STORY.


The namesake of this highly successful white grape variety is the 19thcentury Swabian poet-physician Justinus Kerner, who wrote drinking
songs in his spare time. Although it was bred in 1929 in Wrttemberg,
it wasnt until the seventies that Kerner began to soar in popularity
with growers and consumers alike. A crossing of the red variety Trollinger and the white variety Riesling, Kerner is prized for its Riesling
traits: fresh acidity and rich, fruity character. The wines are often more
fragrant than Riesling, and sometimes have a light candied tone or a
hint of Muscat. Young, hearty Kerner wines are great to quaff on their
own or to serve with fish or vegetable terrines, salads and light meats.
Richer, riper versions are delicious with poultry or meat in a fruit sauce.
Thanks to its frost resistance, reliable yields, and ability to thrive even
in average sites, Kerner is cultivated in
all German wine regions. The largest
number of plantings are in the Pfalz
and Rheinhessen, followed by the
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and its birthplace,
Wrttemberg.

GRAUBURGUNDER
A POWERFUL PINOT.
Known as Pinot Gris in France and Pinot Grigio in Italy,
Grauburgunder is also synonymous with Rulnder, a name
derived from an early proponent of the variety, a merchant
from Speyer named Johann Ruland. It is grown in the Pfalz
and neighboring Rheinhessen, and is a traditional variety in
Sachsen and Hessische Bergstrasse; yet by far, the most plantings are in Baden.
Today, Rulnder denotes the richer, fuller-bodied, more fragrant and sweeter-style wines made from this grape, while
the sleeker, drier and more food-compatible versions occasionally aged in small oak (barrique) casks are labeled Grauburgunder. Regardless of name, it is a powerful, mouth-filling
white wine, with a relatively round acidity. Its bouquet hints
of fresh butter or nuts or a spectrum of fruits (pineapple,
citrus, dried fruit), with a vegetal undertone. Grauburgunder
is substantial enough to pair with full-flavored foods, such as
saltwater fish, lamb and young game. Pungent cheese, such
as blue or Mnster, or desserts made with honey or almonds
are superb with a golden, ripe Rulnder.

WEISSBURGUNDER
AN ELEGANT DINNER PARTNER.
Aside from the fact that it is part of the Burgunder (Pinot)
family of grapes and a descendant of Sptburgunder and
Grauburgunder, little is known about the origin of this ancient
white variety. Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) has long been a
traditional variety in the easternmost regions, Saale-Unstrut
and Sachsen. In terms of vineyard area, Baden and the Pfalz
are the most important regions. Traditional, food-compatible
varietals are in vogue; as such, the number of Pinot plantings,
white and red, is increasing in all regions.
Weissburgunder wines are medium- to full-bodied, yet generally racier and less forward in aroma and taste than Grauburgunder. Its bouquet can be reminiscent of nuts, fresh
pineapple, apricots or citrus fruits. Elegant Weissburgunder
wines, with their refreshing acidity and fine fruitiness, are
excellent dinner partners. Drier styles go well with light
meats, poultry and seafood, while richer versions and/or those
aged in small oak (barrique) casks harmonize well with the
more intense flavors of lamb and young game.

GEWRZTRAMINER
THE SEDUCTIVE SCENT OF ROSES.
Named after the Tyrolean village of Tramin, this ancient variety has been grown along
the upper Rhine (in Baden, where it is also known as Clevner) and in the Pfalz for
centuries. "Gewrz literally means "spice and alludes to the pink-skinned grapes
spicy flavor and above all, its highly perfumed bouquet that is often compared with
the scent of roses. Gewrztraminer wines are rare specialties, not least because
yields are variable and never very high.
Food affinities range from game pts, to roast poultry served with aromatic
sauces or chutney, to spicy ragouts. Rich, sweet Gewrztraminer is delicious with
piquant cheese, such as Munster, or rich, blue-veined cheese.

SCHEUREBE A SPICY DELIGHT.


The Rheinhessen vine breeder Georg Scheu (pronounced "shoy) lent his
name to this successful white crossing of Silvaner and Riesling dating
from 1916. Today, Scheurebe is grown primarily in Rheinhessen and the
Pfalz, and to some extent in the Nahe and Franken regions.
Ripeness is essential to bring forth its characteristic bouquet reminiscent of black currants or grapefruit and its fine, spicy undertones. It
is prized as a versatile wine, produced in several styles and various
ripeness levels that offer a harmonious interplay of refreshing acidity and
natural fruit flavor. A dry Scheurebe wine is a delicious sipping wine for
an evening get-together, while those with some sweetness are remarkable for their ability to to enhance and refine the exotic spices and
aromas of Asian cuisine. The rich, sweet dessert wine versions are superb
with fruit-based desserts and blue-veined cheese. These are long-lived
wines that develop aromas redolent of peaches or roses as they mature.

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

SELECTED GRAPE VARIETIES.


THE REDS.

SPTBURGUNDER
A CLASSIC FOR WINE LOVERS.
Wine lovers all agree that Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) is truly a classic
among red wines. As the name implies, this ancient and noble variety
originated in Burgundy; it was introduced into Germany in the Middle
Ages. Today, it is the most important red variety in the Baden, Ahr and
Rheingau regions, and there are considerable plantings in the Pfalz,
Rheinhessen and Wrttemberg.
In all, it is Germanys finest and foremost red wine grape, yielding
mouth-filling, velvety smooth wines with a slightly sweet, fruity aroma
that hints of blackberries, cherries, strawberries or raspberries. Traditional German Sptburgunders are light- to medium-red, with a fruity,
rather than tannic, acidity. Parallel to this style are contemporary
versions of a more international character, i.e. with more color and
tannin, and often, the vanilla tone that is typical of wines aged in small
oak (barrique) casks. At the table, Sptburgunder pairs well with rich,
flavorful foods, such as elegant roasts and game. Sptburgunder Weissherbst, a ros, is a delicious alternative for light meats.

DORNFELDER
A DEEP RED TEMPTATION.
Dornfelders deep, red-violet color is enticing from the moment its poured. Its intense color is precisely why it was bred in 1955, for use as
a blending wine to add depth to the color of other red wines. Although
bred in Wrttemberg, where Germanys first viticultural school was
founded (1868) by a local vintner named Imanuel Dornfeld, most plantings are in the Pfalz and Rheinhessen. In the nineties, Dornfelder skyrocketed in popularity as a varietal in its own right and now numbers
among Germanys "top five grape varieties.
There are two distinctive styles of Dornfelder. The first focuses on the
intense fruit aromas (sour cherry, blackberry or black currant) and is
bottled and marketed while young, much like a Beaujolais Nouveau.
Other winemakers ferment and/or age Dornfelder in large or small (barrique) casks, and focus more on the tannins and structure of the wine.
These full-bodied versions, with more substance and depth, are excellent with hearty roasts, game and flavorful cheese; a young, fruity Dornfelder served slightly chilled is a great picnic wine.

PORTUGIESER
A CHARMING PLEASURE.
Probably a native of Austria or Hungary not, as the name
implies, Portugal this red varietal came to Germany in the
19th century and rapidly replaced numerous older varietals. A hearty, prolific bearer that ripens fairly early and
can thrive practically anywhere, it is a significant variety
in the Pfalz, Rheinhessen and Ahr regions, where it is consumed with gusto as a quaffing wine in local wine pubs.
For the most part, Portugieser wines are light red in color,
low in acidity and have a faint, berry-like bouquet. They are charming, everyday wines
meant to be enjoyed in the freshness of youth. The ros version, known as Portugieser Weissherbst, is equally popular with those who prefer light, uncomplicated
wines. While pleasant on its own, served with soft, chewy pretzels or with bread
and whipped cheese dips, Portugieser is also well-suited to accompany platters of
cold cuts and cheese, delicately seasoned roasts and stir-fried dishes.

TROLLINGER
WRTTEMBERGS FAVORITE.
Trollinger is widespread in Wrttemberg, or Swabia, and in Italys South Tyrol. Its
name is said to have derived from "Tirolinger and its origin is either South Tyrol or
neighboring Trentino, where it is known as Vernatsch or Schiava. The Romans brought
it over the Alps into Germany, initially to the Bergstrasse and the Pfalz. By the middle
of the 17th century, it was also at home in Wrttemberg, where it is still regarded
as the "national drink of Swabia served everywhere in the "Viertele, a local round
glass with a handle that holds a "Viertel (quarter) liter of wine.
These unpretentious red wines are light and fruity, crisp in acidity, and reminiscent
of wild cherries or red currants on the nose. In terms of color, light red is typical;
ruby red in better years. Trollinger-Lemberger blends are quite popular and somewhat deeper in color. The wines are very agreeable on their own or enjoyable with
simple fare, e.g. platters of cheese and sausage, as well as light meats or stir-fried
dishes.

LEMBERGER
A RED WINE SPECIALTY.
The red varietal Lemberger, or Blauer Limberger, probably originated in the lower Danube
River Valley, where it has been known as Blaufrnkisch since the 18th century. Some 1,300
hectares (3,000 acres) are cultivated in Germany, primarily in Wrttemberg. The wines are
rich in fruit, acid and tannin, with a bouquet ranging from berry-like to vegetal, such as green
bell pepper. Young, fruity Lemberger is often blended with another local red, Trollinger, to
make an uncomplicated wine for early drinking. Riper qualities (Sptlese or Auslese) yield
wines that are almost Mediterranean in character with more volume and color and a long
finish. These benefit from bottle aging, particularly those aged in small oak (barrique) casks,
and rank in the premium quality sector.
Lighter versions are ideal with platters of cheese and/or cold cuts as well as BBQ favorites. More powerful, tannic Lemberger wines are great with pts and full-flavored foods,
such as roasts, game, and pungent cheese (blue, brined, Alpine).

11

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

GERMAN WINE-GROWING REGIONS.

AHR

Germanys vineyards are located in the area between


the Bodensee (Lake Constance) on the Swiss border,
along the Rhine and its tributaries, up to the Mittelrhein near Bonn, and from the border with France in
the west to the Elbe River Valley in the east. The entire wine producing area is divided into thirteen specified wine-growing regions. Each has a slightly
different climatic and geological makeup; each offers
cultural, viticultural and culinary highlights; and all are
rich in great natural beauty and hospitality.

MITTELRHEIN
Koblenz
M
os
el

RHEINGAU
MOSELFRANKEN
Wiesbaden
SAARFrankfurt
Aschaffenburg
Mainz
RUWER NAHE
RHEINWrzburg
Trier
HESS. HESS.
BERGSTR.
Ludwigshafen
Mannheim

Heilbronn
Stuttgart

Freiburg

SAALEUNSTRUT

Tbingen

Offenburg

r
ck a
Ne

Ulm

ale

BadenBaden

Sa

Rh
ei
n

Karlsruhe

Breisach

a in

WRTTEMBERG

PFALZ

BADEN

Halle
Freyburg

au
on

nstrut

Erfurt

Flensburg

Konstanz

Bad Kssen

Weienfels
Naumburg

Hamburg

THE AHR "WELL-BEING 365


PARADISE FOR PLEASURE-SEEKERS.
The vineyards of Germanys "red wine paradise line
the valley slopes of the Ahr River from near its confluence with the Rhine south of Bonn to Altenahr, only
25 km (15 miles) to the west. There are magnificent
views of the striking landscape from the heights of a
basalt cone (Landskrone), slate cliffs and castle ruins.
In the autumn, vineyards and forests are ablaze with
color and wine festivals take place every weekend.

b
El

Od

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler is the main town, where


"wine and water the spas hot mineral springs for
health and wellness, and the Apollinaris springs, the
source of one of Germanys most famous mineral
waters embody the regions slogan "well-being 365.

er

Berlin
Hannover
Elbe
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Sa

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Halle
Kln

Leipzig

The "well-being 365 region abounds with opportunities to combine wine, lifestyle and health. Hikers

Dresden

and cyclists, for example, can discover the regions


wines and hospitality via two well-marked routes: the
Rotweinwanderweg, a trail that winds its way through
the vineyards and heights from the Rhine toward the
Eifel Hills, and the Ahr-Radweg, a circular bicycle path
from Remagen through the valley and back to the
Rhine. Cozy wine pubs and tasting rooms at wine estates beckon in every village en route. Wine is celebrated at some two dozen creative culinary and cultural
events with the regions top chefs and winemakers
during "Gourmet & Wein from mid-January to early
November. The "wine market in Ahrweiler every
Pentecost offers a good overview of the regions
wines. For three days the historical market square is
transformed into a bustling, open-air tasting room
with dozens of wines from the entire Ahr Valley. "Jazz
& Wein, Kunst (Art) & Wein.....one of Germanys
smallest wine-growing regions is virtually a paradise
for pleasure-seekers.

WINES AND VINES.

in
Rhe

The steep slate slopes and Mediterranean-like climate


of the Ahr yield some of Germanys even Europes
finest wines, albeit it in limited quantities. The Ahr
is especially known for its red wines. Nearly two thirds
of the regions 525 ha (ca. 1,300 acres) are planted
with Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) or its earlier-ripening
mutation Frhburgunder grapes. The current trend is
to age red wines, particularly Sptburgunder, in small
oak casks (225-liter barriques). Portugieser and,
increasingly, Dornfelder, are also grown here. The
main white varieties are Riesling and Mller-Thurgau.

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Frankfurt
M

Main

Rh
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SACHSEN

Stuttgart
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Mnchen
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Meien

Radebeul
Dresden

12

13

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

BADEN KISSED BY THE SUN.


Baden, the southernmost of Germanys wine regions,
stretches some 400 km (nearly 250 miles) along the
Rhine from the Bodensee (Lake Constance) to the
Bergstrasse. Most of the Tauber Valley vineyards are
also part of Baden. The Badische Weinstrasse (Baden
Wine Road) runs through Heidelberg, Baden-Baden,
Freiburg and many picturesque wine villages in
the Black Forest. Onion-domed churches and halftimbered chalets dot the landscape of vineyards,
orchards and forests. The Bodensee is a popular
resort area with charming wines towns, such as
Meersburg and Hagnau, and the islands of Mainau
and Reichenau (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), with
their lush vegetation and art historical treasures.
The dozens of wines festivals from May through
October and cooperative wineries shops and tasting
rooms are inviting places to sample Baden wines.
Freiburgs Weintage (festival in early July) and the
Haus des Badischen Weines (House of Baden Wines)
in the historic Alte Hauptwache offer a broad selection
of wines. As in neighboring Alsace and Switzerland,
Baden has a great tradition of wine and food. It also
boasts the highest concentration of top German
restaurants.
With nearly 16,000 ha (ca. 39,000 acres) of vines,
Baden is Germanys third largest wine-growing region.
It is divided into nine districts, each with a geological
and climatic profile as diverse as the wines they produce. Overall, the region enjoys an exceptionally warm
climate, on a par with that of Alsace, Savoy or the
Loire Valley. In fact, the warmest spot in Germany is
in the Kaiserstuhl district, along the south-facing
slopes between Achkarren and Ihringen that are dominated by an extinct volcano, the soil of which imparts
mineral tones and a proverbially fiery taste to the
wines.

land, Riesling in Ortenau, or Silvaner in the Kaiserstuhl. Mller-Thurgau is the leading white varietal
everywhere. The "Burgunder (Pinot) family, however,
thrives throughout most of the region: delicate Auxerrois; food-compatible Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) the richer, milder
versions of the latter are labeled with the synonym
Rulnder; and Chardonnay, which hails from Burgundy
but is not a true Pinot variety.
Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) and one of its mutations,
Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier), are the most widely
planted red wine grapes. The former yields powerful,
full-bodied wines, often aged in barrique casks, while
Schwarzriesling, also known as Mllerrebe, tends to
be less voluminous. Badens fine-fruity ros wines,
such as Sptburgunder Weissherbst, and the specialty
Badisch Rotgold, made from Sptburgunder and Grauburgunder grapes that are pressed together, are also
quite popular.

DISTINCTIVELY DIFFERENT.
FRANKEN
BOCKSBEUTEL AND BAROQUE.

THE LEGACY OF BURGUNDY.


A large number of classic grape varieties are grown
in Baden, several of which are associated primarily
with a particular district, e.g. Gutedel in Markgrfler-

after the distinctive flat, round bottle traditional to


the region. Cyclists can explore the area of the MainTauber-Frnkische-Radachter, a figure-eight-shaped
path that takes in many of the Franconian and
Badens Tauberfranken wine villages on its 444-km
(275-mile) course.
For a thorough introduction to Franken wine,
Wrzburg offers fabulous tasting opportunities. The
Haus des Frankenweins (House of Franconian Wines,
a shop and restaurant) is a showcase for the entire
region, or visit the wine shops and pubs of the three
world-class wine estates located here. Each owns
vineyards throughout Franken. In addition to the
superb wine-and-music events in the former residence
of the prince bishops (a UNESCO World Heritage Site),
the Baroque Festival (May) and the Mozart Festival
(June), Wrzburg hosts weeklong wine festivals in late
May and again in late September.

Franken, the hilly region east of Frankfurt, lies between the Spessart Hills and the Steigerwald (Steiger
Forest). Most of the vineyards follow the zig-zag
of the Main River through a countryside rich in art
treasures, from simple wayside shrines and chapels
to churches and palaces, often within the towered
gates of medieval wine villages. Wrzburg, the wine
and cultural center of Franken, abounds with architectural gems. Here, and throughout the region, you
can marvel at masterpieces by the Gothic sculptor
Tilmann Riemenschneider and the Baroque architect
Balthasar Neumann.
Using Wrzburg as a hub, it is easy to discover
Frankens wine country through a number of circular
tours via the so-called Bocksbeutel Route, named

Not only the individualistic bottle, the Bocksbeutel,


but also climate and wine style set Franken wines
apart from their Rhine and Mosel counterparts. The
longer, colder winters of Frankens continental climate
increase the risk of frost damage thus, the lateripening Riesling plays a minor role here. Elsewhere
in Germany, trocken (dry) wines have less than 9
grams/liter residual sugar; Franconian dry wines
traditionally have less than 4 g/l. In general, the
regional wine profile reads: dry, powerful, earthy white
wines. About a third of the regions ca. 6,000 ha
(15,000 acres) of vineyards are planted with MllerThurgau, Silvaner and Bacchus grapes. Franken is
traditionally associated with Silvaner and here, it
yields wines of great substance that are well worth
trying. There is also a red wine enclave along the westernmost "downstroke of the Main Rivers "W-shaped
course, between Aschaffenburg and Miltenberg. Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir), Domina and Dornfelder are
the main varieties. From west to east, soil types vary
from weathered primitive rock and colored sandstone
to shell-limestone to keuper (colored and/or gypsum
marl).

known as the Hessische Bergstrasse lies between


Zwingenberg, Bensheim and Heppenheim. The vineyards further south are part of the Baden region, the
Badische Bergstrasse.
The Bergstrasse is known as the spring garden of
Germany, for its fruit and almond trees are among the
earliest to blossom. It is an attractive landscape, with
castle ruins on many summits and traditional vintners
huts sprinkled between the hillside orchards and
vineyards. The medieval town centers, with elaborate
half-timbered houses, are very picturesque, and
several historic buildings house restaurants or wine
pubs. Many menus feature game and trout from the
nearby forest and streams.
It is an easy drive through the region along the
Bergstrasse, but to experience the natural beauty
firsthand, you can hike through the vineyards on the
Weinlagenweg at best, on May Day, when this
28-km (17-mile) trail is lined with wine tasting stands
and the fragrant, colorful blossoms are at their peak.
You can also sample a large range of Bergstrsser
wines at the week-long wine festivals in Heppenheim
(late June) and in Bensheim (early September) or at
the cooperatives wine shop in Heppenheim all year
round.

QUALITY RATHER THAN QUANTITY.


The wines of the Hessische Bergstrasse are, by nature,
rarities. Loam-loess soils here yield wines that tend
to be fragrant and rich, with more body and an
acidity and finesse similar to those of the Rheingau.
The entire regions vineyard area is a mere 452 ha
(1,117 acres), more than half of which is planted with
the high-quality Riesling grape, Germanys premier
white variety. Small quantities of Mller-Thurgau
(Rivaner), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Silvaner
are also cultivated. Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) is
the leading red wine grape, but in all, only about
14 percent of the regions wines are red. A high
proportion of the wines are dry or off-dry in style.

HESSISCHE BERGSTRASSE
GERMANYS SPRING GARDEN.
The old Roman trade route strata montana (mountain
road) runs parallel to the Rhine in the foothills of the
Odenwald (Oden Forest). It extends some 70 km (45
miles) from Darmstadt to Wiesloch, south of Heidelberg. There is an "island of vines near Gross-Umstadt
(east of Darmstadt), but the heart of the small region

15

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

MITTELRHEIN
THE ROMANTIC RHINE.
The Mittelrhein is the spectacular stretch of the Rhine
River between Bonn and Bingen known as the Rhine
Gorge. Here the river has carved its course through
the stone hills to form a steep, narrow valley with a
microclimate in which vines have thrived since Roman
times. On both sides of the river, in addition to the
routes that run parallel with it, motorists and cyclists
can enjoy the scenery from the heights via the Rheingoldstrasse or the Loreley-Burgenstrasse; hiking
enthusiasts can follow the Rhein-Wein-Wanderweg or
the Weinwanderweg trails.
Steeped in legend (the Loreley, the Nibelungs), the
Mittelrhein has long been a source of inspiration to
artists, poets and composers, such as William Turner
(misty Rhine sunsets), Goethe (Feast of St. Roche),
Lord Byron (Childe Harolds Pilgrimage), Mark Twain
(A Tramp Abroad), Richard Wagner (Der Ring des

ancient castle ruins that tower over the vine-covered


cliffs and medieval villages are reminders of the
Mittelrheins turbulent past. Many are open for visits
and offer outstanding panoramic views of the Rhine
Valley.
A castle terrace, the deck of a Rhine steamer or a cozy
wine pub in a half-timbered house are memorable
settings for a glass of wine. In addition to the wine
festivals in September and October, there are many
food and wine events from March to December,
collectively called "Mittelrhein Momente, as well as
culinary summer nights in Bacharach (June), "Weinkost in Boppard (August) and Weinforum Mittelrhein
in St. Goars Rheinfels castle (early September).
Regional wines are also served at first-class concerts
during "Mittelrhein Musik Momente (July and
August). Last but not least are the grand fireworks
displays, "The Rhine in Flames, at numerous locations
between Bingen and Bonn (MaySeptember).
The year 2002 not only marked the bicentennial
of Rhine Romanticism in June, UNESCO added the
65-km (40-mile) stretch of the Mittelrhein between
Bingen and Koblenz to its World Heritage List.

RIESLING COUNTRY.

Nibelungen) and Clemens Brentano (Legend of Loreley). The best-known lyrics stem from Heinrich Heine,
whose "Song of Loreley is played aboard Rhine
steamers as they approach the slate cliff where the
sirens lovely singing lured sailors to their death. The

16

The visitors delight is the vintners plight: the steep


slate cliffs are dramatically beautiful, but extremely
labor-intensive. Increasingly, the hillsides are dotted
with patches of scrub where vines once grew, as the
Mittelrheins vineyard area shrinks year after year.
Crisp, fragrant Riesling wines are the hallmark of the
region and 70 percent of its 505 ha (ca. 1,250 acres)
are planted with this noble variety. A small amount of
Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) red wine is produced, including the specialty "Dragons Blood from the "Dragons
Cliff vineyard on one of the seven hills south of Bonn.
The name derives from Siegfrieds legendary battle with
the cave-dwelling dragon on this hill.

MOSEL-SAAR-RUWER
THE LEGACY OF THE ROMANS.
The valleys of the Mosel River and its tributaries, the
Saar and the Ruwer (pronounced ROO-vair), are the
setting for some of Germanys most beautiful and
romantic wine country. From Perl, at the "threecountry corner of France, Luxembourg and Germany,
the Mosel flows for 242 km (145 miles) to join the
Rhine at Koblenz. The Saar and the Ruwer rivers flow
into the Mosel near the ancient town of Trier. Vines
and forests carpet the steep slopes formed when the
Mosel cut a gorge through the Hunsrck and Eifel hills.
Spectacular loops mark the sites where the slate has
resisted the power of the river.
The Mosel Weinstrasse (Mosel Wine Road) runs parallel to the river and passes through dozens of wine
villages with world-renowned vineyards, such as the
Sonnenuhr (sun dial) sites of Zeltingen, Wehlen and
Brauneberg; the Doctor in Bernkastel; and Goldtrpfchen in Piesport. Hikers can enjoy breathtaking
panoramas from the heights of the Moselhhenweg
trails on both sides of the Mosel. Or savor the
landscape and its wines on a leisurely river cruise.

For an overview of the regions wines, stop in Bernkastel-Kues to visit the tasting room in the regional
cooperative winery or in the historic Cusanusstift next
to the wine museum. The winemakers and chefs of the
Terrassenmosel (terraced sites between Zell and
Koblenz) are an insiders tip worth discovering. They
host festive wine and food events nearly all year
round.

DELICATE BUT EXPRESSIVE.


The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, with some 9,800 ha (24,285
acres) of vines, is Germanys fifth largest wine-growing
region, but number one worldwide in terms of area
devoted to Riesling vines (5,523 ha/ca. 13,650 acres).
In the Saar and Ruwer valleys, and from Trier to
Koblenz, the Riesling grape and slaty soil team up to
yield wines of incomparable delicacy, yet remarkable
expression. These are fragrant white wines, rich in acidity and fruit flavors, often with a mineral undertone
and/or the slightest hint of natural effervescence.
Generally, the wines of the Ruwer are the most fragrant, with a piquant acidity; the Saar wines are the
steeliest and most austere, especially when young;
and from the Mosel Valley come the softest, fullest
wines of the trilogy. The very finest gracefully age into
sought-after rarities that fetch legendary prices at
auction.

Scores of wine-related Roman artifacts and press


houses unearthed throughout the region bear witness
to 2,000 years of viticulture on the Mosel, Saar and
Ruwer. Another vestige of Roman times is the Elbling
grape, now grown primarily in the shell-limestone soils
facing Luxembourg. The wines are neutral, with a healthy acidity well-suited for sparkling wine production.
Trier, the regions wine and cultural capital (and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site), is the site of numerous
festivals, tastings and auctions, culminating with the
Weinforum presentation of top wines in November.

17

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

NAHE OASIS OF TRANQUILITY.


The Nahe is a quiet region situated in the Hunsrck
Hills between the Mosel and Rhine valleys. The area
under vine primarily follows the course of the Nahe
River from its confluence with the Rhine at Bingerbrck for about 60 km (36 miles) south and west as
far as Kirn. South of Bad Kreuznach, the largest town
and an important wine-growing center, are the dramatic porphry cliffs of Rotenfels, the highest rock face
north of the Alps, and Rheingrafenstein at the pretty
spa of Bad Mnster am Stein. The regions third spa,
Bad Sobernheim, beckons to the west. Whether you
want to relax at a health resort or simply tour the peaceful countryside, the Nahe is a great place to unwind
over a glass of wine.
The Weinwanderweg Nahe hiking trail takes in historic towns and castle ruins, while the Radweg Nahe
offers cycling fans a 60-km (37-mile) marked route
from Bingen to Kirn. Or drive along the circular route
of the Nahe-Weinstrasse (Nahe Wine Road), which is
also the backdrop for wine festivals in August and
early September. Simply follow the signs with a wine
glass bearing the letter "N.

18

A WEALTH OF DIVERSITY.

PFALZ IMPERIAL ORIGINS.

The Nahe boasts a remarkable geological diversity


given its relatively small area (approx. 4,300
ha/10,600 acres). In fact, Idar-Oberstein is the center of Germanys precious stone industry. The mineral-rich soils yield a broad spectrum of wines. The
steeper vineyards of stony, volcanic or slaty soils bring
forth sleek, racy wines, including piquant versions of
the regions best grape, the Riesling. Fuller-bodied,
hearty Silvaner and Kerner wines and mild, fragrant
Mller-Thurgau (or Rivaner) and Scheurebe tend to
come from the deeper soils (clay, loam, or loess, sometimes mixed with sand or gravel) in the flat or gently
sloping sites. Increased demand for drier, food-compatible wines has led to greater interest in Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
as well as red wines from the new crossing Dornfelder and the traditional varieties Sptburgunder (Pinot
Noir) and Portugieser.

The Pfalz is bordered by Rheinhesen to the north and


France to the south and west. For nearly 80 km (50
miles), a thick ribbon of vineyards runs parallel to the
foothills of the forested Haardt Mountains. The Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Road, Germanys
oldest tourist route) traces the length of the region,
from Bockenheim to Schweigen, as do the cycling and
hiking trails (Rad-)Wanderweg Deutsche Weinstrasse,
that pass through many of the regions most famous
wine villages, such as Forst, Wachenheim and Deidesheim.
Roman excavations and the worlds oldest wine (A.D.
300) chronicle the beginnings of the Pfalzs long viticultural tradition. Around every corner there are
works of art and architecture that make history come
alive, particularly the Middle Ages. Neuleiningen and
Freinsheim, both still ringed by medieval walls, are
especially picturesque. There are splendid views from
ancient hilltop castles, such as Burg Trifels, Madenburg and Hambacher Schloss, to name but a few
built by the kings, emperors and bishops who, for centuries, celebrated coronations and Communion with
wine from the Pfalz. Speyer Cathedral, one of Germanys greatest Romanesque structures, is a UNESCO
World Heritage site.

CHEERS!
THE PFALZ.
Not only grapes, but also figs, lemons, sweet chestnuts and almonds thrive in this exceptionally warm,
sunny climate. Pflzer hospitality is just as inviting.
These people are legendary for their ability to "eat,
drink and be merry. It is not surprising that the worlds largest wine festival, Bad Drkheims Wurstmarkt
(mid-September), is held in the Pfalz. Other large celebrations include the colorful harvest festival in Neustadt (October), featuring a parade and the coronation
of the German wine queen, and "wine days in Landau

(June), when vintners from the southern Pfalz present


hundreds of wines with food and cultural events. Last
but not least is the action-packed wine and folk festival the last Sunday in August, "Erlebnistag, when
tasting stands line the German Wine Road (closed to
autos that day) from beginning to end.

CONTRAST:
FROM CLASSIC TO CONTEMPORARY.
In terms of size, the Pfalz is Germanys second largest wine region, with 23,357 ha (57,715 acres) of
vines. In a region of this size there is a wide range of
soil types. Loam is prevalent, often in a mixture with
loess, chalk, clay, colored sandstone or sand. Riesling
is the leading grape variety. It brings forth wines of
great substance, rounder and fuller-bodied than their
Mosel counterparts, with a fragrance and acidity more
reminiscent of peaches or apricots than green apples.
Mller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner, Weissburgunder
(Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) and Scheurebe are also important white varieties. Slightly more
than a third of the wines are red, from the new crossing Dornfelder as well as the traditional varieties Portugieser and Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir). Smaller
quantities of many other white and red varieties are
grown here, including the ubiquitous Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

19

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

RHEINGAU RIESLING.
RHEINGAU CULTURE AND VITICULTURE.

The heart of the Rheingau borders the Rhine on its


east-west course from Wiesbaden to Rdesheim, with
a broad ribbon of vineyards lining the hills from the
river up to the forested summit of the Taunus Hills.
It is easy to become acquainted with the area and its
wines, thanks to three well-marked "Rheingauer Riesling routes (driving, hiking and cycling) which wind
through the attractive landscape, and to nearly two
dozen wine villages, most of which have open-air tasting stands and annual wine festivals. In addition,
some 100 vintners present their wines in Wiesbaden
at the Rheingauer Weinwoche, a ten-day regional celebration in mid-August. Wine estates and historical
sites are the backdrop for many upscale culinary and
cultural events, such as the Rheingauer Gourmet Festival in March, Schlemmmerwochen (gourmet weeks)
in late April/early May, Glorreiche Rheingauertage
(glorious Rheingau days) in November and a summerlong program of outstanding concerts during the
Rheingau Musik Festival.
Kloster Eberbach is the wine and cultural center of
the region. Today, the 12th-century Cistercian
monastery is home to the Hessian State Wine
Domains and the site of prestigious wine auctions in
spring and autumn. From Eberbach and neighboring
Schloss Vollrads come the earliest mentions of a Cabinet (Kabinett) cellar for storing wines of superior quality, while the Prdikat Sptlese originates from
Schloss Johannisberg, where a late harvest in 1775
set the stage for the rich, ripe Botrytis wines for which
Germany is renowned.

20

The Rheingau is a compact region. Its reputation far


outweighs its size the total vineyard area is a mere
3,200 ha (8,000 acres). Quality-consciousness underlies the regions success. Rheingau vintners have focused on two high-quality grapes for centuries: Riesling
(ca. 80% of the regions vineyards) and Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir). Firm, piquant Riesling wines with great
aging potential are the regions hallmark. Velvety, supple Sptburgunder wines, with fragrant berry and
subtle almond tones, are the Rieslings red wine counterpart in terms of elegance and quality. Growing conditions along the Rhine are optimal, shaped by climate
and soil loess and loam are widespread, but overall,
the regions soil profile is like a patchwork quilt comprising chalky, sandy, gravelly soils as well as quartzite
and slate, particularly in the west.
In 1995, a regional wine bottle was created to enhance
consumer recognition of fine Rheingau wines. The
bottle is an elegant, tall, antique blue flute with a faceted neck. A slender, faceted blue-stemmed glass matches the handsome bottle. Since vintage 1999, a logo
depicting three Romanesque double arches and the
designation "Erstes Gewchs (First Growth) have
appeared on labels to denote Rheingau Riesling and
Sptburgunder wines of the absolute highest quality.

orchards and vineyards. The heartland is ringed by


scenic, forested hills in the west and the vine-clad slopes of the Rhine Terrace in the east. The countryside
is dotted with small wine villages, appealing in their
simplicity and unexpectedly rich in artistic detail, from
beautifully carved courtyard portals to treasures in
the parish churches. Mainz and Worms each have a
magnificent Romanesque cathedral and fascinating
museums that chronicle the 2,000-year-old viticultural history of Germanys largest wine-growing region.

DISCOVER THE DIVERSITY.


From the Hoffeste (festivals in vintners courtyards)
to huge folk festivals, there are hundeds of events at
which to sample Rheinhessens immense variety of
wines. The Mainzer Johannisnacht in late June (in
honor of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type printing) and Wormser Backfischfest in late
August (fried fish festival) are among the Rhinelands
most colorful festivals. Traditional wine festivals in
Bodenheim, Nackenheim, Nierstein and Oppenheim
draw thousands of wine fans to the Rhine Terrace
where Riesling predominates every summer. The list
of "wine and ... events culminates with the presentation of award-winning wines at Weinforum Rheinhessen in Mainz, the last weekend of October.

RHEINHESSEN A WEALTH OF WINE.


MARKETING SAVVY.
Rheinhessens gentle, rolling hills lie within the large
elbow formed by the Rhine River as it flows from
Worms to its sweeping bend around Mainz and west
to its next turn at Bingen. This is spacious, fertile farmland carpeted with fields of grain and vegetables,

tugieser and Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir). As in the


Pfalz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are
making inroads here albeit on a small scale.

With some 26, 300 ha (65,000 acres) under vine,


Rheinhessen produces a vast quantity of wine to be
marketed. This gave rise to a number of pioneer products in the eighties and nineties, such as Winzersekt,
a vintners vintage varietal sparkling wine, RS Rheinhessen Silvaner a superior varietal wine from the
worlds largest area planted with this classic grape
variety, and Selection Rheinhessen, exquisite wines
from older vines, limited yields, hand-harvested and
vinified dry. In all, the regions loess, limestone and
loam soils (often mixed with sand or gravel) and
moderate climate provide excellent growing conditions
for many varieties, old and new. The classic varieties,
Rivaner (Mller-Thurgau), Silvaner and Riesling are the
foremost whites, but this is also the home of several
new crossings, many of which were bred by Professor
Georg Scheu ("shoy) in Alzey during the 1920s, including his namesake, the Scheurebe. About a quarter
of the regions vines are red, primarily Dornfelder, Por-

SAALE-UNSTRUT
A MILLINNEUM OF VITICULTURE.
Vines have lined the slopes of the Saale and Unstrut
river valleys for ten centuries. Saale-Unstrut is Germanys northernmost wine-growing region, the heart
of which straddles the 51st degree of latitude between
Leipzig and Weimar. It is a gentle landscape of hills
ringed by forests, poplar groves and broad plateaus.
Vineyards and orchards are scattered on the slopes
of shell-limestone, often terraced with dry stone walls,
while corn and wheat fields dominate the flatter
expanses. Much of the region lies within the SaaleUnstrut-Triasland nature park, a haven for rare fauna
and flora.
Freyburg, Naumburg and Bad Ksen are the main wine
centers and host the largest festivals. To visit them
and take in the smaller wine villages, travel on the
Weinstrasse (wine road). It follows the Unstrut from
Nebra to Grossjena, then continues westward along
the banks of the Saale and the Ilm River to Bad Sulza.
Sections of the route are identical with the Strasse
der Romanik (the Romanesque Road), with signposts
to historical castles, monasteries and churches. The
Radwanderweg (bicycle trail) along the rivers banks,
the Wanderweg (hiking trail) through the vineyards,
as well as trips by boat and train are pleasant alternatives to driving.

21

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

DYNAMIC AND DIVERSE.


The vineyard area and number of private wine estates in Saale-Unstrut has steadily increased in the
years since reunification. There is a remarkable dedication among wine-growers to preserve the regions
viticultural tradition and make improvements in harmony with the natural surroundings. For a region this
small the total vineyard area is a mere 648 hectares (ca. 1,600 acres) a surprising number of white
and red grape varieties are cultivated. The whites predominate, with Mller-Thurgau, Weissburgunder
(Pinot Blanc) and Silvaner heading the list, followed
by small quantities of Kerner, Riesling, Bacchus, Traminer and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris). Portugieser,
Dornfelder and Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir) are the
main red wine grapes, but there are specialities, too,
such as Regent and Blauer Zweigelt. The wines generally have a healthy acidity, are vinified dry, and marketed as varietals. Most of the growers deliver their
crop to the regional cooperative in Freyburg. The
State Wine Domain near Bad Ksen is the regions
other large producer. End your visit on a sparkling
note at the Rotkppchen sparkling wine cellars in
Freyburg. Trademarked in 1894, the immensely
popular "red capsule brand is literally one of the
regions most bubbling success stories.

SACHSEN
"SIMPLY STRONG.
Sachsens slogan, "simply strong, alludes to the
powerful Saxon dynasty and the legendary August the
Strong (1670-1733), who ruled when viticulture was
in its heyday. Today, Sachsen is Germanys smallest
and easternmost wine-growing region, nestled in the
Elbe River basin some 200 km (125 miles) southeast
of Berlin and 150 km (95 miles) northwest of Prague.
The Schsische Weinstrasse (Saxon Wine Road), the
Elbe-Radweg (bicycle path) and the Weisse Flotte, the
worlds oldest (1836) fleet of paddlewheel steamboats, cover the length of wine country as they follow
the course of the river from Pirna, south of Dresden,
to Diesbar-Seusslitz, north of Meissen. Along this
route, a mere 55 km (34 miles), there are countless
art and architectural treasures to admire, from
ancient fortresses to sumptuous palaces surrounded
by elaborate parks or gardens. These were financed
by revenues from Saxons wine and the silver of the
Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), and from 1710, the
"white gold produced in Meissens renowned porcelain manufactory.

The Swabians are known for their hospitality, hearty


country cooking and delicious red and white wines,
traditionally served in the Viertele, a round, quarterliter glass with a handle. Besenwirtschaften, or
"Broomstick Inns, in vintners homes serve the local
wines. Look for a birchbroom or wreath over the doorway. Less cozy, but quite festive, are the huge wine
festivals in Stuttgart (late August to early September)
and Heilbronn (mid-September).

FROM SIMPLE TO SUBLIME.

Things have come full circle: Meissen is home to the


cooperative winery where most of the regions wine
is produced today.

CULTURE, WINE AND A WARM WELCOME.


In Radebeul, the historical wine estate Hoflssnitz,
with a wine museum and cozy pub, and the State Wine
Domain housed in the 18th-century Schloss Wackerbarth, with beautiful gardens, are the sites of many
tastings, festivals and cultural events. Wine festivals
from June to October offer tasting opportunities in
Diesbar-Seusslitz, Meissen and Dresden, as does the
huge folk festival along the wine road south of Dresden, the Elbhangfest, in late June. In addition, more
than two dozen restaurants/hotels along the wine road
bear a seal of quality that reads "besonders empfohlen, or specially recommended, because of their
remarkable selection of Saxon wine and food and visitor-friendliness.
The best vineyards are planted near the river, on slopes of weathered granite or gneiss, often covered with
a layer of loess. Mller-Thurgau, Riesling and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) are the main varieties, supplemented by small quantities of Grauburgunder
(Pinot Gris), Kerner, Traminer and the rare RieslingMuscat crossing Goldriesling. Sptburgunder (Pinot
Noir) and Dornfelder are the main red varieties. With

22

only 449 hectares (1,110 acres) of vines, the wines


of Sachsen are indeed rarities. Yet, despite the challenges posed by the continental climate and laborintensive, terraced sites, viticulture enjoys a long
tradition here. Vineyards were first documented in
1161 in a deed of gift to a monastery in Meissen.

WRTTEMBERG
HOSPITALITY SWABIAN STYLE.
Wrttemberg is a rural area of considerable natural
beauty between the foothills of the Swabian Jura and
the Tauber River Valley. Stuttgart and Heilbronn are
the regions major cities; both are rich in history and
culture. But it is in the countryside and villages which
line the valleys of the Neckar River and its tributaries
that the character of Wrttemberg really comes alive.
Shell-limestone, keuper (colored marl) and loess-loam
are the main soil types. Particularly scenic are the
stone-terraced vineyards overlooking the Neckar as
it loops between Besigheim and Mundelsheim. These
so-called Felsengrten (cliff gardens) give a glimpse
of how vineyards throughout the region looked prior
to being modernized. Wrttembergs wine villages are
scattered amidst fields and forests. To discover them
requires considerable criss-crossing, but the Schwbische Weinstrasse (auto route) and the signposted
Radweg (bicycle trail) do an admirable job as they
wind from Weikersheim to Metzingen.

Red wine fans will feel very much at home here


nearly 70 percent of Wrttembergs ca. 11,500 ha
(28,214 acres) are planted with red wine varieties.
Trollinger, a variety seldom found in other regions, is
the quaffing wine of choice. Its wines are light in color
and body, with a refreshing acidity. Schwarzriesling
(Pinot Meunier), Lemberger and Sptburgunder (Pinot
Noir) yield deeper-colored wines with more body and
substance. The finest are often aged in barrique casks
and form the premium segment of an estates or cooperatives collection. Riesling, the premier white
variety, accounts for nearly a fifth of the regions vines.
The Riesling-like new crossing Kerner, named after the
19th-century poet Justinus Kerner, was bred in his
native Weinsberg by crossing Trollinger and Riesling.
Small, but about equal, amounts of Kerner and Mller-Thurgau are cultivated here. Wrttemberg whites
are generally heartier and fuller than their northerly
counterparts. Nearly all the wine is consumed locally
the Swabians, like their neighbors in Baden, are a
thirsty folk with an annual per capita consumption
nearly double the national average.

23

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

GERMAN WINES
A PURE PLEASURE...NATURALLY.

INTEGRATED VITICULTURE.
Integrated viticulture embraces preventive and
remedial measures that minimize damage to the
environment. It is the responsibility of all German
wine-growing enterprises to manage their vineyards
in an ecologically-conscious manner. This includes,
for example, the timely and proper use of plant protection products based on the intensity of infestation
(disease) or attacks (pests) and damage threshold,
as well as the application of ecologically-friendly
fertilizer only after soil analysis and according to the
motto "as little as possible, as much as necessary.
Wine is one of natures greatest gifts. Man has cultivated vines for thousands of years, yet to this day,
it is nature that determines the outcome of every
vintage. And the scope of its influence extends far
beyond that of weather conditions related to the sun,
wind and rain.
Wine grapes are part of a sensitive ecosystem, in
which even relatively minor changes can result in
damage and/or long-term changes. For this reason, it
is important to maintain and nurture the natural
flora and fauna indigenous to vineyards. It is in every
wine-growers own interest to protect the fragile
ecosystem so that his or her vines are able to yield
crops of optimal quality and size for many decades.

A TRADITION OF
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION.
Environmentally-friendly viticulture is virtually a
tradition in Gemany. Its pioneering efforts in this
field have made Germany a role model within
Europe. Local wine-growers and authorities have long
practiced ecologically-oriented viticulture according to
the highest standards. Thus, it comes as no surprise
that wine lovers are increasingly buying and enjoying
wines produced in harmony with nature. All German
wine-growers are legally obligated to treat the environment with care. In addition, there are numerous
organizations that prescribe even stricter guidelines
for their members. Here is a rsum of some of the
most important concepts.

24

CONTROLLED, ENVIRONMENTALLY
SOUND VITICULTURE.
The goal of this type of viticulture is to foster greater
harmony between wine-growing and nature. On the
part of the grower, this requires a high level of
professional competence where viticulture and the
natural environment are concerned. The system is
sbased on using only plant protective products that

are not harmful to beneficial creatures; using fertilizer only as needed; and
using natural green cover
to provide a habitat for a
wealth of flora and fauna.
Specially approved herbicides or insecticides are
permitted only if deemed
necessary. The members of
the associations devoted
to "controlled, environmentally sound viticulture voluntarily adhere to these
stricter regulations, that have been developed and
are controlled by viticultural advisory centers in
conjunction with individual growers.

ECOLOGICAL VITICULTURE.
By the mid-1980s many German wine-growers were
committed to the holistic approach of ecological viticulture. Today, they adhere mto the officially controlled regulations prescribed
by
European
Union
decree
no. 2092/92 on "ecological agriculture
issued in 1991. Among the key provisions
are: to improve soil fertility through
green cover to provide optimal conditions
for the flora and fauna that are natural
enemies of harmful pests, and to use only
a balanced amount of organic fertilizer
when needed; herbicides are forbidden.
Powdered stone meal and plant extracts
can be used to support the natural
resistance of vines to mildew. Limited
amounts of preparations containing
sulfur or copper are permitted if deemed
necessary to improve resistance. Only biological and
biotechnical products are permitted to combat pests.
The following organizations mentioned on labels or
wine lists denote ecological wine-growers: ECOVIN,
Naturland, Bioland, Demeter and Ga.

ENJOY...NATURALLY.
Ecology and pleasure are perfect partners when it
comes to wine. After all, wine is a product of nature
and the healthier our natural environment, the more
healthful and more enjoyable the wine. Taste is
the final arbiter of quality.

25

FROM THE VINE TO THE BOTTLE.

THE HARVEST
TIMING IS CRUCIAL.

develop. After the sediment (including exhausted yeast


cells) settles to the bottom of the barrel or tank, the
wine is drawn off and put into a clean container again,
leaving the sediment, or lees, behind. This process is
called racking and may be repeated several times
during the wines maturing period in the cellar. Later
the wine is also clarified, or fined. A precipitation agent,
such as gelatin, is added at the top of the barrel; as
it sinks to the bottom, the agent carries suspended
matter, leaving the wine clear and bright. Finally, the
wine is directed through a filtration system to remove
all undesired elements.

Germanys northerly location provides a moderate


climate without intense heat, so that grapes have more
time to ripen than in more southerly areas. A typical
German wine harvest takes place in late autumn, long
after the harvest has been completed elsewhere, and
at a time when a sudden frost or long period of rain
could destroy the crop.
Starting in late summer,
growers begin to measure
how much sugar has developed in the grapes juice,
or must, which is an indication of ripeness. This can
be measured on a thermometer-like device called a
hydrometer, which has a
graduated scale that compares the specific gravity
of the must to the specific
gravity of water. The must
weight is expressed as
Oechsle degrees. From this
measurement, the potential alcohol level of the
finished wine can be determined, which is one of the
criteria for the wines quality category classification.
The weather during the growing season, vineyard site
(microclimate, soil structure) and grape variety affect
the pace of ripening. Different
grape varieties ripen at different
rates some need less time,
some need more: Rivaner (Mller-Thurgau) grapes are usually
ripe around mid-September;
Riesling in mid- to late October
or November. It is the vintner
who determines how long to risk
leaving his or her grapes on the
vine. The overall health of the
crop, must weights, acidity
levels and weather outlook all
influence the timing of the
harvest. Seldom is the crop
picked all at once, but rather
in stages, at various levels of
ripeness (selective harvesting).

26

A MATTER OF STYLE.
RIPENESS A SIGN OF QUALITY.
Whether "light and lively or "rich and concentrated,
the character of the finished wine is related to the
ripeness of the grapes at harvest. Wines made from
riper and very ripe grapes have more depth and
substance in terms of aroma, bouquet and body, as
well as greater aging potential. The ripeness level is
indicated on the label by the quality category.

POLISHING A GIFT OF NATURE.


Once the grapes have been harvested, it is up to the
cellar master to preserve the quality achieved in the
vineyard. The cellar procedures outlined below are
usual, but not universal. Winemaking philosophies
range from "hands-off to full-scale use of high-tech
equipment. The size of an estate or winery and
production volume also influence the course of cellar
operations.

Normally, the grapes are destemmed and crushed before


they are pressed. The must, or
juice of the pressed grapes, is
then placed in barrels or stainless steel tanks and fermentation
begins. When the yeast, natural
or cultured, comes into contact
with the natural sugar in the
must, it converts the sugar into
carbon dioxide (which escapes)
and alcohol. Riper grapes with
higher amounts of natural sugar
have the potential to produce a
wine with more alcohol.
The fermented wine is drawn off
and placed in clean containers to

When fermentation is completed, the wine is usually


quite dry, because the yeast has converted nearly all
of the sugar into CO2 and alcohol. But yeast has its
limits: if the must had a very high sugar content (very
ripe or overripe grapes), once the amount of alcohol
produced reaches 12-15% by volume, the yeast is
"exhausted and no longer able to convert sugar into
CO2 and alcohol. Some of the original, natural sugar
will remain in the wine; this is referred to as residual
sugar. A wine with some residual sugar is not necessarily sweet our overall perception of how sweet
(or dry) a wine tastes is shaped by the interplay of
sweetness with other components in the wine, such
as acidity and alcohol.
To achieve different styles of wine, the winemaker
can stop fermentation by separating the wine from
the yeast before all of the natural sugar has been
fermented, and thereby produce a wine with different
levels of residual sugar.

CRYSTALS, BOTTLES AND


A BRIGHT FUTURE.
The majority of wines for everyday enjoyment
are bottled in the spring after their harvest. Before
bottling, many German white wines undergo cold
stabilization. This is the process of storing wine in
temperatures below freezing in order to eliminate the
tartaric crystals that tend to form in especially good
years. These tiny crystals known as "Weinstein in
German found on the cork or at the bottom of a
bottle are not flaws. They are harmless, tasteless and
in no way detract from the bouquet or flavor of the
wine. On the contrary, they are considered a sign of
quality.
Because many German wines are relatively low in
alcohol and often have some residual sugar, they must
be bottled with particular care. Consequently, they
are sterile-bottled, whereby the wine is pumped
through a very fine filter that removes the last traces
of sediment as well as any yeast cells that may still
be present (to prevent refermentation). The wine is
now clean, clear, stable and ready to fill sterilized
bottles which will be sealed with sterilized corks.
Germanys traditional bottles the slender swannecked flute, or flat round Bocksbeutel (Franken) are
still in use centuries after their advent, but they
have been joined by a wide range of bottle shapes and
colors, as well as stylish labels, that make for some
very striking packages. The wines lying within these
"glass walls will continue to mature for years or
decades, naturally preserved by their alcohol, acidity
and residual sugar. Particularly the highest-quality
wines benefit from several years of bottle aging.
Patience has its rewards..... anticipation is, perhaps,
the greatest pleasure of all.

27

DESIGNATIONS OF DISTINCTION.

HOW TO RECOGNIZE QUALITY.

There are two broad quality categories of wine in the


European Union: table wine and quality wine. On
average, less than five percent of an annual German
wine harvest goes into table wine production.
Deutscher Tafelwein and Deutscher Landwein, a
superior table wine, offer simple refreshment for local
consumption.
The quality wines from one of the 13 specified
German wine-growing regions are made from riper
grapes and subject to higher standards. Basic
quality wines, Qualittswein b.A. (QbA), and higherquality, dry varietals labeled CLASSIC, are great for
everyday enjoyment, with or without meals, and best
consumed while young and fresh. SELECTION is the
term reserved for superior dry varietal wines. They are
ideal for fine dining or festive occasions and benefit
from aging.
Germanys premium quality wines, Qualittswein mit
Prdikat (QmP) are made from fully ripe and/or
Botrytis-affected grapes. They are elegant, noble and
longlived. The following Prdikats (special attributes)
denote six ascending levels of ripeness (quality):

Kabinett:

Elegant wines made from fully ripened grapes. Generally, the lightest of
the Prdikat wines.
Sptlese:
Literally, late harvest. Made from very
ripe grapes, these wines are deeper
in aroma and flavor, and fullerbodied, than Kabinett.
Auslese:
Noble wines, intense in bouquet and
taste, made from even riper grapes,
selected in bunches.
Beerenauslese (BA): Rare and exquisite wines with the
unmistakable honey-like aroma of
Botrytis ("noble rot). Made from
overripe berries, individually selected
by hand.
Eiswein:
Made from grapes of BA quality,
harvested and pressed while frozen.
Truly unique wines with a remarkable
concentration of fruity acidity and
sweetness.
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): The crowning achievement of German viticulture. A lusciously sweet wine made from individual berries shrivelled almost to
raisins.

28

THE LABEL
THE KEY TO A WINES PROFILE.
2002

DLG-BUNDESPRMIERUNG

DLG-BUNDESPRMIERUNG

2002

DLG-BUNDESPRMIERUNG

DLG-BUNDESPRMIERUNG

2002

2002

If youve read this far, you have been introduced to


the ca. 40 words you are most likely to see on a
German wine label: the names of the 13 wine-growing
regions, the names of 13 popular grape varieties,
the four short words that signal a drier-style wine
(trocken, halbtrocken, Classic and Selection), and the
ten words that describe the ripeness of the grapes
at harvest. In practice, though, youll probably
encounter fewer than half of these words with any
regularity.
The name of the region and ripeness level (quality
category) are mandatory on the label; grape variety,
style, and vintage are optional, but frequently
mentioned. This information is the key to the wines
profile.

ENLIGHTENING COMBINATIONS.
The descriptive terms explained above for QbA and
QmP wines refer to varying degrees of ripeness at
harvest primarily determined in the vineyard, by
Mother Nature. The riper the grapes, the more intense
or concentrated the wine. With the exception of
Classic and Selection, which are always drier-style
varietals, and the last three Prdikats (BA, Eiswein,
TBA), which are lusciously sweet dessert wines, the
ripeness (quality) designations do not provide information about the style of the wine.
Whether a wine is dry, off-dry or sweet to the taste
is primarily determined in the cellar, by the winemaker. The descriptive terms for style trocken (dry)
or halbtrocken (off-dry) are qualifiers, used in conjunction with the ripeness designations. Both trocken
and halbtrocken wines can be made in ripeness
categories from QbA through Auslese. In other words,
increasing levels of ripeness from QbA through Auslese (= concentration, intensity) do not mean increasing levels of sweetness. A QbA trocken or Kabinett
trocken is a dry wine vinified from fully ripened
grapes (good aroma and flavor), while a Sptlese
trocken is a dry wine vinified from very ripe grapes
(more aroma and flavor).
If neither trocken nor halbtrocken (or Classic or
Selection) is indicated on a label or wine list, expect
a wine with perceptible sweetness.

3 The grape variety.*


4 The quality level of the wine, indicating the
ripeness of the grapes at harvest.
5 The style of the wine. Here, an off-dry (halbtrocken) wine. Trocken indicates a very dry wine.
Wines labeled CLASSIC or SELECTION are dry
varietals. If none of these terms is on the label,
expect a wine with some residual sweetness.
6 The town (+ "er) and the vineyard* from which the
grapes originate. Here, a hypothetical example.
7 The specified region in Germany, there are 13
specified wine-growing regions (QbA and QmP)
and the wine must originate 100% from that
region.

A SAMPLE LABEL.
8 Wines bottled and produced by the grower or a
cooperative of growers (Winzergenossenschaft)
may be labelled Erzeugerabfllung. Estates and
individual growers can use Gutsabfllung as an alternative. Estates located in a historical castle can
use Schlossabfllung. Other wineries and bottlers
are identified as Abfller. The business address
of all bottlers (growers, estates, cooperatives,
wineries) must appear on the label.

WEINGUT

HANS WINZER

9 The quality control number, indicating the


wine has passed the chemical and sensory tests
required of all German quality wines.

D-12345 WINZERDORF

2 2000
3 RIESLING KABINETT
5 HALBTROCKEN
6 WINZERDORFER REBBERG

10 The alcohol content.

7 RHEINGAU

11 The liquid content.

10
alc 11,5% vol

GUTSABFLLUNG
QUALITTSWEIN MIT PRDIKAT
9 A.P. NR. 12 345 678 01
PRODUCE OF GERMANY

11
e 750ml

1 The name and address of the wine estate


(Weingut).
2 The vintage* the year in which the grapes were
harvested.

* Note: If a vintage, vineyard site or grape variety


(optional declarations) are mentioned on a label, at
least 85% of the wine must originate from that
vintage, vineyard site or grape variety.

29

DESIGNATIONS OF DISTINCTION.

TASTE DRY. TASTE STYLE.

TOP-CLASS QUALITY.
DRY IN STYLE.

Can shopping for wine be a


pleasure, even if youre not
a wine connoisseur? Is it
possible to find the "right
wine straightaway, even if
youre baffled by the jargon
on wine labels? Believe it or
not, the answer to both
questions is yes. Whether
youre just an occasional
wine drinker or youve avoided wine for fear of making
the "wrong choice, you can
now breathe a sigh of relief.

SIMPLIFIED LABELS.

SHOPPING FOR
GERMAN WINE WAS
NEVER EASIER.

Today, theres a call for wines that taste dry not


least because they are often consumed with meals.
Try a Classic wine from Germany. Not too dry and not
too sweet. A pleasure with traditional and
contemporary cuisine all year long.
Celebrate May alfresco, with fresh salads or the first
picnic of the year and a bottle of Rivaner Classic.
For a true delicacy, let a refreshing Riesling Classic
enhance the flavor of your favorite fish dishes
during the summer. A Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc)
Classic with a hearty bowl of chowder or stew is a
delicious way to ease into the first cool days of autumn. Seafood is tasty all
year round, but especially so in late autumn, with
a Grauburgunder (Pinot
Gris) Classic. Add a festive note to your holiday
entertaining or Christmas
goose with a Classic Sptburgunder (Pinot Noir).

Classic wines enable everyone to easily find uncomplicated, dry varietal wines for
everyday enjoyment reliable taste and quality at an
affordable price.

TASTE DRY.
TASTE STYLE.
Vintage 2000 marked the
advent of Classic a term
meant to simplify matters
for consumers. Winemakers
in all 13 German wine-growing regions can produce
Classic wines, provided the
wines are above average in
quality, harmoniously dry in
taste, and made from one of
the classic grape varieties,
such as Riesling, Silvaner or
Sptburgunder. The concept
is designed to impart a clear
profile regarding a wines
quality and taste only
wines that meet these criteria can be labeled Classic.

30

EXCELLENT & DRY.

Classic wines are easy to recognize the labels bear


the Classic logo next to the name of a traditional
grape variety. The name of the producer and winegrowing region are also mentioned, but vineyard
names have been deliberately omitted. Because all
Classic wines are harmoniously dry in style, the terms
"trocken (dry) or "halbtrocken (off-dry) are superfluous. In all, Classic wine labels are as uncluttered
and easy to recognize as possible.

"Omnia praeclara rara all that is excellent is rare. The great Ciceros words of
wisdom could have served as the inspiration for one of German wine-growers most
ambitious plans: to produce wines comparable with the best dry wines of the world.
With vintage 2000 a new generation of top-class, dry German wines was born.
These wines represent a standard that only a select few will reach. As such, the
designation for these wines is at once a mark of distinction: Selection. They are
distinctive wines that embody the perfect pleasure of wine.

EXCELLENT
GERMAN WINES.

GREAT WITH MEALS.

Regardless of whats on
the menu, Classic wines
are perfect partners with
food every season of the
year.

Carefully selected and inspected vineyards, low yields


and harvesting by hand
guarantee the exceptional
quality of these dry wines.
The maximum permitted
yield is 60 liters per hectare
a low yield is an absolute
prerequisite for the highest
quality. Under the critical
eyes of the grower, the
grapes are laboriously harvested by hand only the
finest will wind up in the
cellar.
A Selection wine is always
excellent and dry. The maximum amount of residual
sugar in Selection corresponds with that prescribed
by law for dry wines, namely: less than nine grams
per liter. Riesling, with its
pronounced acidity, is an
exception: up to twelve
grams per liter are permitted, to ensure a perfect harmony
between acidity and fruitiness. The natural alcohol (derived
solely from the sugar of the grape) of all Selection wines
is at least 12.2% which, by the way, corresponds to the
minimum ripeness required for an Auslese.

SELECTED GRAPES
FOR PERFECT
PLEASURE.
Only selected, traditional
grape varieties can meet the
high standards of a Selection
wine. Excellent Rieslings and
outstanding members of the
Burgunder (Pinot) family red
and white are among the
grapes of choice. However,
each wine-growing region has
determined which of its traditional varieties are suitable
and permitted for local production. The long, slow ripening period of the grapes
ensures that the finished wine
is a perfect pleasure. All of the
experience and tradition of
regional winemaking is reflected in a Selection wine.

31

OTHER PRODUCTS OF THE GRAPE.

SEKT DELIGHTS OF A SPARKLING NATURE.

German is a colorful and expressive language, yet the


German word for sparkling wine, Sekt pronounced
zeckt is rather stark for such a sensuous product.
It derives from the Spanish vino seco, meaning dry
wine, and entered the German language as
seck via England (where it was called
sack) during the 17th century.
Purely by chance did it come to
mean sparkling wine. Quoting from Shakespeares
Henry IV, a famous Berlin
actor dramatically, but in
jest, ordered a waiter to
"bring him sack. For whatever reason, the waiter brought
what the actor usually ordered
sparkling wine to the uproarious
delight of all present, which prompted the actor to repeat the "performance night after night. The story was
told throughout Germany and by the end
of the 19th century, seck(t) was used interchangeably with Schaumwein to denote a sparkling
wine. In 1918, the Treaty of Versailles prohibited the
use of "Champagne for all European sparkling wines
other than those originating from the Champagne
region in France.
The sensual pleasures of a sparkling wine come into
play just seconds after the cork is popped. After
months of maturation in deep, dark cellars, its
effervescence is set free and it hypnotizes time
and again with its delicately spiraling pearls, its
seductive bouquet, its tingle on the tongue. Where do
they come from, the little bubbles that brighten up our
daily routine?

FROM WINE
TO SPARKLING WINE.
Strictly speaking, sparkling and still wine are
variations on a theme. Both are products of the
grape. A second fermentation gives a still wine
its sparkle. But first things first. One or more
base wines are selected, preferably those that
are perfectly clean, with a healthy acidity and an
elegant, racy character. Winzersekt, for example,
is a sparkling wine made from a single varietal
rather than a cuve of several varieties. Thats it

32

one variety from one vintage, and often, from one


vineyard as well. Experience and the skill of a craftsman are the actual tools of the cellar master, who
must be able to decide in advance which juice in
the cellar shows the most potential for making an
outstanding sparkling wine.

EVOCATIVE.

Once the base wine has been selected, the second


fermentation is started by adding sugar and yeast,
which are converted into an additional percent of
alcohol and carbon dioxide. This is the same carbon
dioxide that later forms delicate pearls in a glass.

HANDLE WITH CARE.


TRAPPED IN THE BOTTLE.
In the original method of producing sparkling
wine, known as the mthode champenoise in France
and "traditionelle or "klassische Flaschengrung in
Germany, the second fermentation takes place in the
bottle and the contents do not leave the bottle until
it is opened for enjoyment. After the second fermentation, the sparkling wine rests on the yeast for
several months, or even years, as it matures in a cool,
dark cellar. Then the bottles are placed horizontally
in a riddling rack for four weeks, where they are
carefully turned daily and gradually moved to an
inverted, vertical position. By the end of this
cumbersome process, the yeast has accumulated in
the neck of the bottle. The bottle neck is then dipped
into a cold saltwater bath to freeze the yeast. When
the bottle is opened, the yeast deposit flies out.
Finally, the bottle is topped up to compensate for the
small loss, corked and secured with a wire muzzle.

Still and sparkling wines are governed by different


rules and rituals. While many a still wine can benefit
from additional bottle aging at home, sparkling wine
is ready to enjoy when it leaves the vintners cellar.
Nevertheless, it can be stored in a cool, dark cellar
for up to three years without a loss of quality.
The ideal drinking temperature for a white or ros
sparkling wine is 68C (4346F). Sparkling wine
should be chilled in the refrigerator and not subjected to shock therapy in a freezer. If time is short, a
Rapid Ice cooler or this quick-chill method can help:
place the bottle in a bucket filled with chipped ice,
cold water and a handful of salt. A few minutes
before serving, turn the bottle upside down to chill
the contents in the neck.
Although the pop of a cork promises
pleasure to come, it is not a pleasure for
the sparkling wine such a rapid loss of
pressure causes the contents to froth
over. Your loss! Its best to tightly hold
the closure with one hand and slowly
turn the bottle with the other (TB = turn
bottle), easing the cork out with a soft
hiss, rather than a loud bang.
A shallow glass is totally unsuitable for
a sparkling wine theres no room for
its sparkling pearls to dance and any
hint of fragrance evaporates into thin
air. A tall, slender glass is ideal,
whether tulip-shaped or with straight
edges, regardless of whether the upper
rim curves inward or outward.

Sparkling wine is a pleasure for all


senses the gentle fizz, the spirals of
tiny bubbles, the seductive fragrance
and above all, the taste and tingle on
the tongue. In all, it evokes a wealth of
sensations that allow the imagination to
soar to poetic heights. The characteristics of a sparkling wine are equally diverse some
are light and delicate, others are richer or more
substantial; some are steely and austere, others more
mellow and round. Be aware that carbon dioxide
masks the perception of sweetness. Sparkling wines
labeled "extra brut, "brut or "extra trocken/extra
dry are truly dry in style; "trocken/dry signals some
sweetness; "halbtrocken or "mild versions tend to
be sweet (great with desserts or rich, blue-veined
cheese). Usually less austere, fruitier in taste and
lower in alcohol than French sparkling wines, Sekt is
an alternative that appeals to many people not least
the Germans, whose annual per capita consumption
of sparkling wine is the highest in the world!

33

OTHER PRODUCTS OF THE GRAPE.

EPICUREAN DELIGHTS.

Grapes are the source of an incredibly diverse number of products in addition to wine and sparkling wine.
The finest are handcrafted specialties available in limited quantities, and often bear the name of the
grape variety used. They are sold at wine estates,
gourmet delis and fine restaurants.

WEINBRAND is a brandy distilled from grape wine,


the German equivalent of French cognac. The quality
and taste of a Weinbrand depends of the quality of
its base wines and maturation in small oak casks with
a capacity of less than 1,000 liters (264 gallons). During the aging period a minimum of six months the
brandy absorbs color and flavors from the wood. Finer
products are aged for at least a year; the finest, for
several years. German brandies are generally milder
and less assertive than their French counterparts.

OIL & VINEGAR.


TRAUBENKERNL is oil pressed from dried
grape seeds. Ranging in color from golden
yellow to olive green, grape seed oil tastes
slightly bitter, yet also has a light sweetness. It
can be used to dress salads or for cooking, and
is prized for its high linoleic acid content.

BRANDIES.
The art of distilling dates from the days of Frederick
Barbarossa (12th century). Initially, spirits were used
for medicinal purposes, as an aqua vitae the "water
of life and later, as a pleasant stimulant.

TRESTER(BRAND) is a brandy distilled from grape


pomace (the skins and pips left after the grapes are
pressed), the German equivalent of Italian grappa or
French marc. Smooth, fruity and pungent to the taste,
Trester is a popular digestif with a minimum alcohol
content of 37.5% by volume. It is crystal clear if aged
in glass, but takes on lighter or darker golden hues
when matured in cask.

HEFEBRAND, or Weinhefe(brand), is a brandy distilled from the lees, the yeast-rich sediment that remains
after grape juice has fermented into wine. It is rounder, softer and fuller-bodied than Trester, and has a
more pronounced vinous flavor and bouquet. The
minimum alcohol content is 38% by volume.

TRAUBENBRAND is a brandy distilled from whole


clusters of grapes or crushed grapes. The full aroma
and flavor of grapes is characteristic of this spirit,
which has a minimum alcohol content of 38% by
volume.

34

WEINESSIG is vinegar made from wine to which


special strains of bacteria have been added to
convert the wines alcohol into acetic acid. Handcrafted wine vinegar is aged in wooden casks
often for years before being bottled. Some
growers produce very exclusive, highly concentrated vinegars from their best dessert wines.
These are served in very small quantities as an
apritif, digestif or in place of a sorbet in
between courses. They can also be used to
dress salads and as a cooking ingredient.

Wine brandy is traditionally served straight, at room


temperature (18C/65F). A small quantity is poured
into a brandy snifter with a good-sized bowl and tapered neck and gently swirled to enable its delicate
bouquet to unfold. Brandy can also be served as a
tall drink or used as a cocktail ingredient.

A SEASONAL SPECIALTY.
FEDERWEISSER is grape juice in the process of
fermenting. As such, it is only available at harvest time
and in, or near, the wine-growing regions. The name
refers to the milky-white color it takes on as the
activated yeast converts the natural sugar in the juice
into alcohol and carbon dioxide some say it looks
like " little floating white feathers. In the early stage
of fermentation, Federweisser is fairly sweet; as
fermentation progresses, it becomes drier in taste, not
unlike hard cider. It is rich in vitamins B1 and B2, but
acts as a purgative if consumed in large quantities. It
is delicious served with the autumn specialties
Zwiebelkuchen (onion quiche) and gerstete Kastanien
(roasted chestnuts).

35

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WINE ENTHUSIASTS.

WINE, FOOD AND PLEASURE


DE GUSTIBUS NON EST DISPUTANDUM.

Red wine with fish? White


wine with cheese? Why not!
There can be no hard and
fast rules about which wine
goes best with which food
winning combinations depend on so many variable
factors, including the occasion and your mood. With
time, our personal preferences for particular wines
and foods change, as do
the trends that influence
our habits. In short: discovering tasty wine and food
partners is an open-ended
pleasure.
Most people would agree with the old saying "variety is the spice of life. However, too much "variety
or too much "spice can be overwhelming. This is
especially true of German wine, given the vast range
of types and styles available. A few broad guidelines
can help make the process of selection a pleasure
rather than a chore. Light, refreshing, drier-style
German wines, such as Classic are great apritif wines.
They stimulate the appetite and conversation. The
lusciously sweet Auslese-type wines are superb with
powerful cheese and are incomparable with, after, or
in place of dessert.

The intensity of a grape varietys taste is also a factor to consider when selecting
a wine.

Subtle

Spicy

Silvaner
Trollinger
Portugieser
Rivaner
Weissburgunder
Grauburgunder
Kerner
Lemberger
Dornfelder
Scheurebe
Rulander
Gewztraminer
Riesling
Sptburgunder

If wine is to be served with a meal, think about the


wine and the food in terms of their dryness or sweetness; body and texture, ranging from light to rich; the
intensity of aroma and flavor, ranging from subtle to
spicy. Method of preparation, as well as sauces, spices and condiments, are important considerations,
too.

Matching wines and foods that are similar in character creates a balanced, overall harmony that adds excitement to the taste of both. Wine can also serve as
a counterbalance: a crisp wine cuts through fats and
strong flavors to help refresh the palate; a wine rich
in fruit flavor complements the spiciness of curries
and highly-seasoned dishes; a sweet wine served with
savory cheese offers a delicious contrast of flavors.

A WORD ABOUT ORDER.


The order in which wines and foods are served can
greatly enhance the overall pleasure of a wine tasting
or a meal with wine. The "crescendo approach works
well, i.e. start with the lightest, driest, and most
delicately flavored wine and food, and progress with
increasing levels of aroma, body and flavor.

36

37

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WINE ENTHUSIASTS.

WINE AND HEALTH.

Wine is not merely one of


civilizations oldest cultural
assets, its therapeutic
benefits were also recognized centuries ago by the
ancient Egyptians, Greeks
and Romans. Hippocrates
(ca. 400 B.C.) is credited
with being the first to
use wine to cure specific
ailments. He used wine to
help strengthen convalescents and to relieve insomnia, depression, pain,
headaches, cardiovascular
problems, and gas in the
stomach. It was also used
as a diuretic and an antiseptic for wound dressing,
and to cure diseases of the eye as well as bacterial
and toxic-related intestinal diseases. Wine was added
to water to disinfect it.
In ancient Rome, full-bodied red wines were prescribed for intestinal problems accompanied by fever;
wines rich in tannin for bleeding; and mature wines
for loss of appetite. It was also recommended for
compresses or massages, used as a liniment, and
to treat open wounds. In Germany, medicinal wine
was long prescribed to treat various illnesses and,
after consultation with the attending physician,
Heidelbergs official health insurance plan continued
to cover the cost of it as late as 1892.

Experts today agree that moderate but regular wine


consumption is good for your health.

HEALTHFUL EFFECTS.
The alcohol and phenols in wine can help reduce the
risk of heart attack and stroke. Alcohol reduces the
amount of the coagulent fibrinogen in the blood, which
promotes blood clots, and increases fibrinolysin, which
helps dissolve clots and thus improves blood flow.
Alcohol can also alter cholesterol levels: it increases
HDL, which improves cholesterol metabolism and
thus helps prevent arteriosclerosis and slightly sinks
"bad LDL, which promotes cholesterol deposits. Wine
phenols are effective antioxidants, i.e. they protect
against damaging, aggressive oxygen reactions and
thus, help prevent damage to blood vessels as well
as reduce the oxidation of LDL.

WINE DRINKERS
LIVE LONGER.
Moderate wine consumption fosters good health. Long-term
studies show that wine drinkers live longer than teetotalers and
those who consume other alcoholic beverages. It is the quantity
that counts. This varies from person to person, but in general,
there is little risk of negative health effects for women who
consume one to two glasses (ca. 20 grams alcohol) and men who
consume two to three glasses (ca. 30 grams alcohol) of wine daily
equivalent to sharing a bottle of wine during a meal or over the
course of an evening.
DONT DRINK AND DRIVE.
For more information on the subject of wine and
health, contact the Deutsche Weinakademie (see back cover), an
organization that promotes the healthful benefitis of moderate
wine consumption, supports scientific research on the subject, and
publicizes the latest findings.

Wine relaxes, has a positive effect on the gastrointestinal tract and increases the subjective feeling of
well-being. Its not for nothing that the Italians call
wine "the milk of the aged.

Since the Industrial Revolution, scientists and the


public alike have generally focused more on the
devastating effects of alcohol abuse and less on the
positive properties associated with wine for ages. A
more objective approach has come to the forefront
in the past 20 years, since medical and nutritional
science have teamed up to research the potential
benefits of moderate alcohol consumption on health
and lifestyle. Numerous international studies have
shown a positive correlation between wine consumption and cardiovascular disease, as well as cancer,
Alzheimers disease, osteoporosis and diabetes.

38

39

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR WINE ENTHUSIASTS.

TASTING WINE
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT.

SAVOR WITH ALL THE SENSES.


First, holding the glass by the stem to avoid warming up the wine and unsightly fingerprints have a
look at the wines clarity and color. Both provide
information about the condition and age of the wine.
With age, for example, white wines take on more
golden tones that can deepen to dark amber.
Its fun, easier than you think, and
you can learn something, too: a
wine tasting at home with friends
or just the two of you. What do
you need for a tasting, what do
you need to know? Less than you
think...

HEADING FOR PLEASURE.


Its entirely up to you to decide
which wines you want to sample.
How about a selection from one
wine-growing region? Such a
tasting lets you discover the
characteristic flavors typical of the
region. Or, sample comparable wines of one grape
variety, such as Riesling, from different regions. If the
wines are all of the same vintage and ripeness level
(e.g. Kabinett or Sptlese), youll be able to taste
astonishing differences. Other possibilities for a wine
tasting: compare ripeness levels, compare vintages,
or host a surprise tasting where your guests each
bring their favorite wine.
Whether the tasting is to be small (4-5 wines) or more
extensive (up to a dozen after that, the the ability
of the taste buds to distinguish nuances tends to
diminish), a certain progression is recommended:
taste light before heavy wines; dry before sweet; white
before red; and young before mature. Of course, you
can also limit a tasting to only white or only red wines,
or only dry wines, or only mature wines tailor your
tasting to whatever you find enjoyable.

40

LITTLE EFFORT, LOTS OF FUN.


A wine tasting requires little preparation. Naturally,
you need the wines, and they need to be brought to
the correct temperature. Serve white wines chilled to
about 10C (50F); ros wines taste best a couple of
degrees warmer; red wines should be served at about
18C (64F).
Two points on the subject of glassware. First, a glass
with a tulip-shaped bowl is optimal for letting the
wines bouquet unfold. Second, a crystal-clear,
stemmed glass is best for evaluating the wines color.
During the tasting itself, pass around bread or
crackers as well as fresh water. Having a bite between
wines helps neutralize the palate. Afterwards, you can
enjoy the wines just tasted with a hearty snack.
The cork should be removed as carefully as possible.
At best, use a corkscrew with a large worm, or spiral,
that can grip the cork without letting pieces crumble
into the wine. With older wines, in particular, corks
may have become brittle. White wines should be
opened shortly before serving. Full-bodied red wines
benefit from being opened about an hour in advance.
To truly enjoy a wines fragrance and aroma, do not
fill glasses more than half full.

Swirling the wine in a glass is not only a


pleasure for the eye. Exposure to the air helps
its aroma and bouquet unfold. Although most
people are not trained to describe a wines
fragrance, with a little practice its easy to
verbalize your impressions. (Tip: the aroma wheels
developed by the Association of German Oenologists
can help you describe wine in terms of familiar
aromas.) Does the wine remind you of fruits, such as
apples, berries or peaches? Does it hint at spring
flowers or fresh, green fields? Does it smell a bit like
wood or perhaps vanilla?

TEMPTING THE TASTE BUDS.


The taste of a wine opens up in
various parts of the mouth. Air helps
both the wine and the taste buds in
this process. This explains why many
wine lovers draw in air with a mouthful of wine it helps spread the wine
over the entire palate, which is
essential for perceiving all of its
nuances of flavor and aroma. The
taste of a well-made, well-balanced
wine should carry through the
promise of its bouquet. A good wine
will have a clean, agreeable, appealing taste with no off flavors or
unaccountable bitterness or flatness.
In the same way, the aftertaste, or
finish of the wine after you swallow,
should be a pleasant, lingering
sensation.
In short, a good wine gives joy
and leaves a pleasurable, satisfying
memory.

41

PRAXISTIPPS FR GENIESSER.

RESERVE FR SCHNE STUNDEN:


DER KLEINE WEINVORRAT ZU HAUSE.

THE ANTICIPATION
OF PLEASURE.
Storing wine is it possible without
a cellar? Which wines are suitable for
storage? When does a wine reach
its peak? This brochure offers some
helpful hints that answer these and
many other questions.

42

WHICH WINES HAVE AGING POTENTIAL?


The longevity of a wine is as unique as its individual
character. However, the higher the quality of a wine, the
greater its aging potential.
German table wines (Tafelwein, Landwein) should be
consumed within a year after bottling. Basic German
quality wines (QbA) are usually most attractive in the
freshness of their youth. Premium quality Prdikat
wines, such as Kabinett, Sptlese and Auslese, can
safely be stored somewhat longer. The rich, ripe
dessert wines Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese need years of bottle aging for their
true elegance to unfold. The aging potential of these
wines, as well as Riesling wines, can span decades.

An ideal spot for storing wine is one


that is cool, dimly lit, moderately
humid and where the temperature is
a constant 812C (4654F). Yet an
"ideal wine cellar is not essential for
safely keeping a small supply of wine
at home. All you need is a bit of
space in your home or apartment
and an inexpensive wine rack, which
is easily found in many stores. The
most important consideration is to
find a place where the temperature
does not fluctuate wildly. It is less
harmful, actually, to store wines where it is five to ten
degrees warmer than ideal than to subject them to
dramatic and sudden changes in temperature. A good
wine storage area is the coolest, darkest place in your
home, away from heating equipment and drafty
windows. Warm places, such as the kitchen, or bright,
light places, such as near a window, are not recommended.

TODAYS PURCHASE
TOMORROWS PLEASURE.

Do not store wine near goods that emit strong odors,


because the wine "breathes through its cork and has
a tendency to absorb odors from the air. Apropos
cork: bottles sealed with a natural cork
should always be stored lying horizontally, so that the cork remains
moist and elastic. Thanks to modern
technology, German wines are less
sensitive to varied surroundings than
they used to be. Nevertheless, suitable storage conditions help ensure
that your wines will offer pleasure
months, or even years, after purchase.

WHATS YOUR PLEASURE?

In general, long-lived wines are those that are rich in


extract, acidity, natural sweetness and alcohol. These
components must be balanced if a white wine is to
retain its fresh, elegant character over time. In red
wine, tannins also influence aging potential.
Certain vintages, grape varieties and vineyard sites
are often associated with wines deemed suitable for
bottle aging. Dont hesitate to ask your wine merchant
for specific recommendations. Some older wines, even
from vintages as long ago as the belle poque, are still
in excellent shape and fetch record prices at auction
proof that careful purchase and storage can be a
good investment. For most wine lovers, though, a
wines investment value is secondary to the pleasure
they anticipate as they patiently wait for their wines
to mature.

Before you begin stocking


your cellar, ask yourself
which types of wine you
enjoy the most and on what
occasions you drink wine.
Take advantage of opportunities to sample a wide
range of wines and jot
down your impressions.
Ask your wine merchant
and/or winemakers for
advice.

Ultimately, the wines you decide to store will depend


on your personal taste and needs. Once youve
acquired a basic collection, your enjoyment of wine
will continue to develop on its own accord.

THE SPECIAL APPEAL


OF MATURE VINTAGES.
Whether you celebrate
your engagement with a
vintage that matches the
bride or grooms year of
birth, or your silver anniversary with the same
4wine you drank on your
wedding day special
occasions call for special
wines. Mature vintages
offer a very special pleasure. They are delicious
and agreeable. Nevertheless, as wines rest, they
continually change. It is a
good idea to sample your
stored wines from time to
time so that they dont
grow old without your
knowledge.
For this reason, purchase enough bottles to allow for
an occasional check-up to monitor a wines development as it matures. As a rule, its better to buy 12
bottles of one wine than one bottle each of 12 wines.
Recognizing when a wine has reached
its peak requires a bit of practice. Seek
professional advice, from books and
seminars, and attend tastings of mature
vintages to develop this skill. Its well
worth the effort. To enjoy a wine at its
prime on a special occasion is the wine
lovers reward for the years spent carefully storing it.

43

QUICK REFERENCE.

PRONUNCIATION GUIDELINES.
APPELLATION OF ORIGIN.
Einzellage
Grosslage
Bereich
bestimmtes Anbaugebiet (bA)
Ahr
Baden
Franken
Hessische Bergstrasse
Mittelrhein
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
Nahe
Pfalz
Rheingau
Rheinhessen
Saale-Unstrut
Sachsen
Wrttemberg

ine-tsl-lah-geh [ine=vine]
gross-lah-geh
beh-rike
beh-shtim-tess ahn-bough-geh-beet
are
bah-dn
frahn-kn
hess-ish-eh bearg-shtrah-seh
mit-tl-rhine
mo-zl zahr roo-vair [ahr=are] [oo=moon]
nah-heh
pfaults
rhine-gow [ow=cow]
rhine-hessn
zahl-leh oon-shtroot [oo=moon]
zahk-sn
vyurt-tem-bearg

individual site
collective site
district
specified region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region
name of region

QUALITY CATEGORY.
Qualittswein
bestimmter
Anbaugebiete (QbA)

kvah-lee-tayts-vine
beh-shtimm-tair
ahn-bough-geh-beet-eh

made from:
ripe grapes

Qualittswein
mit Prdikat (QmP)

kvah-lee-tayts-vine
mit pray-dee-kaht

made from:
even riper grapes

Kabinett
Sptlese
Auslese
Beerenauslese (BA)
Eiswein
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)

kah-bee-net
shpate-lay-zeh
ouse-lay-zeh [ou=house]
bearn-ouse-lay-zeh [ou=house]
ice-vine
traw-kn- bearn-ouse-lay-zeh [ou=house]

fully ripe grapes


very ripe grapes
ripest bunches
overripe berries
frozen bunches
overripe, shrivelled berries

GRAPE VARIETY.

44

white
Elbling
Gewrztraminer
Grauburgunder

el-bling
geh-vyurts-trah-mee-nair
grow-boor-goon-dair) [ow=cow] [oo=moon]

Gutedel
Kerner
Mller-Thurgau

goot-aidl
kair-nair
mew-lair toor-gow) [oo=moon] [ow=cow]

Riesling

reez-ling [g=sing]

Rivaner
Rulnder

ree-vah-nair
roo-len-dair [oo=moon]

Scheurebe
Silvaner
Weissburgunder
red
Dornfelder
Lemberger
Portugieser

shoy-ray-beh
zil-vah-nair
vice-boor-goon-dair [oo=moon]
dorn-fel-dair
lim-bear-gair
poor-tyou-gee-zair [g=go]

Sptburgunder
Trollinger

shpate-boor-goon-dair [oo=moon]
trawl-ling-air [g=sing]

White/Johannisberg/
Rhine Riesling
Mller-Thurgau
Grauburgunder
(denotes a drier, sleeker style)
named after Georg Scheu
Latin silva = forest
Pinot Blanc, Pinot Bianco
synonyms/origin
Blaufrnkisch
originated in Austria or
Hungary, not Portugal
Pinot Noir, Pinot Nero
Schiava, Vernatsch

STYLE.
trocken

traw-kn

feinherb

fine-hairp

halbtrocken

hahlp-traw-kn

lieblich

leep-lish

sss

zyoos [oo=moon]

edelsss

aidl-zyoos [oo=moon]

dry, including very dry;


< 9 g/l residual sugar
dry, but not bone dry;
not legally defined
off-dry;
918 g/l residual sugar
perceptibly sweet;
< 45 g/l residual sugar
sweet;
> 45 g/l residual sugar
lusciously sweet, rich;
not legally defined

TYPE OF WINE..
Weisswein
Weissherbst
Rotwein
Sekt

vice-vine
vice-hairpst
wrote-vine
zeckt

white wine
ros wine
red wine
sparkling wine

synonyms/origins
Latin albus = white
German Wrz(e) = spice(s)
Rulnder (denotes a richer
style), Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio
Chasselas, Fendant
named after Justinus Kerner
Rivaner (denotes a drier,
sleeker style); named after
Dr. Mller from Thurgau

45

QUICK REFERENCE.

GLOSSARY.

ABFLLER (op-fuel-lair)
Bottler: the guarantor of the contents in the bottle.
The name and business address of the bottler are
mandatory on labels. > Erzeugerabfllung, > Gutsabfllung, > Schlossabfllung, > Weinkellerei

AMTLICHE PRFUNGSNUMMER
(ahmt-lich-eh prew-foongs-noom-mair) [oo=moon]
Quality control number: indicates the wine has
passed the official analytical and sensory tests, i.e.
meets minimum standards, required for all QbA and
QmP wines. The number shows the year the wine
passed the test (final two digits). Since many wines
are bottled in the spring after the harvest, and then
sent to the quality control testing station, the final
two digits are not always identical with the vintage
on the label. The number is mandatory on labels.
Abbreviated "A.P.Nr.

BOCKSBEUTEL (bawks-boytl)
The flat, round-shaped bottle with a short neck that is
traditional in Franken.

BOTRYTIS CINEREA (bo-try-tis sin-er-ree-ah)


Botrytis is a fungus that causes grapes to rot usually
undesirable, but there is an exception. Healthy, ripe
grapes infested with Botrytis cinerea ("noble rot;
Edelfule, in German) yield the highly-prized, lusciously
sweet wines, such as Beerenauslese (BA) and
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA). The humidity of autumn
mists and fog that rise from river surfaces in the morning, and the warmth of the afternoon sun, provide
favorable conditions for noble rot to develop in
vineyards. The fungus pierces the grapes skins,
resulting in dehydration as well as a concentration
of sugars. Affected bunches are harvested by hand,
after which the shrivelled, raisin-like berries are painstakingly cut out of a bunch. The very small quantity
of viscous juice pressed out of such grapes is difficult
to ferment, because the high sugar content and
compounds produced by the fungus inhibit yeast
growth. At the same time, it is the sugar and fungus
secretions that confer the finished wines with their
extraordinary longevity. The fungus also lends these
wines a honeyed taste.

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natural sugar in the grape juice into alcohol and CO2.


If the sugar content of the grapes is low (in years
of poor weather, for example), there will be too little
alcohol produced and the wine will lack balance. Thus,
prior to fermentation, the winemaker can add beet
or cane sugar to the juice to provide the yeast with
more sugar to convert during fermentation. The more
sugar converted, the higher the alcohol content of the
finished wine. Permissible for QbA wines, but not for
QmP wines.

inate from choice portions of classified sites > VDP and


are produced according to strict vineyard and cellar
regulations. The term is used by member estates from
all regions except the Rheingau and Mosel-SaarRuwer, where Erstes Gewchs and Erste Lage are
used, respectively. The logo is the numeral one with
an elongated bottom serif, above which there is a
cluster of grapes. The first Grosses Gewchs wines
date from vintage 2001. > VDP

GUT (goot) [oo=moon]


DEUTSCHER WEIN (doytch-air vine)
German wine.

ERSTE LAGE (air-steh lah-geh)


Top site. A VDP regional designation, not recognized
by law, for member estates top-quality Mosel-SaarRuwer Riesling wines that originate from choice portions of classified sites and are produced according to
strict vineyard and cellar regulations. The vineyard
classification is based on a classification initiated by
Napoleon and refined in vineyard maps published in
1868 by the Prussian government for tax assessment.
The regional VDP group finalized their regulations in
2003. > VDP

An estate. A "Gutsausschank or "Gutsschnke is an


estates wine pub or restaurant. A "Gutswein is an
estates house wine, i.e. basic, everyday wine. A "Weingut is a wine estate.

GUTSABFLLUNG
(goots-op-fuel-loong) [oo=moon] [loong=sing]
Estate-bottled by an individual grower or estate.
The grapes must be sourced from the growers or
estates own vineyards and the wines must be produced and bottled in the growers or estates cellar. The
estate manager must be a certified oenologist, and the
vineyards must have been cultivated by the estate
since 1 January of the vintage year. Used primarily on
estate labels.

ERSTES GEWCHS (air-stess geh-vex)


First growth. A legally-approved designation for topquality Rheingau Riesling or Sptburgunder wines that
originate from choice portions of classified sites and
are produced according to strict vineyard and cellar
regulations. The vineyard classification evolved from
19th-century publications as well as vineyard maps
based on the soil quality and property tax revenue
generated by individual sites. The first Erstes Gewchs
wines date from vintage 1999. > VDP

HOCK (hawk)
A generic term for white Rhine wine with between 18
and 45 g/l residual sugar (lieblich in style). It can be
a Tafelwein (table wine) from the table wine region
Rhein-Mosel/subregion Rhein or a QbA (quality wine)
from one of the following specified regions: Ahr,
Mittelrhein, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Hessische
Bergstrasse or Pfalz. The name derives from the Rheingau village of Hochheim.

ERZEUGERABFLLUNG

LAGE (lah-geh)
Vineyard site. An Einzellage is an individual site. A
Grosslage is a collection of neighboring individual sites
that share a similar geological and climatical makeup,
i.e. with the potential to yield wines bearing a family
resemblance.

(air-tsoy-gair-op-fuel-loong) [oo=moon] [loong=sing]


Estate-bottled by an individual grower or cooperative
of growers (Winzer-genossenschaft).The grapes must
be sourced from the growers or growers own vineyards and the wines must be produced and bottled
in the growers or growers cellar. Used primarily
on cooperative labels.

CHAPTALIZATION

GROSSES GEWCHS (grow-sess geh-vex)

A winemaking technique to raise the alcohol content


of a wine. During fermentation, yeast converts the

Great growth. A VDP designation, not recognized by


law, for member estates top-quality wines that orig-

LIEBFRAUMILCH (leep-frow-milsh) [ow=cow]


A generic term for a white Rhine wine with between
18 and 45 g/l residual sugar (lieblich in style). It is always a QbA from one of the following specified regions
that must be named on the label: Rheinhessen, Pfalz,

Nahe or Rheingau. No grape variety may be named


on the label, but at least 70% of the cuve must consist of one or more of the following grapes: MllerThurgau, Kerner, Silvaner or Riesling. The Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) in Worms/Rheinhessen is
the namesake of Liebfraumilch, literally, the "Milk of
Our Lady. By the 20th century, the crop from the
vineyard surrounding the church was not large enough
to meet demand, and Liebfraumilch came to be used
in a broader sense to denote any pleasantly mild
German white wine from central Rhine wine regions.

OECHSLE (erx-leh)
A scale for measuring grape sugar based on the
density of grape juice similar to other scales (e.g.
Balling, Baum, Brix) that measure must weight.
Expressed as degrees Oechsle, the must weight is an
indication of a grapes ripeness and a wines potential alcohol. The quality categories (based on ripeness)
are correlated to minimum starting must weights.
RESTZUCKER (rest-tsook-air) [oo=moon]
Residual sugar, i.e. the amount of sugar "left over (residual) after fermentation. If the yeast converts almost
all of the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol and CO2
the resulting wine is dry, with very little residual sugar.
However, certain conditions inhibit yeast performance when the wine reaches a high alcohol level
or the temperature is very low, for example, the yeast
"quits working before all of the sugar in the juice is
converted, and the wine has some residual sugar. It
can happen naturally or be induced through several
winemaking techniques (e.g. separating the wine from
the yeast). Residual sugar is expressed in grams per
liter. Wines with a residual sugar content of 4 g/l or
less are bone dry; under the German wine law, 9 g/l
and 18 g/l are the maximum amounts of residual sugar
permitted for wines labeled trocken (dry) or halbtrocken (off-dry), respectively. Yet even wines with
more than 18 g/l residual sugar often taste dry if they
are rich in acidity or tannins.

SCHLOSSABFLLUNG
(shlaws-op-fuel-oong) [oo=moon] [loong=sing]
Estate-bottled by a wine estate located in a "Schloss
(castle) under historical preservation status. The
grapes must be sourced from the estates own
vine-yards and the wines must be produced and
bottled in the castles cellar.

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QUICK REFERENCE.

STRAUSSWIRTSCHAFT

WINZERGENOSSENSCHAFT

(shtrous-veert-schahft) [ou=house]
A wine pub in a growers home, where, for a few
months of the year, he/she can sell his/her wines
(no others) and light food or snacks. Look for a
"Strauss (wreath) hung over the door, often with
a light bulb in the middle if lit, the pub is open.
"Besenwirtschaft is a synonym for these pubs in
Wrttemberg, where a "Besen (broomstick) hangs
over the door. This tradition dates from ca. 800, when
Charlemagne legalized this marketing method.

(vin-tsair-geh-naws-sen-schahft)
Wine-growers cooperative. By the last half of the 19th
century, many wine-growers were in dire straits due
to the political and socioeconomic changes following
the Napoleonic wars and at the dawn of the industrial revolution, cheap wine imports, and poor harvests.
These conditions gave rise to the cooperative movement, whereby growers formed associations in order
to improve the quality of their wine and their income.
The oldest legally-recognized German cooperative
was founded in Mayschoss (Ahr) in 1868. Today, cooperative members produce about one third of an average annual harvest and collectively own ca. 31,000
ha (76,600 acres) of vineyards. Often abbreviated WG.

VERBAND DEUTSCHER
PRDIKATSWEINGTER
(fair-bahnt doytch-air pray-dee-kahts-vine-gyootair) [oo=moon]
The Association of German Prdikat Wine Estates,
abbreviated VDP, is Germanys oldest wine-growers
association dedicated to producing and promoting topquality German wines. It was founded in 1910, by
renowned estates from the Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen and Pfalz who sold their "Naturweine or
"natural (unchaptalized) wines the predecessors of
todays Pradikat wines exclusively at auction.
Membership today comprises some 200 quality-oriented wine estates from all 13 specified regions. They
have holdings in some of Germanys best vineyards,
cultivate traditional grape varieties, and voluntarily
adhere to vineyard and cellar regulations that are
more stringent than required by law. The packaging
(capsule, label) always includes the VDP logo, a
stylized eagle bearing a cluster of grapes.
> Erste Lage, > Erstes Gewchs, > Grosses Gewchs

WINZERSEKT (vin-tsair-zeckt)
A vintners vintage varietal sparkling wine produced
by the traditional method, known as mthode
champenoise in France and in Germany as "traditionelle or "klassische Flaschengrung. The grapes must
be sourced from the growers own vineyards (within
one specified region) and ripe enough to qualify for
the quality category QbA.

WEINKELLEREI (vine-kell-air-eye)
Winery, often a large commercial winery that buys
grapes and produces wine (or buys finished wine) from
growers, then bottles and markets it. The name and
business address of the Weinkellerei is mandatory on
labels. > Abfller
WEISSHERBST (vice-hairpst)
A ros QbA made from one (red) grape variety,
e.g. Sptburgunder Weissherbst.
WINZER (vin-tsair)
Wine-grower or vintner.

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