The Wines of Germany 101

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Red Grapes
Pinot Noir accounts for the lion’s share of Germany’s fine red wines. With about 11,000 hectares or about 11% of the vineyards in Germany devoted to wine grapes it’s the most common red variety in the country. Germany’s plantings make it the third largest supply of Pinot Noir in the world. A surprising fact for a country that is almost exclusively associated with white wines. 
The remaining red grapes, the likes of Dornfelder, Portugieser, and Trollinger have generally been used to produce the light, fresh red wines that are typically consumed young throughout Europe. Due to the climate it is doubtful that Germany will soon be home to the late ripening varieties that typically produce the big, age worthy wines that collectors covet but as far as bright and zesty reds, with the emerging success at the high end of  Pinot Noir, Germany has a surprisingly robust red wine industry. To a large extent this reflects the domestic demand as it moved away from sweeter white wines in search of red table wines. 

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  • Snooth User: Zuiko
    Hand of Snooth
    540750 833

    Nice article there GDP. What is amazing about Germany is that there are so many producers and so many great wines. Unknown producers (to US consumers) can make as great a wine as the famous producers. Exploring the wine country to find these gems is a real thrill. Finding a great wine outside of the classic Mosel and Rheingau areas is quite common and rewarding. There have been some great wines produced from the co-ops (Winzergenossenschaft & Winzerverein) as well. My favorite German producer? Frank Schiffmann, Brauneberg. But there are about 20 others that would be a close second.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 4:59 PM

  • Seems a little strange that you didn't list Frits Ritter, since their kabinet is one of the top selling German wines in the US, Also, Vereinigte Hospitien is one of the oldest, and in my opinion finest, vineyards in Germany. Their Scharzhofberger Auslese is, again in my opinion, in a class of it's own and easily the equal of any of the producers you have listed.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 5:33 PM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 238,749

    Zuiko, Thank you for the kind words. There are indeed many great producers in Germany, far too many to list in such a short overview.

    American Storm, Perhaps in my follow up articles on Germany 201 we'll dive deeper and cover some of the producers I've missed on this first pass.

    Nov 18, 2013 at 6:24 PM

  • The Pinot Noir wines from the Ahr valley are generally from the Fruhburgunder rather than the Spatburgunder. This is an earlier ripening version more suited to the cooler climate.

    Stephen Freeland

    Nov 22, 2013 at 5:23 AM

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