The Wines of Germany 101
A Snooth Article Classic
Spatlese tends to be a noticeably sweet wine, though the denomination refers only to the minimum sugar level in the grapes at harvest, not the actual sweetness of the finished wines. In fact you can have a wine that is Spatlese Trocken, or fermented dry, though that is rare. As global warming and improved vineyard practices have resulted in riper vintages, the richness and sweetness of most Spatlese wines have inched up the scale. Still, for me these are the archetypal wines of Germany and where any discussion of their wines should start. Below is a selection of some of the best examples of Riesling Spatlese. I particularly like comparing the wines from Wehner Sonnenuhr, a remarkable site that is generally recognized as one of the country’s best. By selecting wines from different producers in the same vintage you can begin to identify each’s style.