The Wines of Germany 101

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Riesling Spatlese
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. 

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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 233,910

    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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