The Wines of Germany 101

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Wine Regions
Certainly the most famous vineyards in Germany are those that follow the course of the Rhine, in order of decreasing acreage the Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Rheingau, and Mittlerhein.  The Rheinhessen and in particular the more southerly and warmer Pfalz are both home to a significant percentage of red vines in addition to the more familiar whites, accounting for roughly 30% and 40% of acreage under vine respectively, while the Rheingau and Mittelrhein have only about 15% of their vineyards planted to red varieties. 
Also in this corner of Germany, farther to the northwest, one finds two additional wine valleys. The Mosel, which is home to a disproportionate number of top quality sites considering it accounts for roughly 9% of Germany’s land under vine. It is here that Germany’s reputation for producing fine wines was established, almost exclusively with Riesling, though the aforementioned Scheurebe and varieties like Rieslaner also have their proponents. 
A little further to the northwest there is the Ahr river, home to a tiny proportion of Germany’s vineyards. The Ahr has the distinction of being Germany’s red wine region, even if there are fewer acres of red vines here than in other regions they account for some 85% of land under vines and produce some of the county’s top Spatburgunders AKA Pinot Noir.

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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 236,913

    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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