The Wines of Germany 101

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To the East
To the east of the Rhine river there are major wine producing regions. Baden and the Wurttemberg are the third and fourth largest wine producing region in Germany, and Franken, further to the east, is the sixth, though possibly the best known of these three. The use of the Bocksbeutel (pictured), that flattened round wine bottle that you can’t lay down or stack has proven to be a bit of a marketing coup for the region.
 Here Sylvaner is king, as opposed the Riesling that rules the regions further to the west. Historically Baden and Wurttemberg have supplied a large portion of the bulk wine consumed in Germany.  Baden being home to the Pinot family of grapes, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc, while Wurttemberg has produced lots of the fresh, easy drinking red wines from the red grape Trollinger, also known as Schiava in the Alto Adige. 
To the northeast of Germany, and formerly behind the Iron Curtain,  one finds Sachsen and Saale-Unstrut. Here one finds a truly northern climate and they tend to rely on varieties that reliable ripen in such conditions. Dry and elegant examples of Muller Thurgau and Pinot Blanc are the standout wines from these two small yet promising regions. 

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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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