The Wines of Germany 101

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As previously mentioned, German wines are among the most clearly defined wines in the world, and yet they can be seem confusing. A brief run-down of the classes of wine you are most likely to encounter is in order. First off all German wine is broken down into three categories. Deutscher Wein at the bottom, a category you are unlikely to encounter. Then comes Landwein, a wine from a specific region. In general these are dry (trocken in German) or off-dry (halbtrocken). It is somewhat unlikely that you will encounter these wines but not impossible. Fortunately there is not much additional information you might need to decypher one of their labels.
That leaves the Qualitätsweine mit Prädikat, the highest level of wine quality that is also subject to additional designations. While space prevents me from going into too much detail regarding the additional levels of labellling that can help guide the consumer I would suggest looking the the guide to Deciphering German wine labels for a brief rundown of the basics terminolgy used to identify the potential sweetness levels of most German wines. This seems to be one of the areas which people find most confusing when it comes to German 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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