The Wines of Germany 101

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Dry Wines
Since Germany is experiencing a bit of a dry wine revolution it is worth exploring some of the denominations that are used to identify these wines and what explicitly they promise. 
Selection Rheinhessen: refers to dry varietal wines from the Rheinhessen produced using traditional grape varieties. 
Rheinhessen Sylvaner RS: specifically reserved for Sylvaner from the Rheinhessen of the highest quality and fermented dry
DC Pfalz: a designation denoting dry Riesling, or any of the Pinot grapes along with Dornfelder produced from grapes grown in the Pfalz
Erstes Gewächs: literally ‘first growths’, this was a pioneering program used to identify wines from the Rheingau  that are produced from Riesling or Spatburgunder in a dry style with the added requirement that the grapes come from the best vineyards sites as determined by a regional classification.
Grosses Gewächs: Literally 'Great Growths' as a designation in all regions but the Rheingau to identify the highest quality dry wines produced from top vineyard sites  
Grosse Lage;: formerly known as Erstes Lage and referring to wines that come from the traditional grape varieties grown in the top sites in Germany as determined by the local governing authorities. Not necessarily dry and not to be confused with Erstes Gewachs.

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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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