Upcoming Tours Major Grapes: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau
Welcome to Germany
Germany’s best vineyards are as far north as grapes can grow. They are grown on terrain that is unfit for other crops, and on slopes that make them seemingly impossible to cultivate. Yet it is a tribute to the skill and perseverance of the German wine maker that they are able to produce such well balanced wines under the most difficult growing conditions.
The secret is the balance of sugar with acidity. Because German wines are so low in alcohol and with less body than other white wines, the nuances of flavor are more obvious.
The two best wine regions in Germany are along the Rhine and Model Rivers. Both offer dramatic, picturesque vistas and are a delight to visit by boat. The visitor is usually amazed at the steep slopes that must be negotiated.
Riesling is the key grape in all of Germany’s vineyards and reaches its apogee here. Other garpes are used, such as the Muller-Thurgau and the Sylvaner. There are very few reds produced in Germany.
The key to understanding a German wine label is all contained on the label, which can often be intimidating because of the language. However understanding the label can be summarized in this way: the basic fine wine is called qba; the next level higher in quality is qba with pradikat. These pradikat or qualifications are: kabinett, spatlese, beerlauslese and trockenbeerenauslese. The driest category is the former and the sweetest is the latter.
There is a significant amount of sparkling wine produced, called sekt.