Germany has seen the reputation of its wines rise and fall in the past hundred years. Once revered as one of the top wines in the world, German Riesling has had to fight hard to regain its reputation. The mass exporting of cheap flavorless sweet wine known as Liebfraumilch damaged Germany’s standing as a world class wine producer. Recent vintages, a concern for quality over quantity, and a swing back towards the vineyard specific drier wines of the past have helped to re-establish German wines as world class.
Germany is split into 13 regions or Anbaugebiete. The wines themselves are given a geographic location, sometimes as specific as a parcel within a single vineyard, much the same way as Burgundy. The wines are also classified by ripeness. German wines are classified at harvest by the amount of sugar in the grape. The sweetness of the wine is determined by the winemaker not the harvest classification. Riesling is King in Germany; while other varieties such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Gewürtztraminer are growing in favor, it is the Riesling wines which put Germany on the map. Top German Riesling is aromatic, fruity and elegant, ranging from dry to a balanced sweet white wine.
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