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 Gew├╝rtztraminer 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.


Along the river Mosel and its tributaries, the rivers Saar and Ruwer, and was previously known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The Mosel region is dominated by Riesling grapes and slate soils, and the best wines are grown in dramatic-looking steep vineyards directly overlooking the rivers. This region produces wine that is light in body, crisp, of high acidity and with pronounced mineral character. The only region to stick to Riesling wine with noticeable residual sweetness as the standard style, although dry wines are also produced.


Germany's biggest wine region borders France to the South and the Rheinhessen to the North. Of all the regions in Germany it produces wines most similar in style to Alsace. The Rieslings here are drier, and fuller bodied than their northerly counter parts in the Mosel and Rheingau. Pinot Gris and Gewurtztraminer are planted in many vineyards and produce aromatic wines with a hint of sweetness. However, it is Pinot Noir which is rapidly becoming the Pfalz's claim to fame. The warmer, drier weather here creates wines with ripe fruit flavor and excellent acidity.


The oldest documented references to Riesling come from the Rheingau region and it is the region where many German wine making practices have originated. The Rheingau region lies on the Rhein river, beginning where the Main joins the Rhein. Riesling has been grown in this region since before medieval times, but here Pinot Noir also flourishes. The growers here were the first to document picking the grapes at various stages of ripening and therefore created the Pr├Ądikat system of classification used to classify the grapes by ripeness level. They were also one of the first regions to investigate the idea of "late harvesting".


South of the Rheingau lies the Rheinhessen. For many years it was the production centre for the infamous Liebfraumilch, a reputation it is slowly eradicating. Today it is one of the more exciting German wine regions with a wealth of young winemakers exploring the untapped potential. These younger producers have planted many different varieties here, Riesling, Sylvaner, Dornfelder, Muller Thurgau, and Pinot Noir are all planted in significant amounts.

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