Led by the aristocratic Riesling grape, Germany produces some of the world’s finest, most ageworthy wines. Traditionally, the finest wines have come from the sweeter Kabinett, Spätlese or super-rich late-harvest categories. Nowadays, sweepingly complex, terroir-expressive dry wines are equally highly prized. Not limited to Riesling, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Weissburgunder and a whole raft of other varieties are proving their worth.
Led by the aristocratic Riesling variety and a band of first class producers, Germany finally seems to be enjoying the recognition it truly deserves. It is a fact that, without exception, British journalists, sommeliers and trade buyers are some of Germany’s most loyal and persistent customers, clamouring for wine from the likes of Joh. Jos. Prüm, Egon Muller, Fritz Haag, Schloss Lieser, Willi Schaefer, Maximin Grünhaus, Emrich-Schönleber, Donnhoff, Keller and Battenfeld Spanier. When it comes to fine German Riesling, this most noble of wines is not only utterly delicious, but in today's modern, fast-moving world of over consumption, remains refreshing and light, 'weighing in' at anything between 7.5% to 12% alcohol – a great antidote to the dominance of full-bodied, alcoholic wines on the market. The variety is also greater than ever.
Traditionally, the finest wines have come from the sweeter Kabinett, Spätlese or super-rich late-harvest categories, typically from the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Nowadays though, sweepingly complex, terroir-expressive dry wines are equally highly prized, even by Mosel growers. The top dry wines, known as Grosses Gewächs (equivalent to Grand Cru) increasingly set the tone for the reputation of the vintage at home and abroad. One only need look at the startlingly pure, incisive Grosses Gewächs (GGs) from the likes of Emrich-Schönleber, Rebholz, Donnhoff, Battenfeld-Spanier or Kühling-Gillot to get an idea. Never have the intrinsic, fundamental qualities and thrill of the Nahe, Pfalz and Rheinhessen been laid quite so bare.
In the red corner, the rise and rise of German Spätburgunder continues apace. Germany now ranks third in the world in terms of plantings, behind only France and the USA. Improved clonal material, and sensitivity to both the grape and the vintage has seen quality rise to unprecedented levels. In recent years the enhanced reputation of German Spätburgunder first manifested itself as a good alternative to Burgundy. Fast forward just a few years, though, and the best wines from the likes of Huber, Furst, Battenfeld-Spanier, Kühling-Gillot and rising star Adams Wein are now rightfully respected and desirable as genuinely world class Pinot Noirs in their own right?
The combination of storied, centuries-old estates and small, young-generation upstarts makes for a dynamic winemaking landscape. One thing our German producers share is an unrelenting pursuit of quality, committed to the idea that great wines are born from great sites. Within the boundaries of individual style, our growers all aspire to produce fine, delicate, ageworthy wines.
There are thirteen officially recognised appellations in Germany. The most prominent appellations are: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Baden and Franken. Encompassing a wide array of grape varieties, soil profiles, micro-climates and topographies, Germany’s leading appellations play home to some of the dramatic and glorious vineyard sites in the world.
Home to Burgundy-beating Pinot Noir (known here as Spatburger) and one of the all-time classic white wine varietals – Riesling - Germany is a region with much to offer. Traditionally, the best wines have come from the sweeter Kabinett, Spatlese or super-rich late-harvest categories but many growers are these days proving that the driest of the dry “Trocken” wines are also to be equally coveted.