Germany is home to the deeply wonderful Riesling grape with plenty of styles to explore. We tend to think of Germany producing sweeter styles, but the truth is that the vast majority is dry, not just from the warmer regions such as Baden and Pfalz, but also in the Mosel, Nahe and Rheingau. The big bottling companies which used to churn out vast quantities of Liebfraumilch and Niersteiner Gutes Domtal are increasingly turning to bottling New World wines shipped in bulk to Europe while a new generation of young growers is driving dry German wine forward and winning important markets in the Far East, Scandinavia and the United States with very pure, crisp, mineral styles. And don’t forget the Grauburgunders (Pinot Gris), Weissburgunders (Pinot Blancs) and Spätburgunders (Pinot Noirs). Surprisingly, Germany is one of the world’s largest producers of Pinot Noir.

The Mosel is the classic area for elegant, balanced, off-dry Rieslings from its steep, slatey slopes. Appellation-wise it now includes the tributaries of the Saar and Ruwer. Try a floral Wehlener Kabinett for a great introduction to this style and then contrast it with a Kabinett from the deeper soils of Piesport Goldtröpfchen to appreciate the difference a few miles make. Brilliant wines - full of white pear fruit - are produced in the Saar Valley from lesser known vineyards in Wiltingen and Oberemmel. Back on the Middle Mosel, Braunebergers are full and slatey then go down the river through Bernkastel to the very fine wines of Graach. Finally the vertiginous slopes of Erden and Urzig – Prälat, Treppchen and Würzgarten – produce some tremendous wines, both dry and sweet.

Along the Rhine, the Rheingau is where the importance of late harvesting Riesling was first discovered. The story goes that the proclamation announcing the start of the harvest was delayed. For many years production was dominated by a small number of underperforming larger producers but things are now looking up again. Round, full-flavoured wines are made on (mostly) gentle slopes going down to the Rhine. The River Nahe actually rises in the Hunsrück hills and flows northwards, away from France, through rocky escarpments before flowing into the Rhine at Bingen.

Areas within Germany:

Mosel  |  Rhine

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