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The 5 Best Wines from Germany

Travelers Today       By    David Thompson

Updated: Jan 20, 2022 04:06 PM EST

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The 5 Best Wines from Germany

(Photo: PhotoMIX-Company via Pixabay)

Riesling and More: 5 Best German Wines

When one thinks of German wine, Riesling typically comes to mind. That's because Germany's Rhine River region is believed to be the birthplace of the varietal. With its south-facing hills and fine-grained slate soil, Riesling grapes grow in abundance in Germany and lend themselves perfectly to the production of the wine.

Sweet and aromatic, Riesling is highly acidic and features flavors of lime, lemon, pineapple, and apricot. Because it's light, it balances out the flavors of spicy foods and pairs well with Indian curries, spicy Thai noodles, sushi, scallops, ham, and roast pork with mustard sauce.

German Riesling is extremely popular throughout the world and is currently in very high demand. 

More Delicious German Wines

Germany has 250,000 acres of vineyards and produces more than a billion bottles of wine each year. This makes them the eighth largest wine-producing country in the world. And not all of those billions of bottles are Riesling.

Liebfraumilch

This semi-sweet white wine is regarded as a quality wine and is one of Germany's best known around the world. The state regulates that the wine must be made up of at least 70% Riesling, Silvaner, Mueller-Thurgau, or Kerner grapes. Liebfraumilch features flavors of citrus, pear, yellow apple, red apple, and grape juice with notes of honey, spices, and flowers.

Spätburgunder 

Spätburgunder wine came to Germany from Burgundy sometime in the fourth century. Like its French counterpart, Pinot Noir, it is a medium-bodied red wine with high tannin levels and a bouquet of bitter almonds and blackberries. Expect to enjoy its flavors of cranberry and cherry with hints of cinnamon and allspice. 

Gewürztraminer Spätlese

This intense white wine comes from the Gewürztraminer grape, a unique varietal that produces a sweet vintage. Spätlese, German for "late harvest," means that a bottle of Gewürztraminer Spätlese is a wonderful aromatic dessert wine with flavors of apricot, peach, pineapple, melon, ginger, and rose petals.

Eiswein

Eiswein is a dessert wine made from grapes that have naturally frozen on the vine. Because the sugar in the grapes does not freeze, but the juice does, the result is a more concentrated fruit flavor. Eiswein can be either red or white and be turned into a wide range of varietals, including Riesling, Vidal, Gewürztraminer, and more. 

Germany's Wine Regions

German wine labels are very detailed and can help inform your choice when deciding which wine to buy. Among other things, labels list the village where the grapes came from, the wine's sweetness, the winemaker, and the wine's region. 

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

One of 13 German wine regions in the north, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is located at the very edge of where grapes can ripen. Winemakers grow Riesling grapes here that produce wine that is highly acidic and low in alcohol.

Nahe

Winemaking is a 2000-year-old tradition in this sunny valley. A wide variety of soil types allow winemakers the ability to produce a large variety of wine styles, including Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Dornfelder, and Spätburgunder.

Pfalz

Located in western Germany, the Pfalz region is nestled between the Rhine River and the Haardt mountains. There are 58,000 acres of vineyards there, making it the second largest German wine region. Pfalz winemakers make 60% white wine and 40% red, producing wines that are much more flavorful and riper than other top Riesling regions. 

Rheingau

Riesling grapes thrive in this region with its south facing slopes, mild winters, warm summers, and long ripening season. The region is especially renowned for its Rheingau Riesling Spätlese (late harvest) wine.

Rheinhessen

With more than 66,000 acres of vineyards, Rheinhessen is Germany's largest wine region. Grape varieties cultivated in the region include Riesling, Muller-Thurgau, Domfelder, and Silvaner. Vintners here are also known as sparkling wine specialists. 

Franconia

Wine aficionados will tell you that the Franconia region is the only place in the world where the Silvaner produced is superior to Riesling. Many national and international award-winning wines come from the region, including Bürgstadt, Großheubach, and Klingenberg am Main.

Baden

Baden is the southernmost German wine region and also the warmest. Because of its dry climate, it produces some very high quality wines such as Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), and Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc).

Final Thoughts

It's well worth your time to explore a variety of German wines for their many flavors and complexities. But if you should decide you just want to stick with a good German Riesling, there's plenty of tasty reasons to support that choice.

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