German Wines: Facts You Need to Know
Germany is known for their beers and sausages, but there’s more to Deutschland when it comes to weiners and weins. To give you an idea, here are a few things you need to know about Germany’s wein industry.
Germans love their oak
Germans have a preference for using oak barrels because of the depth in flavour and body it gives wines. These barrels come in varying sizes, but vintners follow the rule that the smaller the barrel, the quicker the wine ages.
Both beautiful and functional, oak barrels create complex but balanced flavours and aromas in wine, which may generally not appeal to non-German drinkers.
Riesling is not the only German wine
Riesling is to Germany as Malbec is to Argentina.
Deutschland, however, has more grapes to offer beyond the Riesling. The Muller-Thurgau, the second most commonly planted grape in Germany, is a cross between Riesling and Madeleine Royale. This type of grape is used to make wine with a light, aromatic and floral taste.
The third most planted grape is the Spätburgunder, also known as the Pinot Noir. This type of grape produces wine that emphasises purity and precision of the fruity flavor through the use of oak barrels.
German Rieslings are not always sweet
Germany has a reputation for producing sweet flavoured wine, but most people are confusing their fruity flavour to sugary sweetness.
German weins are categorised using the Pradikat System. This system uses the ripeness of the grapes to determine the sweetness of the wine or amount of residual sugar left after fermentation. It does not refer to how literally sweet a blend is.
The varying sugary sweetness people would often taste in their Rieslings are the different levels of ripeness of the grapes harvested. This ripeness creates the complex but balanced aroma and taste in most Rieslings.
Riesling is the most food friendly wine
Riesling is considered the most food-friendly wine because of its high acidity and different sweetness levels.
Its sweetness can mellow out most bold flavours, while it’s acidity can cut through the richness of food. Generally, riesling pairs well with spicy and Asian cuisine.
Germany has the steepest vineyard
The Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region is famous for having the steepest vineyard in the world, with a 60 percent gradient and a height of 951 ft. This vineyard is terraced into hills so steep that machineries are out of the question. This means the grapes are harvested by hand.
All that effort is worth it because it creates the right amount of acidity to achieve the wonderful taste of Mosel Riesling.
German wines are not all white
Yes, white wines are highly popular in Germany, but local vintners also produce red wines such as Spätburgunder, also known as Pinot Noir, and Blauer Portugieser. In fact, Germany is the third largest producer of Pinot Noir, after France and USA.
One of the many winning qualities of German wine is its immense ageing potential. The dependence of German vintners on oak allows their vintages, even the white ones, to maintain its depthness and quality even after several years.
Wine importer Terry Theise explained, “Riesling is first among equals among the white grapes that age astonishingly. It undergoes a metamorphosis, almost literally. Mature Riesling barely resembles its younger self. If you were an alien and some earthling showed you first a butterfly and then a caterpillar, and said true or false, this creature came from that one, I doubt you would infer it. Mature Riesling becomes, simply, the world’s most complex wine.”
Riesling tastes best when it has aged for a few years. It keeps its acidity as the flavors develop through ripening.