What is the climate of Germany?
What are some weather hazards that Germany faces?
- Spring frost
- Summer hail
- Heavy summer rain
What is the most planted grape in Germany?
In Germany, are the best vineyards planted on steep slopes or on the valley floor?
The best sites in Germany are always planted on steep slopes, which usually have very slatey or stony soils.
What is the predominant aspect for Germany's best vineyard sites?
Southerly aspect so the vineyards receive the most possible sunlight.
Why is it beneficial for a vineyard in Germany to be located near a river?
A river will reflect additional sunlight onto the vines and also provide additional air circulation to a vineyard, which can help reduce the threat from frost.
Germany's 4 categories of wine:
In ascending order of quality, they are:
- Deutscher Wein (wines without GI)
- Landwein (PGI)
- Qualitätswein (PDO)
- Prädikatswein (PDO)
What is Deutscher Wein?
Deutscher Wein is the beginning rung of quality wine.
On the label it does not get a geographic indication other than "Germany."
It must be made of 100% German grapes.
What is Landwein?
Landwein is Germany's PGI/IGP level, the equivalent to France's Vin de Pays.
What is Qualitätswein?
Is it allowed to be chaptalized?
Qualitätswein is a PDO category that represents one of the two tiers of German “quality” wine (the other being Prädikatswein).
- Can only be produced in one of Germany’s 13 anbaugebiete;
- Many Grosses Gewächs dry wines are released as Qualitätswein, without mention of prädikat level.
Qualitätswein is allowed to be chaptalized.
What is Prädikatswein?
Prädikatswein is a PDO category and a subset of Qualitätswein, and it is subdivided into six different Prädikat levels.
Prädikatsweine may NOT be chaptalized.
Prädikatsweine are classified by their must weight.
What does that mean, and what are the six Prädikat levels from lowest to highest?
Must weight refers to the sugar levels in grape juice. Must weight increases as ripeness increases.
Prädikat levels from lowest to highest must weight:
- Beerenauslese (BA)
- Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA)
Which three Prädikat will always be sweet?
What are the typical alcohol levels for a Riesling Kabinett and Riesling Kabinett Trocken?
Kabinett: 8-9% abv (will have a kiss of residual sugar)
Kabinett Trocken: ~12% or just under
PDO wines from Germany can come from only one region/anbaugebiet.
1. Does the anbaugebiet have to appear on the label of a PDO wine?
2. If the wine has a Prädikat level, does the Prädikat have to appear on the label, too?
Yes and yes.
German PDO wines -- Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein -- have to have their region and the Prädikat level on the label (if it is indeed a Prädikat).
Wine regions in Germany are known as what?
How many are there, and which 7 are the most important?
Wine regions in Germany are known as anbaugebiete.
There are 13 anbaugebiete in Germany. The most important 7 are:
What other white grapes grow in Germany besides Riesling?
- second most planted white grape (after Riesling)
- third most planted white grape
What are Germany's black/red grape varietals?
- Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir)
What is Pinot Noir called in Germany?
Where does it grow well?
It thrives in warmer vineyard sites, and it grows well in Baden and Pfalz.
What are the tributaries of the Mosel River?
The central part of the Mosel, known as the Middle Mosel, is where some of the best known villages are located that produce top-quality Rieslings.
Name 3 villages.
The best vineyards in the Mosel are planted on:
- flat plains with gravel soils
- gentle slopes with limestone soils
- steep slopes with slate soils
Steep slopes with slate soils
All south-facing on the Mosel River, too.
The lighest, highest acid Rieslings come from which anbaugebiete?
(Saar and Ruwer can be included in this as their wines are similar in style and quality to Mosel Rieslings).
There are 2 rivers in the Rheingau. Which is in the east and which is in the west?
West: Rhine River
East: Main River
What is the name of the hills to the north of the Rheingau that help protect the region from cold winds?
Name 3 villages in the Rheingau that are famous for their Rieslings.
Spätburgunder is known to grow well in which Rheingau village?
Which anbaugebiet is the largest wine-growing region in Germany?
Some of the fullest-bodied Rieslings in Germany are from this area in the Rheinhessen.
The Rheinterrasse, with the production centered around the village of Nierstein.
Name the village in Nahe producing superior-quality Riesling.
Geographically, Nahe is situated between which two other anbaugebiete?
Mosel and Rheinhessen
What river flows through Nahe?
It's on the banks of this river where the best vineyards of the Nahe are found.
What are the two most planted grapes (of either color) in Rheinhessen?
The Pfalz in Germany is seen as an extention of this region in France.
The Vosges Mountains in Alsace extend into Germany where their name changes to the Haardt Mountains. The Pfalz is in the rainshadow of the Haardt Mountains, making it one of the sunniest and driest regions in Germany -- similar to Alsace.
Which 2 villages in Pfalz produce top-tier wines?
Which anbaugebiet is the warmest?
It is also the most southerly anbaugebiet.
Which grapes thrive in Baden?
- Spätburgunder (most planted in Baden)
Vineyards in Baden are most concentrated in which 2 areas?
These areas are only a ~40-minute drive east of Colmar in Alsace!
What is particular about the area of Kaiserstuhl?
It's on an extinct volcano (volcanic soil, which retains heat well).
High-quality, full-bodied Spätburgunder is made in Kaiserstuhl.
Franken isn't known for its Riesling. What grape is it known for?
It is planted in the warmest sites as it is early to flower and ripen (it's susceptible to frost damage).
Besides Franken, in which other German wine region does Silvaner have significant plantings?
The top wines in Franken come from around the village of ___ on south-facing slopes.
Which anbaugebiete is allowed to bottle its wines in flask-shaped bottles?
Franken may use the flask-shaped bottle, also known as a Bocksbeutel.
What is the VDP, and what does it do in Germany?
The VDP, or Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweinguter, is a winemakers' association of roughly 200 wine estates whose members focus on making wines from top classified sites that are quality-driven and terroir-oriented.
Read more about the VDP here.
Piesporter Michelsberg in the Mosel is an example of a grosslage.
What is a grosslage?
A grosslage is a group of contiguous vineyards whose grapes are made into lower-quality wines.
There are 160 grosslagen in Germany.
What does Grosses Gewächs (GG) mean and what kind of wine is a GG?
Grosses Gewächs translates to "great growth." It is a term used only for the very best vineyards. They are always dry.
A Grosses Gewächs wine therefore is a dry wine from a top vineyard.
Fun fact: grapes destined for GG are harvested at Spätlese-level ripeness.
Example: Dönnhoff Felsenberg Felsentürmchen Riesling Grosses Gewächs
Trocken and Grosses Gewächs - both indicate the wine will be dry, but how are they different?
Trocken is used for dry wines at levels below GG.
Grosses Gewächs is a dry wine from a top vineyard. GG + a cluster of grapes will be embossed near the neck of the bottle.
Is Grosses Gewächs part of German wine law?
No, it is a trademark of the VDP
What is the difference between halbtrocken and feinherb?
Both terms mean off-dry.
Halbtrocken is the official but unpopular term while feinherb is the popular but unofficial term.
If there is no indication of trocken, feinherb, or Prädikat on a German wine label, how can one tell if the wine will have residual sugar or not?
By looking at the alcohol level: the lower the alcohol, the greater the residual sugar.
Wines with perceptible residual sugar will have alcohol levels betwen 7-10.5%.
Wines that are perceived as dry will have alcohol levels between 11-13%.
What is the major difference between TBA and Eiswein?
TBA is always affected by Botrytis.
Eiswein is not affected by Botrytis. The grapes are left on the vine to raisinate and are picked at -8ºC (18°F) or colder, then pressed.
Is it necessary for wines labelled Beerenauslese (BA) to have been affected by Botrytis/Noble Rot?
No, Noble Rot is not necessary for Beerenauslese (BA).
But Noble Rot IS necessary for TBA.
Name the parent grapes for the following crossing: Müller-Thurgau.
What is Müller-Thurgau also known as in Germany?
Müller-Thurgau = Riesling x Madeline Royal
Rivaner is another name for Müller-Thurgau in Germany.
In which two (of the seven most important) anbaugebiete is Riesling the only permitted grape variety for GG wines?
In which two (of the seven most important) anbaugebiete are Riesling and Spätburgunder the only two permitted grape varieties for GG wines?
In the Pfalz, which grapes are allowed to be Grosses Gewächs (GG)?
Germany's second largest winegrowing region is ___.
What are the first and second most planted grapes in Pfalz?
In Pfalz, the vineyards around the villages of Forst and Deidesheim are collectively known as this area.
In Franken, which grapes are allowed to be Grosses Gewächs (GG)?
What is the highest prädikat category that can be used for dry wines?
What is Süssreserve and what does it do?
Is it used on high-quality wines or lower-quality wines?
Süssreserve is unfermented grape juice which is added to dry, fermented wine to sweeten it.
Süssreserve is predominantly used on lower-quality wines (usually made by large, commercial wineries), rarely on Prädikatsweine. Quality-minded producers will stop fermentation to leave residual sugar in the wine rather than adding süssreserve [which is added just before bottling].
How do quality-conscious Prädikatsweine producers retain sweetness on their wines if they do not add süssreserve?
The winemaker will stop the fermentation before the yeasts have converted all the sugar into alcohol.
What is Pinot Gris known as in Germany?
Ruländer or Grauburgunder
What is Pinot Blanc known as in Germany?
Weissburgunder (or Weißburgunder)
What is Germany's third most planted grape of either color?
Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder)
What is Meunier known as in Germany?