Located west of the Rhine and south of the Mosel, protected by the Hunsruck mountains. Muller- Thurgau and Silvaner are grown on Sandy Loam in the north. Riesling grown around Schlossbockelheim and Bad Kreuznach produces delicate wines with pineapple aromas on porphyry, quartz and coloured sandstone soils.
Donnhoff- Region of Production
Donnhoff- Commune (winery location)
Donnhoff- Year Established
Helmut Dönnhoff owns some of the most storied sites in the Nahe. Today, Helmut works the estate with his son Cornelius. From Roxheim down to Schlössbockelheim, 80% of the Dönnhoff vineyards are planted to Riesling; the other 20% are Grauburgunder and Weissburgunder. Dönnhoff joined the VDP in 1990 and, along with Emrich-Schönleber, Schäfer-Fröhlich and Weingut Diel, this is one of the Nahe’s all-star estates.
Donnhoff- Principal Vinehard Holdings
30 ha total
Kreuznacher Krötenpfuhl: soil is pebbles and loam
Kreuznacher Kahlenberg: soil is gravelly loam
Roxheimer Höllenpfad: translated, Höllenpfad means “Hell’s Path,” in reference to its steepness and the difficulty to work it; soil is red sandstone
Norhheimer Kircshheck: the oldest vineyards on-record in the Nahe are in this part of Norheim; soil is grey slate mixed with sandstone
Norheimer Dellchen: 1.2 ha; soil is a mix of slate and volcanic soils like porphyry and melaphyr
Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle: 4.2 ha; widely considered the best vineyard in the Nahe; soil is mostly grey slate with porphyry and limestone
Oberhäuser Brücke: 1.1 ha (monopole); soil is grey slate bedrock covered with loess (this is the source of Dönnhoff’s Eiswein)
Oberhäuser Leistenberg: 1.6 ha; soil is grey slate
Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg: 1.9 ha; soil is volcanic porphyry
Donnhoff- Average Total Production
Donnhoff- Top Wines Produced
Norheimer Dellchen Riesling GG
Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Riesling GG
Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle Auslese Riesling Goldkapsel
Oberhäuser Brücke Auslese Riesling Goldkapsel
Oberhäuser Brücke Eiswein Riesling
Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg “Felsentürmchen” Riesling GG
Donnhoff- Inaugural Vintage (for top wines)
Donnhoff- Style/ Vinifcation Techniques
Helmut Dönnhoff believes that Riesling loves suffering and that the Nahe is a perfect place for the grape because the region is almost desert-like, with poor soil and minimal rainfall. In addition, he attributes the high acidity in his grapes to the Nahe’s great diurnal temperature shifts. According to Dönnhoff, in the Nahe “we never speak of Riesling, we just name the sites.” In essence, then, he considers his wine not a “Riesling” but a “Hermannshöhle GG,” for example. Dönnhoff picks late, from the middle of October into late November (his Eiswein is picked in December), and grapes are always hand-harvested. Helmut allows up to 5% of botrytized grapes into his dry wines, and he does three tries during harvest. The dry wines are aged in a mixture of stainless steel and stück or doppelstück; the Eiswein and Auslese only see stainless steel. Since the 2009 vintage, sweetness levels in all of Dönnhoff’s wines have decreased, making them today more reminiscent of the wines from the early 1990s.
Nahe – 4,200ha
o Along the Nahe river; protect by the Hunsruck mountains
o Mainly Rieslings but Muller-Thurgau, Silvaner (both declined dramatically since 70s) & Dornfelder also grown
o Key areas:
- Area around Schlossbockelheim (centre): benefited from Flurbereinigung; complex soils with sandstone & slate; Felsenberg in Schlossbockelheim is a top vineyard for late-ripening Riesling.
- Around Bad Kreuznach: famous for Rieslings, loess & clay soils for relatively substantial wine
- Lower Nahe: slate & quartzite soils on steep terraced vineyards for Weissburgunder & Rieslings; Goldloch is one of the top vineyards.
o Predominance of cooperatives
Wine region in germany whose total vineyard area had decreased to 4,187 ha/10,342 acres by 2013 scattered over a wide area on either side of the river Nahe (see map under germany). Vineyards begin upstream at Martinstein, with Monzingen being the first famous and ancient wine village, mentioned as early as 778. The region was defined in anything like its current form only as part of the german wine law of 1971, bringing together several geologically and climatically distinct areas. First there is the by turns bucolic and geologically dramatic stretch of the river between Monzingen and Bad Münster am Stein. Here many of the vineyards have been modernized and reconstructed where necessary and practical (see flurbereinigung), and steep, often terraced slopes produce world-class riesling on a geologically complex mix including sandstone, porphyry, and slate. A single vineyard, such as the tiny Oberhäuser Brücke (a monopole of the Nahe’s foremost vintner, Helmut Dönnhoff), can incorporate four fundamentally different soil types, and it does not seem to be mere imagination that such geological complexity is mirrored in the taste of the wines. The general climatic tendency is to warm as the Nahe meanders downstream. Excellent ventilation, low precipitation, and balmy autumnal temperatures, in addition to the steep, southward inclination of vineyard slopes, offer ideal circumstances for late-ripening Riesling. The foremost wine villages (with their most notable vineyards) along this stretch of the Nahe, travelling downstream are Monzingen (Frühlingsplätzchen, Halenberg), Meddersheim (Rheingrafenberg), Schlossböckelheim (Felsenberg, Kupfergrube), Oberhausen (Brücke), Niederhausen (Hermannshöhle, Kerz), Norheim (Dellchen, Kirschheck), and Traisen (Bastei, Rotenfels). Wines of pronounced, often pungent spice and mineral inflection with frequent red fruit notes are characteristic for many of the best vineyards in this area. The state domaine of Niederhausen-Schlossböckelheim founded by the state of Rheinland-Pfalz in 1902 (and privatized in 1998) greatly helped to establish any international reputation that Nahe Riesling had managed to enjoy prior to the 1980s. The second outstanding area, also famous for its Rieslings, lies on the northern outskirts of Bad Kreuznach, immediately adjacent to the city. Here the vineyards are substantially loess and clay, heavier and on gentler slopes than those elsewhere along the Nahe, producing relatively substantial wines. But in certain sites, gravel offers excellent drainage and greater vinous finesse. Viticulture around Bad Kreuznach was traditionally dominated by large landholders who also had important holdings in the Middle Nahe. Foremost among these were two branches of the Anheuser family and the Reichsgraf von Plettenberg, each of which made contributions from the 1930s—but particularly after the Second World War—to the gradual recognition of what is today known collectively as Nahe wine. Best-known among Bad Kreuznach’s vineyards are the Brücke, Kahlenberg, and Krötenpfuhl. The third area of particular distinction is the Lower Nahe near the confluence with the Rhine at Bingen, 116 km/72 miles from the source of the Nahe. Here, steeply terraced vineyards on a slate and quartzite base resemble those of the nearby mittelrhein. Flavours of citrus, stone fruits, and salty or wet stone mineral notes typify the Rieslings of this subregion where Scheurebe, Weissburgunder, and traditional Silvaner can also succeed. Top sites include a trio along the Troll-Bach at Dorsheim just west of the Nahe: Burgberg, Goldloch, and Pittermännchen; as well as two sites along similar tributary streams at Münster-Sarmsheim: Dautenflänzer and Pittersberg. The three aforementioned areas by no means exhaust the historic or current sources of excellent Nahe wine. These include the Alsenz near its confluence with the Nahe at Bad Münster (notably the Altenbamberger Rotenberg and Ebernburger Schlossberg), as well as a number of villages located several miles north and west of the Nahe, notably Roxheim (Berg, Höllenberg), Sommerloch, Wallhausen (Johannisberg), and Bockenau, whose towering Felseneck has this century produced quite outstanding, and diverse, wines. Sporadic vineyards occur along the Nahe’s tributary Glan from Oberhausen’s Leistenberg south to Meisenheim more than 12 km away. Among these, the recently revived and dramatically terraced Kloster Distibodenberg in Odernheim harbours not only outstanding wine potential but also Germany’s oldest known vine vestiges, dating back nearly to the eponymous cloister’s most famous resident, Hildegard of Bingen.
Nahe- Vine Varieties
Riesling, while steadily increasing its share, still represents just under 28% of Nahe vineyard, but overwhelmingly dominates all of the best addresses. müller-thurgau was the most widely grown vine variety for a time, but its area has declined dramatically in recent decades to 13% of vineyard by 2011. silvaner has fallen to less than half that much, whereas pinot blanc and pinot gris—while small in total surface area—are responsible for some distinctive successes at many of the Nahe’s front-running estates. In response to a German red wine boom from the late 1990s, spätburgunder (pinot noir) reached 6% and dornfelder a remarkable 11%, although it remains to be seen whether it will establish permanent importance. Until the mid 20th century, the Nahe enjoyed scant national let alone international reputation, in large part due to its wine being subsumed anonymously into rhine blends. Even today, when nearly half of all Nahe wine is sold in bottle directly to the consumer, much inexpensive Nahe wine is blended to suit the needs of German supermarkets and grocery chains. co-operatives have never had the importance here that they enjoy in other German growing regions. For wines of finesse one must turn to the private estates, nine of which are members of the prestigious vdp association. Among them, in keeping with current German fashion, the proportion of dry wines has increased since 1980 but residually sweet Rieslings with mouth-watering fruit-mineral interaction are still important for the region’s reputation. Good Nahe wine at all quality levels had for long been underpriced in Germany but by the late 1990s the leading estates could command prices on a par with the rheingau. In the mid 2000s, there are also some worrying signs. Significant tracts of potentially top-flight vineyard land have been abandoned due to lack of vintners ambitious—or perhaps foolhardy—enough to try to make a living from the steepest slopes, and entire subregions such as the Alsenztal, a sea of vines less than a century ago, are threatened with extinction.
Major German growing region with 8,776 ha/21,676 acres of vineyard in 2013, formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. It is associated with long-lived wines of delicacy and dynamic complexity, including some of the world’s finest sweet wines. The total area planted has been declining slowly and, except in the best-known vineyards, Riesling grapes command a price that only just covers the costs of farming the generally steep, stony, sheer slopes with their densely planted and often archaically trained vines. (See germany, Viticulture.) As the River Mosel twists from Trier to Koblenz, the vineyards are at their steepest on the outer edge of the curve. Those on the flatter inner edge are frequently planted with varieties other than Riesling on land more suited to agriculture than to viticulture. topography is all important here, but soil, too, is critical. Virtually every top Mosel, Saar, or Ruwer site is dominated by Devonian slate, which has been used in the region for hundreds of years as a building material. Even vineyards naturally short of slate have had it added to help retain warmth. Some of the vineyards between the almost vertical spurs of rock were created in the 16th century with the aid of explosives, a dangerous operation when there was a wine village below. Vineyards have been subjected to the wholesale renovation known as flurbereinigung) later and to a lesser extent than those of most other German regions, the principle obstacle being sheer steepness and difficulty of access to the slopes for earth-moving equipment, whose production costs remain among the highest in Germany. Vineyards associated with some of the Mosel’s most important villages also proved resistant to the late-19th- and early-20th-century ravages of phylloxera, and in those places many vines are ungrafted (and could until very recently be replanted without grafting), a dwindling but arguably precious legacy. The Mosel normally has a warm summer with an average temperature in the hottest month of July of 18 °C (64 °F). The mesoclimate is of rather more significance and varies considerably. In some Saar and Upper Mosel vineyards, there is a risk of frost damage particularly in spring, but also in late autumn and winter. Even in relatively gentle winters, some nights are usually cold enough for eiswein production in most vineyard sites, although marauding wild boar have a well-justified reputation for Christmas or New Year’s feasting on any grapes left hanging.
Mosel- Vine Varieties
In the 18th century, many villages produced red wine (see german history). By the early 19th century, white wine dominated and the elbling vine was planted on nearly two-thirds of the vineyard area. It still predominates in the largely calcareous slopes of the Upper Mosel. But overall Riesling, grown in over 90% of all Mosel vineyards in 1954, dominates with a 60% share. Where there is less steepness or slate, müller-thurgau and other german crosses dominate. There was a temporary surge in plantings of the more profitable Dornfelder in the late 1990s in response to increased domestic demand for red wine. None of these non-Rieslings, except for tiny pockets of spätburgunder (pinot noir) and pinot blanc, excel. The key to a fine Mosel Riesling is its backbone of fruity-tasting tartaric acid, which balances any residual sugar present, along with a frequent if vague impression of wet stone. A low-alcohol Mosel Riesling often tastes merely off-dry even when it has more than 30 g/l residual sugar. trocken wine is increasingly common, representing a return to dryness such as characterized Mosel Riesling when it achieved international acclaim in the late 19th century, albeit in an era with later growing seasons and lower must weights than today’s. As a result some dry Mosel Rieslings may be 13% or more natural alcohol, but the quintessential Mosel remains for many non-Germans a delicate (7–9% alcohol) Riesling that is fresh and subtly sweet yet invigorating. Only a minority of Mosel growers (notably along the Saar) seriously pursue the goal of non-trocken but far-from-sweet Riesling. (Throughout Germany, most prominent growers have given up on halbtrocken as a concept.) Yet, at levels of residual sugar hardly detectable as such, ravishing dry-tasting Mosel Riesling of 10–12% alcohol is possible. Processing close to one-fifth of its region’s fruit and half of that Riesling makes Moselland co-operative in Bernkastel the world’s largest producer of Riesling. Much of the rest—especially from grapes other than Riesling—is bottled by merchant houses. But although the standing of Mosel wine in Germany has been debased by over-production and price warfare, not to mention by the legal adoption of names of famous villages and vineyards to designate grosslagen, the small, upper tier of excellent estate-bottled wine has guaranteed Mosel Riesling a high profile and devoted following abroad, which has affected the German market as well. There may be more talent concentrated among the vintners of the Mosel than anywhere else in Germany today. The tendency since the 1990s has been for the best vineyards to be consolidated in ever-fewer but more adept winemaking hands.
Mosel- Geography: Lower Mosel
The Lower Mosel boasts the highest percentage of Riesling vines on the River Mosel, if only a minority of its top sites. Curving downstream from Zell to the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel at Koblenz, this subregion incorporates many small, steep vineyards which can be maintained only by hand, and the lowest percentage of flat or gently sloping sites workable by tractor. The individual holdings are not as large as those of the Middle Mosel and their sheer incline and rockiness as well as their relative isolation in a narrow, steeply walled valley have traditionally put them at a commercial disadvantage relative to their neighbours upstream. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Deutsches Eck growers’ association had some success in raising commercial consciousness as well as wine quality for these villages jointly with those of the neighbouring mittelrhein region, a close cultural and geological cousin. More recently, the name Terrassenmosel is being used as a way of distinguishing, and of creating a quality image for these steepest of Mosel vineyards, nearly all planted on terraces dating back many centuries. The stony, relatively dry mesoclimate here, as well as the frequent convergence of blue Devonian slate, red slate, and quartzite, can result in fascinating and distinctive wines, as a few of the top growers—some beginning to enjoy international attention—are proving. The precipitous walls of slate outside Koblenz at Winningen—most notably the Uhlen vineyard—are regaining a reputation for high ripeness and excellence that was essentially forgotten for nearly a century. Upriver from Winningen, in Kobern, Gondorf, and Hatzenport, several estates are demonstrating Riesling’s delicious potential. Numerous villages above and below Cochem still harbour significant Riesling plantings although their wines are scarcely recognized by name even inside Germany. At Bremm, the terraced Calmont rises 200 m/656 ft from the river. With a 65% incline, it is one of the world’s steepest vineyards and, like sites immediately upstream in Neef, St Aldegrund, and Alf, its potential is being demonstrated and its vine presence hanging on for dear life thanks to a few intrepid growers able to access their vineyards using hair-raising monorails.
Mosel- Geography: Middle Mosel
Of perhaps 100 einzellagen with outstanding potential in the Mosel, over half are in the Middle Mosel, which extends upstream from Pünderich with its complex, slatey, crenulated Marienburg, a long, steep wall accessed by boat from the village. A roster of towns and their top sites begins with the blue and red slate sites of Enkirch (Batterieberg, Ellergrub, Steffensberg), Wolf (Goldgrube), Kröv (a different Steffensberg), and Kinheim (Rosenberg). Along the bow of the Mosel between Enkrich and Wolf is the traditionally important merchant base as well as wine-growing centre of Traben-Trarbach, some of whose once-renowned sites (notably Traben’s Gaisberg and Zollturm) cling to the Mosel’s right bank beneath the hamlet of Starkenberg. Others (Hühnerberg, Ungsberg, Schlossberg, Taubenhaus)—outstanding for Pinot Noir as well as Riesling and happily subject to some ambitious recent reclamation—hug the steep, narrow valley of the Kautenbach as it rushes down to meet the Mosel at Trarbach. The red slate of Erden (Treppchen and Prälat) generates some of the Mosel’s most celebrated Rieslings, with a prominent and luscious citric undertow. Neighbouring Ürzig, virtually all of whose top vineyards are united under the name Würzgarten, gives the best Erdeners a run for their money with frequently spicy and strawberry- or kiwi-scented Rieslings from iron-rich, finely eroded Permian soil unique in the Mosel. Below Ürzig the Mosel inscribes one of its periodic tight turns and then enters a straight stretch whose south-facing slopes enjoy international fame: Zeltingen (Himmelreich, Schlossberg, Sonnenuhr), Wehlen (Sonnenuhr), Graach (Himmelreich, Domprobst), and Bernkastel. Flavours of orchard fruits, vanilla, and nut oils typify many of the wines from these sites, and in the case of Bernkastel, a characteristic note of black cherry. In a departure from usual German practice, the names of the best individual sites at Bernkastel, with the exception of the famous Doctor, are—partly on account of their diminutive size—less prestigious and well known than is their collective identity as the unusually distinguished grosslage Badstube. After another twist, the river flows past Lieser (Niederberg Helden) and a side valley at Mühlheim (Sonnenlay) and Veldenz (Elisenberg, Grafschafter Sonnenberg), all three towns getting well-deserved recent exposure in the hands of talented vintners. Next comes Brauneberg (Juffer, Juffer-Sonnenuhr), whose unusually well-watered walls of southeast-facing slate enjoyed a pre-eminent position in the Mosel pecking order throughout the 19th century, and earn high praise today for stunningly rich yet refined Rieslings. Nor do Kesten (Paulinsberg) or Wintrich (Geierslay, Ohligsberg) any longer want for conscientious vintners to prove that their Rieslings have more than historical interest. Astride a tight loop in the Mosel hang the amphitheatrical slopes of Piesport, whose Goldtröpfchen site is among the region’s best and internationally best-known (although the adjacent Domherr, Kreuzwingert, and Schubertslay have first-rate potential as well). Honeyed richness and tropical and black fruit flavours characterize the best of these wines, but too many growers trade too easily on the site’s name. Use of the Grosslage name Piesporter Michelsberg for wine from uninspiring surrounding vineyards brings the name of this historic wine village into disrepute. The clay- and iron-rich slate of Dhron, deployed along a tiny, eponymous tributary of the Mosel, is re-establishing the expectations for longevity and distinctive complexity that Riesling labelled Dhroner Hofberger commanded through the mid-20th century. One of the Mosel’s narrowest switchbacks and most vertiginous walls of blue slate occurs upstream from Piesport at Trittenheim (Altärchen, Apotheke) and neighbouring Leiwen (Laurentiuslay), wines from the former being characteristically richer and from the latter sleeker and more distinctly mineral. Thanks to a bevy of wine-growing talents, the reputation of these sites is itself now steeply ascendant. Upstream, Thörnich (Ritsch), Detzem (Maximiner Klosterlay), and Pölich (Held) offer glimpses of their potential greatness. The same is true of vineyards just below Trier at Longuich (Maximiner Herrenberg), where the abbey of St Maximin, arguably the pre-eminent medieval viticultural institution of the Mosel, established its main press house, and planted a forest that has served successfully as a hail shield for five centuries. Some sites just below Longuich at Mehring (Blattenberg, Zellerberg) have potential although their high clay component tends to result in a broader, less dynamic style of Riesling.
Mosel- Geography: Saar and Ruwer
The Mosel tributaries Saar and Ruwer make up a mere 11% of the official Mosel growing region, but their reputation is out of proportion to their surface area. As every additional 100 m/328 ft above sea level results in a drop in average temperature of over 0.5 °C/0.9 °F, the extra elevation of the Saar, Ruwer, and the upper reaches of the Mosel means they are generally cooler than the Middle Mosel. Saar and Ruwer Riesling achieved its renown for the brightness, animation, and clarity it preserved even in rich and selectively picked, sweet wines and today it manages to ripen fully in most vintages. The main Ruwer vineyards begin near the village of the same name, and end some 10 km/6 miles upstream. A long legacy of high quality combined with monopole vineyard status has made Eitelsbach’s Karthäuserhofberg and Mertesdorf’s Maximin Grünhaus (with its famed Abtsberg and Herrenberg vineyards) the Ruwer’s best-known estates outside Germany, but Kasel, immediately upstream, boasts excellence (from Nies’chen and Kehrnagel) including holdings by the vast, internationally prominent Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt estate, whose principle cellars are located further upstream. The predominantly grey and red slate Ruwer vineyards often favour flavours of red fruits, pungent green herbs, and brown spices, and they can excel with both trocken (the dominant taste today) or with sweetness ranging from hidden to overt and botrytized. Travelling upstream from the Saar’s confluence with the Mosel near Trier, comes a hairpin turn with outstanding vineyards along its right bank at Filzen and Kanzem, the latter’s Altenberg among the entire Mosel’s handful of finest vineyards. Across the river at Wawern, the Herrenberg and Goldberg—perpendicular to the river—are being revived. The Saar straightens to north-south orientation just upstream from Kanzem at Wiltingen, whose Braune Kupp, Gottesfuss, Kupp, and Hölle are all first-rate. The fame of Wiltingen’s towering Scharzhofberg is nowadays rightly associated with the superb custodianship of successive Egon Müllers. Although it was for centuries cited as one of the Mosel’s greatest vineyards, it does not lie along the Saar. Rather, with the neighbouring Braunfels, it faces south overlooking an ancient bed of that river, which inscribes a roughly 10-km eastward crescent of important vineyards—some revived since the late 20th century, some still neglected—at Oberemmel (Agritiusberg, Hütte, Raul), Krettnach (Altenberg, Euchariusberg), Niedermennig (Herrenberg, Sonnenberg), and Falkenstein (Hofberg). Upstream from Wiltingen come Schoden (Herrenberg), Ayl (Kupp) and Ockfen (Bockstein). This sector engenders confusion in vineyard nomenclature. The best part of Kupp (like that of its right-bank counterpart Bockstein) is contiguous and lies perpendicular to the river, but the official einzellage incorporates disparate sites, including the recently revived but not legally recognized Schonfels perched over the Saar. And steep, elongated, uniquely cobbled, riverside Saarfeilser Marienberg straddles both Schoden and Wiltingen such that one of its three owners is not permitted the use of its name. Saarburg’s dominant Rausch vineyard is another geological anomaly, for incorporating diabase. Furthest upstream of the Saar’s vineyards are those of Serrig (Herrenberg, Schloss Saarsteiner, Würtzberg), overlooking across the River Kastel’s tiny Maximiner Prälat, once among the gems of the medieval St Maximin abbey’s necklace of vineyards, condemned by its steepness and poor access to return from 2012 to scrub, a reminder of how precarious are the Saar’s vineyard treasures, numerous recent revivals notwithstanding.
Mosel- Geography: Upper Mosel
Parallel to the vineyards along the Saar are those of the Upper Mosel, which hug that river’s right bank above Trier. Here the Elbling grape still dominates (with about 500 ha); Riesling is rare; and the soils are calcareous like those in the adjacent left bank Moselle vineyards of luxembourg, whose dominant auxerrois is also planted on these German shores. Some recent projects suggest outstanding and as yet largely untapped potential with Burgundian grape varieties here.
For generations the most economically successful wine region in germany and still one of its most famous abroad. The Church and nobility provided the discipline and organization necessary for a solid business in wine, which survived the unrest and secularization in the early 19th century (see german history). The region had 3,166 ha/7,820 acres of vines in 2013, over 90% of which lie on the right bank of the rhine, between Wiesbaden and the mittelrhein boundary at Lorchhausen (see map under germany). The remainder of the Rheingau vineyards are near Hochheim (the origin of the word hock) on the banks of the Main, shortly before its confluence with the Rhine at Mainz. The region has a favoured mesoclimate. With its southern aspect, it is marginally warmer than much of Rheinhessen to the south, and its annual rainfall of a little over 600 m/23 in means that there is an adequate supply of water for the riesling vine to ripen its grapes long into the autumn. Critical to the differences among the Rheingau’s diverse cast of Rieslings are soil type, proximity to the Rhine, and elevation, with higher, cooler, breezier sites often performing better in recent warmer growing seasons than some of the traditionally most prestigious riverside vineyards, where potential alcohols and the risk of grey rot can be excessive. At geisenheim, the Rheingau has one of the world’s leading viticultural institutes, but it has not been invaded by newer german crosses to the same extent as other German regions such as rheinhessen and the Pfalz. Rather, the Rheingau has stuck by the grapes that brought it fame, Riesling representing 79% of surface area in 2011 and Pinot Noir 12% (scattered across the region but quite concentrated in Assmannshausen near the region’s northern edge). No German wines have ever achieved higher international standing (or prices) than did the Rieslings of the Rheingau in the late 19th century, and even in the mid 20th century prices were much higher than those of many of Bordeaux’s classed growths. The record of the late 20th century has been mixed. Under the stylistic inspiration of the late Bernard Breuer of Rüdesheim and the late proprietor of Schloss Vollrads, Graf Matuschka-Greiffenclau, this region led Germany in producing ever drier Rieslings, purporting to be closer to a late-19th-century model and inherently more adaptable to late-20th-century cuisine. The Rheingau charta organization and the local vdp association were early activists in the promotion of low yields, of a consistently trocken (dry) style of Riesling, and of the classification of top vineyards as erstes gewächs. Proximity to the metropolitan markets of Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Frankfurt has further helped Rheingau wines re-establish high reputations and prices. But all of this has not been enough to secure the continued fortunes of many of the large, formerly noble, estates, several of which have in recent years been sold, closed, or continue to struggle economically. The Rheingau has also had stiff competition within Germany for both white and red wines from the increasingly fashionable and predominantly dry wines of the dynamic, warmer baden and pfalz regions as well as from impressive Rieslings grown in formerly unfashionable sectors of rheinhessen. And for those craving delicacy in Riesling or wines with a dynamic synergy of fruit acidity and residual sweetness, heightened awareness of the nahe has brought the Rheingau further domestic competition. The Rheingau’s best-known estates (and the state-owned kloster eberbach) typically have holdings in multiple, far-flung villages, and many of today’s family wineries follow a similar pattern, if on a smaller scale. When windows of opportunity become compressed, as has been the case with so many recent vintages, and as mustering crews of pickers becomes increasingly difficult despite the EU’s open borders for labour, having one’s vineyards so scattered presents a huge challenge. It is not surprising that the new elite to have emerged among Rheingau growers since the 1990s consists largely of estates whose vineyards are in just one or two adjacent villages. The Rheingau was traditionally Germany’s leader in selective and late-picking of botrytis-affected Riesling (see schloss johannisberg)—and continues to treasure its auslesen, beerenauslesen, and trockenbeerenauslesen even though dry wine today represents the overwhelming majority of wine produced. Almost 60% of Rheingau wine today is bottled trocken, and a further 27% halbtrocken. In fact, picking out botrytized Riesling berries has become essential to assuring healthy fruit and a suitable potential alcohol level in the dry Riesling made from the remaining grapes. The principle of picking selected bunches of grapes, auslesen in German, was understood in the 18th century, but that of the widespread picking of grapes affected by noble rot dates, in the Rheingau, from about 1820. In the Rheingau, seven co-operative cellars receive grapes from slightly less than 10% of the harvest. Their role is thus a relatively minor one compared with that of the private and state-owned estates. Many properties date from the 18th century and a few can trace their winemaking history to a much earlier period. Part-time growers own nearly one third of Rheingau vineyard area, and an encouraging late-20th-century trend has been the emergence of some top quality wines from some of them. At Lorchausen and Lorch—the westernmost limit of the Rheingau, Riesling traditionally struggles to ripen, and Silvaner is far from uncommon. A couple of intrepid producers based outside these villages demonstrate the potential of such vineyards as Lorch’s Kapellenberg, Krone, and Schlossberg. But the average vine holder in this sector does not vinify or bottle, and struggles to find a market. Immediately upstream at Assmannshausen, Pinot Noir dominates, above all in the south-facing Höllenberg. Rüdesheim is the westernmost limit of the Rhine’s east–west orientation, exposing on the so-called Rüdesheimer Berg the first of the Rheingau’s famous progression of south-facing slopes. The steep, stony slate, and quartzite-dominated Berg Schlossberg, Berg Roseneck, and Berg Rottland sites, all directly overlooking the Rhine, can generate Rieslings of peachy richness, spiciness, and depth even in difficult vintages. The progression of small villages and top-class vineyards continues with Geisenheim (Kläuserweg, Rothenberg), Johannisberg (Goldatzel, Hölle, Klaus, Schloss Johannisberg), Winkel (Jesuitengarten, Schloss Vollrads), and Oestrich (Doosberg, Lenchen). All are capable of producing Riesling wines of a high order, but many would argue that they are surpassed by the best Rieslings from Hattenheim (Hassel, Pfaffenberg, Nussbrunnen, Schützenhaus, Wisselbrunnen), and Erbach (Marcobrunn, Siegelsberg, Schlossberg, Steinmorgen). Soils of loess, sand, and marl alternate in these central Rheingau villages, and sites further from the river are generally later-ripening and more ventilated due to their elevation. The wines of Hallgarten (Hendelberg, Jungfer, Steinberg, Schönhell), Kiedrich (Gräfenberg, Klosterberg, Wasseros, and Turmberg), and Rauenthal (Baiken, Gehrn, Nonnenberg, Rothenberg, Wülfen), which lie on higher, stony, phyllite ground some distance from the Rhine, can yield long-lived, extraordinarily fine wines, featuring floral and mineral interaction. At lower elevations near the eastern edge of the Rheingau, the towns of Eltville (Langenstück, Sonnenberg) and Walluf (Walkenberg), while perhaps never quite rivalling the best Rieslings of the region, can produce wines that at their best are memorably complex and long-lived. On the other side of metropolitan Wiesbaden (whose own Neroberg is a serious source of Riesling) Hochheim boasts gentle slopes with calcareous underpinnings, stretching down to the River Main, often corpulent but minerally complex Rieslings quite distinct from those grown elsewhere in the Rheingau.
Until 1992 known as Rheinpfalz, is an important wine region in southern germany in terms of both quantity and quality. The 23,567 ha/58,210 acres of vineyard follow the eastern edge of the Haardt range (a northern extension of Alsace’s Vosges) for about 80 km/50 miles (see map under germany) along the so-called Deutsche Weinstrasse, or German Wine Route, officially established in 1935 to link 40 villages. Viewed from a satellite, these vineyards would seem to reach in finger-like strips 8 km or so into the plain, which stretches a further 12 km to the Rhine. In some of the villages of the district in the southern half, the Südliche Weinstrasse, vines occupy nearly all the available land and viticulture has expanded greatly since the 1960s; only those parts of valleys at risk from cold air remain unplanted. Significant differences in character, especially with Riesling, emerge from varying elevations and striking diversity of soils ranging from calcareous through sandstone to the basalt that characterizes the top vineyards of Forst, with many sedimentary, metamorphic, and volcanic variations in between. The relatively sunny, dry Pfalz, long a mecca for German tourists and, like Rheinhessen, long associated with the cheap and cheerful, has since the 1980s acquired a national and international reputation as an innovative and exciting wine-growing region buoyed by demand for the red and dry white wines in which it excels and by the proximity of prosperous metropolitan Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, and Karlsruhe. Of the roughly 10,000 vinegrowers in the region, over half deliver their grapes to producers’ associations, merchants’ cellars, or one of 18 co-operatives, of which a number boast not only high standards but also significant shares of top vineyards. The vineyards to the north of Neustadt, collectively known as the Mittelhaardt, are the best known in the Pfalz, in large part thanks to wine estates with such historic reputations as Bassermann-Jordan, Bürklin-Wolf, von Buhl, and Dr Deinhard (von Winning). The top sites of the Mittelhaardt villages largely nestle between the western edge of the villages and the lower slopes of the Haardt, on sandstone and volcanic soils. The reputations of Riesling-dominated villages (from south to north, noting best vineyards) Ruppertsberg (Nussbien, Gaisböhl, Hoheburg, Reiterpfad), Deidesheim (Leinhöhle, Hohenmorgen, Kieselberg, Mäushöhle, Grainhübel, Kalkofen), Forst (Ungeheuer, Pechstein, Jesuitengarten, Kirchenstück), Wachenheim (Altenburg, Gerümpel, Goldbächel, Rechbächel), Bad Dürkheim (Michelsberg, Spielberg), Ungstein (Herrenberg, Weilberg), and Kallstadt (Saumagen) is secure. The resurgence of traditionally renowned growers, along with the maturation of vines in sites that were largely replanted in the flurbereinigung (vineyard restructuring) of the 1980s, has resulted in increasingly impressive quality in recent years. Not to be underestimated is the continuing influence of Müller-Catoir ex-cellarmaster Hans-Günter Schwarz, whose principles of ‘minimalism in the cellar, activism in the vines’ have been imparted to two generations of vineyard managers and winemakers who today fill dozens of the most important positions throughout the Pfalz. Villages in the immediate vicinity of Neustadt and its suburbs, while a little less well-known for most of the 20th century, have more than demonstrated their excellence in recent years in the hands of several of the Pfalz’s most meticulous growers. Outstanding villages and vineyards include Haardt (Bürgergarten, Herzog, and Mandelring), Mussbach (Eselshaut), Gimmeldingen (Biengarten, Mandelgarten) and Königsbacher (Idig, Ölberg). The low rolling calcareous and sandy hills east of the Weinstrasse—notably at Laumersheim (Kirschgarten, Mandelberg), Grosskarlbach (Burgweg), and Freinsheim—have also demonstrated their ability to generate memorable wines, and here the energy of young vintners and small family wineries has been a driving force for quality. South of Neustadt, the so-called Südliche Weinstrasse long endured a reputation for high yields of indifferent grape varieties. Nowadays though, thanks above all to the ambitions of local vintners and a boom in dry wines from red, Grauburgunder (see pinot gris) and Weissburgunder (see pinot blanc) grapes, this area has become increasingly fashionable inside Germany. Its less common but often exceptional Rieslings—from such villages as Birkweiler (Kastanienbusch, Mandelberg), Burrweiler (Schäwer), Gleisweiler (Hölle), and Siebeldingen (Im Sonnenschein) have also stepped onto the international stage. High yields, mechanical harvesting, and a reliance on such crosses as Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, and Morio-Muskat were long associated with the Pfalz. But Riesling, always dominant in the prestigious towns of the Mittelhaardt, has staged a comeback throughout the region and now accounts for one-quarter of vine surface. Red wine vines gained ground rapidly since the 1990s and now account for just over one-third of Pfalz production, while Kerner and the traditional Müller-Thurgau are the only white wine crosses that exceed 3% of the total vineyard. Pinot Noir, Weissburgunder, and Grauburgunder represented collectively 10% of Pfalz plantings by 2011. Scheurebe may be statistically relatively insignificant, but there are signs of a revival, as with Rieslaner. Traminer, traditionally associated with the Pfalz, has failed in recent decades to mirror its success in neighbouring Alsace, or even to maintain more than a residual toehold, but the best examples, dry and sweet, can still be excellent. Of all German regions Pfalz has the greatest area planted with such international varieties as, in decreasing order of importance, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, various Cabernets, and even Syrah. Across the region, a majority of all wines are now dry (trocken), at top estates overwhelmingly so, as befits both climate and demand. This explains why this region has been a leader in advocating the establishment of grosses gewächs full-bodied, dry wines (principally Riesling) from the best sites. The majority of non-dry Pfalz wine is nowadays destined for export. Pfalz red wines including Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) today typically exceed 13% alcohol, and barrel maturation is common, although there is still a local market for the traditional, light red as well as pink weissherbst from portugieser (no more than 8% of total vineyard area now). dornfelder plantings increased five-fold between 1990 and 2010 so that it is now Pfalz’s second most-planted variety although stunning examples are few and far between. An increasing amount of Pfalz wine is made sparkling (see sekt) according to demanding technical specifications, not least by the Sektkellerei Schloss Wachenheim that specializes in traditional method renderings of their own and other growers’ generally high quality base wines, especially from Riesling, Weissburgunder, and Spätburgunder.
Wine region in southern germany with 11,373 ha/28,091 acres of vineyard which loosely follow the River Neckar and its tributaries (see map under germany). Much of the region lies between Stuttgart (including several suburbs) and Heilbronn with vineyards to the north contiguous with those of baden’s Kraichgau. In these sectors, steep, drought-sensitive and demanding terraced slopes look down on the Neckar. The climate varies from south to north, but is at its most continental along the Kocher, Jagst, and Tauber, three tributaries at the north-eastern edge of the region, where winters can be severe. Some 18% of the region’s vineyards are planted in riesling, while other white wine varieties are in decline and collectively amount to little more than 10% of the vineyard surface. Dark-skinned grapes dominate Württemberg’s vineyards, notably Trollinger with 21%, Lemberger (Blaufränkisch) with 15%, Schwarzriesling/Müllerrebe (Pinot Meunier) with 14%, and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) with 11%. Württemberg’s Swabian populace is known for its thirst and the local wines for being drunk before leaving the region, but an increasing number of growers who believe their reds are world-class are showing their bottlings abroad. They represent sites spread across the region, some of which also excel with Riesling. And while Swabians are also notorious for thrift, their wines sell for prices well above German averages and comparable to those prevailing in Baden and Franken. Also in common with those two regions, the majority of Württemberg’s production represents smallholders who sell to co-operatives which process their fruit at a single huge central cellar (see zentralkellerei).
The Nahe is located due west of the Rheingau and considered by many to be the most beautiful part of Germany. Here Riesling is the most important grape and the wine style often described as combining the delicacy of Mosel wines with the power and elegance of the Rheingau.
Top vineyards: Niederhauser Hermannshöhle, Oberhauser Brücke, Schlossböckelheimer Kupfergrube, Schlossböckelheimer Felsenberg
Producers: Dönnhoff, Schlossgut Diel, Emrich Schönleber
Where is Donnhof located?
Oberhausen in Nahe
What is the Nahe named after?
A tributary of the Rhine that traverses the forested Hunstruck Hills between the Rhine and Mosel valleys.
Although Nahe is one of the smallest German regions. It__________
It contains an extraordinary range of soils. This means it produces an amazing amount of wines from heaps of grape varieties. The steeper sites produce diverse wines from relatively few grape varieties. Steeper sites= volcanic or weathered stone. Sites with red clayish slate, produce elegant, piquant rieslings of great finesse and pungent minerality.
Nahe: Important Gemeinden and Einzellagen
Niederhausen: Hermannshöhle, Hermannsberg
Schlossböckelheim: Kupfergrube, Felsenberg
Where is Nahe?
To the west of Rheinhessen, the Nahe’s best vineyards are situated along the Nahe River, a tributary of the Rhine.
What sort of style is Nahe Riesling?
They are generally sweet and can be difficult to pin down, falling between the Mosel and the Rheingau in style.
What are the names of the best vineyards of the Nahe?
Schloss- Bockelheim, Oberhausen, Niederhausen, Norheim, Bad Munster, Bad Kreuznach. Some of the best wines of the regions can be found in this small stretch
Donnhoff in the Nahe is known for what?
Some of the most expensive wines of the area. Especially those from the monopoles of Oberhausen Beucke and Hermannshole in Niederhausen, the Nahe’s finest Site.