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WSET Diploma: Unit 3: Germany > Rheinhessen > Flashcards

Flashcards in Rheinhessen Deck (26):


Terraces over the Rhine near Nierstein and Oppenheim can produce very high quality Rieslings. Much of the rest of the regions produces Liebfraumilch and other bland medium- sweet Grosslage wine. Largest area under vine in Germany. As more land is turned to grape growing the quality of the region is declining. No dominant grape variety, Muller- Thurgau and Silvaner are most common. Large percentage of co- operative cellars.



Huge, varied German wine region south and south west of Mainz with 26,582 ha/65,658–acres of vineyard in 2013. For some time it was best known as a source of inexpensive blending wine but all that has changed. The part of the region traditionally most associated with quality is often referred to as the Rheinterrasse, where a third of the region's riesling vines grows. Its most famous vineyards are those in the so-called Roter Hang composed of Rotliegenden (Permian red soil) at Nierstein (with notable vineyards Hipping, Oelberg, Orbel, and Pettental) and neighbouring Nackenheim (Rothenberg). Aromas of peach, citrus, and a smoked meat pungency characterize wines grown on the red soils of the Rheinterrasse. A string of communes immediately south of Nierstein—Oppenheim, Dienheim, and Ludwigshöhe—also boast excellent eastern exposure on the edge of the Rhine. Most of the Rheinhessen is protected from winds and excessive rain by the hills on its western border, which rise to over 600 m (nearly 2,000 ft). But the temperature in the vineyards nearest the river rhine is warmer throughout the year than that of the rolling country away from the river, and in severe winters they avoid the worst effects of frost. loess, sand, and calcareous soils in most of these villages can also yield Riesling such as in the underrated Brückchen and Paterberg on the south side of Nierstein, while Silvaner—a traditional Rheinhessen stalwart now reduced to 9% of surface area—is resurgent qualitatively in the hands of ambitious estate-bottlers. But it is the south west, the so-called Wonnegau, whose wine villages feature predominantly calcareous vineyards, that have since the 1990s become the focus of international attention, rewarded with high prices for strikingly distinctive Rieslings as well as promising Pinot Noir and a revival of Silvaner. Dittelsheim (Geiersberg), Mölsheim (Frauenberg, Am Schwarzen Herrgott), and Hohen-Sülzen (Kirchenstück), but most especially Flörsheim-Dalsheim (Bürgel, Hubacker), and Westhofen (Aulerde, Brünnenhäuschen, Kirchspiel, Morstein) are now giants in the pantheon of German wine thanks to the efforts of a handful of ambitious vintners farming sites whose potential had been largely overlooked from the Middle Ages. The north of Rheinhessen has its best-known vineyards at Ingelheim (traditionally associated with spätburgunder, or pinot noir), at Bingen in the Scharlachberg site, and in the region's highest sector immediately south east of Bad Kreuznach, most notably the porphyric Heerkretz and Höllberg of Siefersheim. Some international varieties are grown in the region but much of Rheinhessen still produces uninspiring wines from german crosses, notably Müller-Thurgau (still nearly 17% of regional vine surface), Kerner (4%), and (red) Dornfelder (13%), wines that are largely traded in bulk for bottling by merchants at prices so low that smallholders and the co-operatives struggle with a vicious cycle of high yields and low prices. Many quality-conscious growers still struggle to attract attention for their estate bottlings. But the tide has turned in terms of this region’s overall reputation, and the notion that it merely divides into Roter Hang and hinterlands has been definitively demolished. A significant number of Germany's pioneers in organic and biodynamic viticulture have come from the ranks of Rheinhessen growers, further helping to attract attention to the region.


Rheinhessen – 26,500ha (#1)

o East of Nahe and other side of Rhein vs. Rheingau; largest area under vine in Germany

o Area protected from winds & rain by up to 600m hills on West; east facing slope vineyard are the best sites

o Nierstein: key village with red soils, east-facing slopes along the Rhine for world famous Rieslings.

o Most varieties represented but Muller-Thurgau & Silvaner more common; Liebfraumilch country

o Large percentage of Grosslage / cooperative wines w ¾ of wine sold in bulk


Keller- Region of Production:

Wonnegau, Rheinhessen


Keller- Commune:



Keller- Year Established:



Keller- Summary:

The Swiss Keller family moved to Dalsheim in 1789 and founded a humble estate, all but unknown to most of the winemaking world for nearly two centuries. Current head of estate Klaus Peter Keller has gained a cult-like following for his winemaking. Klaus Peter is the ninth generation to run the estate--he and his wife Julia took over winemaking in 2001 and the estate itself in 2006. Keller studied enology at the University in Geisenheim, and then went on to apprentice at Domaine Armand Rousseau and Domaine Hubert Lignier in Burgundy. His wife Julia trained at Müller-Catoir in the Pfalz and with Robert Weil in the Rheingau. His GG wines have reached unattainable status in many markets, and sell out within the first two weeks after release in May every year. Limited amounts are imported to the United States. Though his focus is on dry wines, Keller also produces exceptional sweet wines in the Auslese, BA, and TBA categories; his 2003 Hubacker TBA Goldkapsel received 100 points from Gault-Millau in 2005. The young vines from the Grosse Lage sites are not used for the GG wines, but employed to make a second wine, Riesling von der Fels--"from the rocks." Keller believes the most important aspect of a vineyard is not its exposition but the soil that lies therein. The top wine of the estate is the G-Max, the most expensive dry Riesling produced in Germany. It comes from old vines from unspecified Grosse Lage site(s), which Keller keeps secret due to his past experience of having grapes stolen from the Hubacker vineyard. In 2012, Keller acquired two small parcels in Nierstein's Roter Hang.


Keller- Principal Vineyard Holdings:

Approximately 16 total hectares. 75% Riesling; 20% Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Silvaner; 5% Rieslaner and Scheurebe.

Dalsheimer Hubacker: 4 ha
Dalsheimer Bürgel
Westhofener Morstein: 1.9 ha.
Westhofener Brunnenhäuschen "Abtserde": 2.6 ha
Westhofener Kirchspiel: 3 ha
Niersteiner Pettenthal: 0.3 ha
Niersteiner Hipping: 0.5 ha


Keller- Average Total Production:

8,000-10,000 cases


Keller- Top Wines Produced:

Riesling, "Hubacker," GG
Riesling, "Kirchspiel," GG
Riesling, "Morstein," GG
Riesling, "Absterde," GG
Riesling, "G-Max"
Riesling, "Pettenthal," GG
Riesling, "Hipping," GG


Keller- Inaugural Vintages:

G-Max: 2001


Keller- Viticulture / Vinification Techniques

Keller uses spontaneous fermentation and short skin macerations for the Riesling wines.



The Rheinhessen is literally just across the river from the Rheingau and the largest of Germany’s 13 regions. The region is also a land of extremes being at once the home of Liebfraumilch as well as the Nackenheimer Rothenberg, one of Germany’s great vineyards. Riesling is not as widely planted here but the style of Rheinhessen Rieslings is opulent, powerful, and racy. The best vineyards are concentrated in three villages bordering the Rhein in the northeast of the region near the beautiful medieval city of Mainz.

Top vineyards: Nackenheimer Rothenberg, Niersteiner Hipping, Niersteiner Pettenthal, Oppenheimer Sackträger, Westhofener Morstein

Producers: Gunderloch, Keller, Wittmann, Wagner-Stempel


Where is Wittman located?

Westhofen, the southern part of the Rheinhessen



- Is the largest wine growing area in Germany
- Most v/yards in the central and western parts are delineated to cheap, mass-produced Wines.
- Excellent winemaking is conducted in the Rheinterrasse, the string of villages Sth of Mainz that face east over the Rhine: Nackenheim, Nierstein and Oppenheimer
- Wines are fragrant and full of character like the Rheingau but which are often softer and more opulent
- Recently there has been an emergence of high quality wines from the southern part of the Rheinhessen around Westhofen and Florsheim- Dalsheim in the rain shadow of the Donnersberg Mtns


`Rheinhessen: Important Gemeinden and Einzellage

- Nackenheim: Rothenberg

- Nierstein: Hipping, Pettenthal

- Oppenheim: Schützenhütte, Sackträger

- Westhofen: Morstein, Kirchspiel

- Dalsheim: Hubacker


The Rheinhessen is_____________

Directly south of the Rheingau. It is border by the Rhein River to the Nth and Est, the Name to the west and the Pfalz to the sth.


The Rheinhessen has more land planted under vine than any other_____________________



Historically what quality has the wine that has been planted in the Rheinhessen been like?

They have lacked quality and in 2012 Muller- Thurgau was more planted than riesling


Quality wines in the Rheinhessen were traditionally planted where?

On the Rheinterasse, along the Western banks


The Rheinterasses is bigger than what Anbaugebeit?

The entire Rheingau


Rheinterasses- Rheinhesssen

- Rheinhessen
- Protected from frost and winds that seep through the region
- It stretches from Bodenheim southward through the winemaking towns of Nierstein and Openheim. It terminates near Mettenheim
- Red clay and slate are a feature of its most prestigious area between Nierstein and Nackenheim, the Roter Hang
- In the past wines from the Roter Hang fetched astonishing prices
- Gunderloch is the famous producer in the area, the estate owns over 3/4 of Rothenberg, one of the best sites in the Rheinhessen


What is considered a regional speciality of a the Rheinhessen?

Silvaner. It has more area devoted to the grape than anywhere else in the country.


Where in the Rheinhessen is Weingut Keller and Whittman found?

In Florsheim- Dalsheim and Westhofen. They are producing some of the best dry Rieslings in the country


Where does G- Max come from?

An undisclosed vineyard in the Rheinhessen


What is the industry association that is bringing a name to quality producers in the Rheinhessen?

Message in a Bottle