Flashcards in Wine Laws, Regulations, and Business Deck (49)
What are the four quality levels of German wine, in order of must weight?
1. Deutscher Wein
Describe Deutscher Wein (formerly Tafelwein).
Deutscher Wein has no geographical indication, although grapes must be grown in Germany. Abv levels between 8.5% and 15%. Any style. Inexpensive wines, meant to be drunk young. Tiny proportion of annual production. Enrichment is permitted.
Together, Deutscher Wein and Landwein accounted for what percent of production of the 2017 vintage?
What is Landwein?
Introduced in 1982, Landwein is the German equivalent of PGI wine. At least 85% of grapes must be from the Landwein region on label. Abv levels between 8.5% and 15%. In most regions, only can be trocken or halbtrocken. A few sweeter styles are permitted. Tiny proportion of annual production. Enrichment is permitted.
Describe the Qualitätswein category.
A PDO category with less stringent regs than Prädikatswein. Grapes must come only from one of 13 designated quality wine regions (Anbaugebiete), the name of which must appear on label. All styles of wines. Min abv (7%) is to allow for sweeter wines. No max abv. Enrichment is permitted.
What is a Bereich?
One of 40 recognized wine-producing districts, smaller than the 13 Anbaugebieten. Anbaugebieten must be on label. Bereichs do not.
Describe the Prädikatswein category.
Like Qualitätswein, Prädikatswein is a PDO category, but with more stringent regs. Grapes must be only from a Bereich, the name of which not not (and increasingly does not) appear on the label. Enrichment is not permitted. These are wines from the highest must weights. Can be from any grape variety but usually associated with Riesling. On average. Prädikatswein production usually is about half of Qualitätswein, but in the best vintages, it can be about the same.
What are the six levels of Prädikatswein?
4. Beernauslese (BA)
Kabinett: lightest body, highest in acid, aromas of green fruit and citrus fruit; dry - medium-sweet; 7% abv (for wines with RS) to 12% abv.
Spätlese: fully-ripened grapes, usu picked ~2 weeks later than Kabinett. Greater concentration of riper fruit flavours (typically stone fruits for Riesling), slightly higher abv (at comparable levels of RS) and fuller body. Dry to med-sweet; Min abv is 7%.
Auslese: extra-ripe, specially selected grapes. Hand-harvesting is not compulsory. Some machine harvest and this hand sort at the winery. Riper, more concentrated flavours than Spätlese. Honey characteristics are common. Some botrytis. The last category in which wines can be dry. The best are sweet. Balanced of sweetness and acidity give long bottle-aging. Min abv is 7%.
Describe Beernauslese (BA).
Beernauslese (BA): Individually selected berries (usu. botrytised), harvested by hand; always sweet and fermentation can be long and slow, only reaching low abv. Min abv for BA, Eiswein, and TBA is 5.5%. Typical flavors are very ripe and dried stone fruit. Only produced in years with suitable conditions for noble rot (brief periods of humidity, followed by dry, sunny weather). Low yields, low quantities, very labor-intensive. Rare and expensive.
Eiswein: Given its own Prädikat category in 1982. Min must weights are same as BA, but grapes must be picked with frozen at temps below -7 degrees C. Usu. December to February harvest. (Vintage is given in the year in which the harvest is started.) Grapes must be pressed while still frozen. Artificial freezing is forbidden. Pressing releases small quantities of naturally concentrated juice with very high levels of sugar and acid. Grapes must be very healthy: the unpleasant flavours of any rot would be amplified along with the other flavours. Risk is that growers waiting for grapes to freeze regularly lose some and sometimes all of their crop to disease and/or predators.Some growers cover their grapes in plastic sheets for protection. Riesling Eiswein usu high acidity and concentrate pure peach and grapefruit flavours. Rare and premium prices.
Describe Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA).
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA): Extremely high must weights. Always botrytis grapes produced tiny amounts of highly concentrated, extremely sweet wines. Sweetness is still balanced by high acidity, which can help the wines age for a very long time. Fermentation is long and slow, rarely continues beyond 8% abv. Yields are extremely low. Rarely made in more than 100 bottles at a time and only in suitable years. TBAs tend to be the most expensive wines produced in Germany.
What are the German equivalents of EU sweetness labeling?
(1) Trocken (dry) wines with no more than 4 g/l RS (or up to 9 g/l where RS does not exceed total acidity by more than 2 g/l, as is usu with Riesling.
(2) Halbtrocken (off-dry): 4 to 12 g/l of RS (or up to 18 g/l where RS does not exceed total acidity by more than 10 g/l). Halbtrocken wines have fallen in popularity.
(3) Lieblich (med/med-sweet): 12 to 45 g/l of RS
(4) Süss (sweet): more than 45 g/l of RS
What Germany regions typically produced higher proportions of dry wines?
Higher proportions of dry wine are produced in warmer regions where ripeness of fruit can balance acidity without needing sugar (esp for high acid Riesling grapes). In 2917, trocken wines accounted for <50% of all German production, but in Baden it represented 65% and in Mosel just 25%.
What does the feinherb label mean?
Halbtrocken wines have fallen in popularity, and those producers who still make wines that could be lableled Halbtrocken, not either make no reference to sweetness on label or use the term "feinherb," whose literal translation is "fine dry" and not defined by law. Used for wines within the legal definition of halbtrocken and those with slightly higher levels of RS.
What does Goldkapsel mean?
Goldkapsel (gold capsule) designated that the wines are characterized by botrytis; in some cases, shorter capsules indicate wines with higher levels of concentration than average Auslese and longer capsules a further level about that. (Whatever the hell THAT means!)
Within a Bereich, what are individual vineyard sites called?
Einzellagen (1 ha to over 200 ha but the avg is around 38 ha -- most split between a number of different growers. Only used on Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein labels. Must be preceded by the name of the village where the vineyard(s) is located. Super confusing for buyers who can't tell the difference on the label between an Einzellagen and a Grosslage.
Within a Bereich, what are collective vineyard sites called?
Grosslage -- 600 to 1800 ha (much bigger than Einzellagen); 167 have been registered. Only used on Qualitätswein and Prädikatswein labels. Must be preceded by the name of the village where the vineyard(s) is located. Super confusing for buyers who can't tell the difference on the label between an Einzellagen and a Grosslage.
What is the difference between Grosslage and Gross Lage?
Gross Lage is one of the top vineyards in the VDP classification. Grosslage just means a big collective vineyard site.
Confusing matters further, where can the names of individual plots within a vineyard site be added to the name of the Bereich?
In Rheinland-Pfalz (which includes Ahr, Mosel, Nahe, Pfalz, and Rheinhessen).
What does the term Liebfraumilch mean?
Liebfraumilch used to be the mainstay of German wine exports, although sales have tumbled wince 1980s. Medium white wine of Qualitätswein level with > 18 g/l RS. It must contain at least 70% Riesling, Silvaner, Müller-Thurgau, and Kerner, although it practice, Müller-Thurgau tends to dominate. The grapes must come from one of four regions: Rheinhessen and Pfalz (majority); also Rheingau and Nahe.
What is Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP)?
Founded in 1910, the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP) was orginally a group of wine producers from Rehingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, and Mosel who wanted to promote wines made without must enrichment, at the time called naturweine. In the late 1960s, the name and concept of Naturwein was rejected from German wine law and in 1971, the Prädikatswein was introduced. In response, the VDP renamed itself and set up higher standards for members. Today, the VDP has ~200 members across all fo Germany's man wine-producing regions, split into a number of regional associations. VDP members own about 5% of Germany's total vineyard area and produce about 3% of annual production by volume and 7.5% by value. Riesling is most planted variety , over half of vineyard area. <25% of VDP production is exported.
How are VDP members identified?
By a VDP logo (an eagle bearing a bunch of grapes) which appear on their wine capsules.
What regulations are more stringent for VDP members than German wine laws in general?
Lower max. yields, higher min. must weights, and growing predominantly the traditional grape varieties for particular regions. Members are audited every five years to make sure they comply. The VDP also encourages sustainable viticulture; over 20% of Germany's certified organic producers are VDP members. Much of the VDP production is of dry wines (red and white), although wines with RS make up big proportion in Mosel. The dry wines much be labeled Qualitätswein trocken because Prädikat levels are only for wines with RS.
Describe the four categories of VDP wine, introduced in 2012 to emphasize the provenance of wines?
(1) VDP Gutswein: regional wines. Max yield is 75 hl/ha.
(2) VDP Ortswein: village wines produced from typical grapes from the region. Max yield is 75 hl/ha.
(3) VDP Erste Lage: Designates "first-class" vineyards with distinctive characteristics (equiv to Burgundy's Premier Cru). Excellent quality with aging potential. Only grapes best suited to site or parcel. Max yield is 60 hl/ha. Harvested by hand and at least ripe enough for Spätlese status. Traditional winemaking techniques. Village and vineyard name must appear on label.
(4) VDP Grosse Lage: (equiv of Burgundy's Grand Cru); best parcels in best vineyards; Max yield is 50 hl/ha; Grape varieties differ accdg to Anbaugebiete. For Grosse Lage, Riesling is allow in all Anbaugebieten (although only for botrytised wines in Ahr); and Spätburgunder in all Anbaugebieten but Mosel and Nahe. Dry white wines can't be released until 1 Sept the year after harvest; Red wines must spend 12 mos in oak and can't be released until 1 Sept. after that. Sweeter Prädikat wines may be released 1 May after harvest.
What are Grosses Gewächs wines?
Dry wines make from grapes from VDP Grosse Lage. The term Grosses Gewäches cannot appear on the label; instead the VDP "GG" trademark is used. Only the vineyards name appears on the label and not the village (similar to grand crus in Burgundy).
What is the Rheingau Charta?
The Rheingau Charta was introduced in 1984 to promote dry wines from the best vineyard sites of the Rheingau. In 1999 the members of the Charta joined the VDP in Rheingau. These members, who previously used Erstes Gewächs acan now label those wines as "GG" (Grosses Gewächs).