Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday Wine 101: German Wines!

Oktoberfest 2013
Oktoberfest 2013!
Hello friends! Another Wednesday, so time for a little more wine education! As I am currently jet-setting off to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest with my family and friends, I thought a great post for today would be all about German wines! Now, when you think about Germany- as I do- I instinctively think about beer! However, Germany has many great wines, as well as a long history in the wine-making business. Today I will impart some of that knowledge onto you!

German Wine Information

Personally, when I think of German wines I automatically think of Riesling. As you can recall from learning about the 9 Noble White Grapes, Riesling is one of the Noble White grapes. Rieslings are tart wines that can be either dry or sweet, and (in my opinion!) very delicious! I'm going to give some quick information on German wines, and then I will come back to Rieslings!

In Germany, most wine is produced in Western Germany near the Rhine river. Germany is the 8th largest wine producer in the world, despite producing around 1.2 billion bottles of wine annually. Just goes to tell you how large the wine industry really is! Almost 2/3 of the wine produced in Germany is white wine, and 22% of all wine produced is made from Riesling grapes.

Because Germany is further North and has a cooler climate than many other 'traditional' wine producers such as Italy or France, the wines produced tend to be slightly tart because of the less-ripe grapes. Think about it this way- with a cooler climate, it is difficult for grapes to fully ripen. This "lack" of ripening causes more acidic or tart grapes, and in red wines light fruit flavors, such as cherries or raspberries, versus blackberries.

Of course, the most popular variety of German wine to try is Riesling. If you are looking to branch out, try a German Pinot Noir or a Gew├╝rtraminer- these are excellent options for German wines! When it comes to German Rieslings, one identifying factor is the light taste, as well as a typically lower alcohol content- 7-11%- than other wines. German Rieslings will also be very flavorful and dimensional, offering many different tastes and flavors.

Now, one last fun fact for the day! The world's steepest vineyard is located in Germany in the Mosel region, along the Mosel river. The area has vineyards with gradients as high as 60%, with the Bremmer Calmont Vineyard clocking in at a 65% gradient and over 950 feet high. With vineyards being this steep, using machinery is impossible, meaning all work is done by hand. The slopes and river in this area are very beneficial to the vineyards, allowing for sunlight to reflect off the river and radiate upwards, helping to ripen grapes in an otherwise cool climate.

With that, I am off to enjoy a nice cold beer at Oktoberfest! Are there any questions you have about German wine, or wine in general? I'm looking forward to hearing your opinions- stay tuned next week for more wine information, as well as posts about my time at Oktoberfest! In the meanwhile, make sure to follow me on Instagram to keep updated with my pictures!

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