German Wine Guide

Those Great German Wines

Historically, Germany’s wine has suffered an inferiority complex, fueled by the reputations of wine powerhouses France and Italy. In modern times, though, they’ve made headway against the Bordeaux and Chiantis by improving quality while keep prices reasonable. At long last, German vintners are starting to reap rewards! The world-famous Riesling region, centered on the Rhine River and its tributaries and in eastern Germany near Dresden, is the biggest success story to come out of Germany’s 13 wine-growing regions. White grapes form 80% of the harvest, but reds are on the rise as well as the overall reputation of German wines.

Here’s an overview of the major grapes:


Known and loved across the globe, the Riesling is an elegant white wine that sometimes has an aroma of peaches or apricots. Mid-priced varieties are good with almost any meal. The best come from the Moselle and Rheingau tributaries.


This white grape produces plain wines with less character than the Riesling. Grown everywhere, Müller-Thurgau generally has a nuttier, riper taste than the Riesling.


Germany’s Pinot Noir, this grape yields the best German red wines and may be the next German export to hit the world’s palette. Excellent examples grow on the steep slopes of the Ahr River and in Württemberg.


This dry white wine is a specialty in the vineyards of Franconia around Würzburg. It has a sour apple taste that is good with meals or mixed with mineral water as a Weinschorle.

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