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German wine - grape varieties

Riesling - white vine variety no. 1


Of all the grapes of Germany, the most noble is the Riesling — a variety that can do well even in stony soil and can subsist on a minimum of moisture. Riesling is also frost-resistant and a very dependable bearer of high quality grapes which have an acidity level that gives the wine a racy freshness and contributes to its long life.

To reach its full potential, Riesling needs extra days of sun; ripening is very late, usually not until the latter half of October. Riesling produces elegant wines of rich character with an incomparable fragrance and taste, often reminiscent of peaches, or when young, apples.

In 1996, the vineyard area planted with Riesling exceeded that of Müller-Thurgau, thus making it Germany's premier grape variety in terms of area (ca. one fifth of all plantings). Riesling is grown throughout German wine country.

Riesling - Jancis Robinson, Financial Times:

For the first time in living memory, German Riesling producers have experienced such international demand for their wines that many have virtually sold out of their 2001's, a vintage that set connoisseurs alight around the world. German growers are in general, pleased to delighted with the 2002 vintage. At a blind tasting of 36 top Rieslings from around the world, although there were only 15 German wines in the line-up, five out of my favourite six wines were German.

March 29th/30th 2003

Riesling - Joanna Simon, The Sunday Times:

If I had to chose one great bottle of wine to be washed up with me on a desert island, it would not be Champagne, Australian Shiraz, Californian Cabernet, Chilean Merlot or even a fine white Burgundy, whatever the price. If I wanted something truly memorable to quench my thirst and cool me in the heat, with plenty of potential to ponder while I watched the horizon, I would chose a fine German Riesling.

Why am I so hooked on good German wines? I believe they are totally undervalued and misunderstood in today's New World-fixated times. There is nothing to beat the racy acidity and purity of fruit of a fine Riesling from a top producer like Fritz Haag in the Mosel region, or Schloss Vollrads in the Rheingau. They are such a welcome change from the latest barrel fermented Chardonnay or in-your-face Sauvignon Blanc. And there has never been a better time to try them, with two fantastic vintages 2001 and 2002 in bottle.

27th April 2003

source: ©DWI
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