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German wine - wine basics

Selection wines - Germany

Selection: premium quality, dry varietals available in limited quantities. The cream of the crop.

Connoisseurs know that "Selection" signals the best of the vintage..... a carefully selected, top-quality wine..... an exquisite example of German winemaking skill. Taste profile: dry.

First-class vineyards (or parcels thereof), low yields, and harvesting by hand all contribute to the outstanding quality of these wines. Bottle aging is a prerequisite - Selection wines cannot be marketed prior to September 1st of the year after the harvest. All Selection wines are vintage dated.

Quality criteria - Selection wines

Wine-growers who intend to produce grapes for a Selection wine must fulfill many quality-oriented criteria. The wine's appellation of origin - a first-class, individual vineyard site (or parcels thereof) - must be registered with authorities and be clearly demarcated as a "Selection" site by May 1st prior to the harvest.

The importance attributed to vineyard site acknowledges terroir - site-specific soil and microclimatic conditions - as a factor that infuences the individual character, and quality, of a wine. The must weights of grapes from which Selection wines are produced are far higher (Auslese level) than the minimum prescribed by law, equal to a natural alcohol content of 12.2% by volume. Yields are restricted to a maximum of 60 hl/ha.

Grapes must be selectively harvested, by hand, to weed out unripe or rotten berries. In terms of style, Selection wines are dry, with up to 9 grams per liter of residual sugar - with one exception: Riesling wines, that are by naturerich in acidity. Here, the residual sugar content can be 1.5 times as high as the acidity, up to a maximum of 12 grams per liter. The goal is to achieve a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity.

[Selection grape varieties]

The name of the producer must appear on the label of all quality wines. Selection wines are no exception, whether the wine was estate-bottled (Gutsabfüllung or Erzeugerabfüllung) or bottled by a commercial winery (Abfüller). In the latter case, where the grape-grower(s) and bottler of a Selection wine are not identical, all parties must conclude and register with the authorities a contract (by May 1st prior to the harvest) outlining each party's responsibilities with regard to quality, quantity, delivery, etc. Wineries and growers alike strive for long-term contracts that will be mutually beneficial and many of these working relationships have been in place, successfully, for years.

[Classic wines]

Text: ©DWI
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