Germany – a revelation!

28 06 2016

IMG_001320 odd years ago as a Master of Wine student, German wines were all about varying levels of sweetness from Kabinett to Trockenbeerenauslese and Eiswein. I found Germany a difficult area to study and I remember deciding not to go on a wine trip there because it was just before my exam. I have regretted that decision ever since – until last week! I was fortunate enough to be invited on a ‘Masters of Riesling & Pinot Noir’ trip organised by one of our suppliers with a 1200km whistle-stop tour to a producer in each of the main wine producing regions and it was a real eye-opener.

Global warming wasn’t talked about back then but it certainly is now. Harvest dates have advanced by up to four weeks, potential alcohol levels have increased while acidity has decreased. Now the talk is of dry wines more than sweet and red grape varieties, particularly Pinot Noir (Spatburgunder) planted in warmer, southerly regions, are rivalling (seriously) those of Burgundy. I returned asking myself when all this change had happened and how had it passed me by? As a lover of Pinot Noir, how come I had not tasted some of these absolutely gorgeous wines?!

This change in climate and therefore in the styles of wine produced has understandably created some confusion. The old German wine laws weren’t designed to cope with this. The ‘by invitation only’ VDP (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter) Association of around 200 members has created a Grosses Gewachs or Grand Cru system for dry (Trocken) white wines from top vineyard sites. The concept is laudable but the fact that it is not enshrined in law makes it confusing and very political. Fall out with the VDP and you might not be allowed in. So some producers have, cheekily some would say, registered Grosses Gewachs with their name as a trademark.

I’ll be adding tasting notes for each of the domaines so keep checking back for more…

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