The reputation for German wines on the world vino market is that of producing a fine elegant white wine. There are thirteen regions in Germany that produce the wines of this country and they bring to the world about three percent of all produced. While Germany is best known for white wines, there are some fine examples of red wines coming out of the country. The darker variations are difficult to grow in the German climate and many of them are lighter in appearance than red wines produced in other areas of the world.
The German climate is quite cold and inhospitable to grape growing. Fortunately, the Germans have continued to produce fine wines even with the difficult conditions. Many believe that the soil is responsible for the flavour, but there are other techniques that contribute to the taste. Vintners contribute to the flavour by the method that is used to make the wine as well as the storage. Wines stored in oak barrels retain the flavour of the storage barrel, while others stored in stainless steel do not. The thirteen regions in Germany that produce wine are the Ahr, Moselle, Middle Rhine, Palatinate, Nahe, Rheinhessen, Wurttemberg, Baden, Rheingau, Franconia, Hessian Bergstrasse, Saale Unstrut and Saxony regions. These areas of the country that produce the grapes for German wines run along the Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers. There has been wine production in this part of the world since the days of the Romans.
The grapes used in German wine production are mainly Riesling. The climate in Germany gives the grapes a chance to ripen slowly. The Riesling variety has a distinctive flavour with a great deal of nuance. It is the variety that is most closely associated with German wine. Germany, however, has other varieties that are as flavourful and distinctive as Riesling. Germany grows rivaner, pinot gris, pinot blanc, pinot noir and silavner. A third of the wine produced in Germany is made from the pinot noir variety of dark grape. The Riesling wines are some of the more complex of all the German varieties. The grapes have a fruity flavour which the vintners in Germany emphasize. The citrus, apple, and apricot flavours are distinctive in Riesling wines.
German wines have some lower quality wines produced for their low cost to consumers. Unfortunately, many of these wines have become what many people associate with German production. It is necessary to dig a little deeper into your pocket to find the better quality German wines. A good example of this type is Liebfraumilch which has a very sweet and bland flavour. The does make it very inexpensive, however. Germans are famous for white wines, but there are some light red wines worth checking out. There has been an increase in red wines in recent times because of consumer demand. If your only experience with very sweet white wines, you are missing out on some elegantly smooth vintages.