German wines are particularly produced in accordance to an imperfect scale based on the grapes’ ripeness at harvest time. Generally, the riper the grapes, the richer the wine production, and thus, the more complex the wines. This system has been put into place in year 1971 due to the cool northern climate of Germany, in which full ripeness was historically hard to attain.
With better viticulture and climate change worldwide as time passes by, getting full ripeness is not anymore hard. The result is that the distinctions between the levels of ripeness may be less clear. Another of the possible problem with the system based on ripeness is that it is ignoring the superiority of specific vineyard sites and grape varieties, which has been historically proven.
Deeper Wine Trip to Understanding Riesling
1/5 of all the planted wine grapes in the country are Rieslings. If you are taking wine tasting vacations in Germany, you will need to begin with this grape that is very iconic. There are many things to love about Riesling. It may taste like apricot or peach, or may be of tartness that is like a lime. It is also highly aromatic. Another great thing offered by Riesling is an elegant clarity. When you drink one bottle from grapes that have been grown on red or blue slate, you swear that you would be able to taste straight with the fruit flavors the wine core’s minerals.
On the other hand, Riesling wines will take on the flavors of honey and ginger if the grapes stay on the vine long enough, because the botrytis called noble rot affects. There is not Riesling aged of Germany in barrels because German winemakers prefer emphasizing the grape’s freshness instead of weighing it down with the oaky hints of clove and vanilla. Riesling ages well for as much as 10, 20, or even 30 years after vintage.
Wine Tasting Tours to Sweetness of German Wines
Not all Rieslings of Germany are sweet, it is important not to steer clear Rieslings with a small amount of residual sugar. Grapes in Riesling naturally have very high acid, with the cool climate from the north in the country gets this acid to stay in the German grapes even toward the season of the fall harvests. In line with this, winemakers in Germany are letting the fermentations to stop before becoming totally dry, and hence, retaining some sweetness to balance the blends.
This small amount of sweetness is also what made the Riesling handy during dinner. Sugar is helpful in moderating the spice. The off-dry Riesling is best with Thai foods or fiery Indian foods. When you match Rieslings with something fatty foods like pork belly, you will discover that it has the complete triumvirate aroma. Sweetness, acidity, and richness taste good together.
Discover how sweet your German wine is
One important thing to note is that the lower the alcohol, the sweeter the wine is going to be. One tip to know the sweetness level of your German wine is by looking at the percentage of alcohols. This is for the reason that not all sugar was converted to the alcohol by means of fermentation. There are also several German terms that you can learn, helpful in identifying the sweetness of German wines.
- Halbtrocken: It is the level of sweetness that is offdry, which is suited well with Indian or Thai dinner. There will be a label “Selection” on the bottle, indicating that it is a wine that is dry, which means it is sourced from one vineyard while the wine with a label “Classic” is in a level of off-dry.
- Trocken: If you see this label on the bottle, it means the wine is dry. It is true even if you see a “Spatlese” label on the bottle. Spatlese means ripeness and the Trocke is the final word for dryness.
- Grosses Gewach (GG): A wine with a label GG or Grosses Gewachs, which means Great Growth means that the grapes are from a good wine have been used for making dry wine. These amazing sites are similar to Burgundy’s vineyards, which are somewhat more expensive as compared to the bottles with label “Selection” or “Trocken”, and this is also going to be complex and powerful.
Levels of Wine Quality in Germany
- Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP) – Predicated on a particular level or ripeness
- Qualitatswein (QbA) – Quality wine
- Spatlese – Late harvest
- Eiswein – Rare dessert wine with the same concentration to BA, but made from overripe and frozen grapes
- Beeranauslese (BA) – Berries chosen from harvest
- Auslese – Chosen from the harvest
- Goldkapsel – Special selection wine
- Kabinett – The most delicate and lightest style of Riesling
- Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) – Rarest and greatest dessert wine
If you are planning to go for wine tasting holidays and enjoy a wine trip to one of the best sources of delicious, world class, and sweet wines and their specialty Riesling. Make your wine tasting vacations the best by visiting the wine producing regions and learning more about wines, especially if you are a wine lover.
Read our previous article You really need to see the Drakensberg ‘Mountains of Dragons’ in South Africa