Welcome to Germany
And prepare to be surprised!
Photo: Karsten Würth
Wednesday 30 March 2022
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Germany’s winemaking is all about the soil. Winemakers in Mosel are obsessed with creating the perfect mirror to reflect the stony nature of their steep slate slopes; in Rheinhessen, formerly famous for sweet and cheap Liebfraumilch, new growers use limestone to bring out nerve and decisive acidity. The idea of minerality is not a curious concept here — the very best winemakers in Germany will tell you that they create wines to bring out the flavours of the very soils from which their grapes struggled a crop from. That’s what they do. It’s not up for debate. You can taste it. There’s your proof.
With a climate that moves from bitter winter to warm-but-not-scorchio summers in most of its regions, grapes grown in Germany are typically higher in acidity and, because there isn’t such a long summer season for languorous ripening, are naturally lower in alcohol — hitting the 9.5%-11% ABV mark is normal.
There are also an astonishing variety of indigenous grapes here. Which is quite funny, really, when for the most part people only know Germany from their Blue Nun and Black Tower debauchery years. The 20th century was a fertile time for Germany’s wine industry, with biologists crossing and hybridising grapes to create fruit that would more ideally suit the inclement climate, after first looking for ways to beat the phylloxera pest. This has become vital research for regions of the world struggling with climate change (read: everywhere).
Winemaking is as different in each of Germany’s 13 designated growing regions (or Anbaugebieten) as the local cultures and microclimates within them. In this month’s magazine we hope to help you get to know this diverse country, learn more about its surprising wine heritage, and find out about the exciting future of wine here, led by established visionaries and fresh, new talents.
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