Archive for the ‘riesling’ Category

The wine regions of Germany

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Germany has 13 separate wine growing regions, each of which produces its own style of wine, often from the same varieties. Generally, the lightest and most elegant German wines are produced in the Mosel-Sarr-Ruwer and Ahr regions.
Slightly fuller wines are made inthe Mittelrhein, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Saale-Unstrut, while the fullest German wines tend to come from the regions of Pfalz, Hessische Bergstrasse, Sachsen, Württembery and Baden.

Wine regions Major wine types Soil type Wine style
Ahr Red/Rose:
volcanic slate light, fruity
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer White: Riesling slate-covered slopes,
rich in minerals
elegant, delicate,
Nahe White: Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Silvaner loess, loam, quartzite, porphyry fruity, crisp, stylish
Pfalz White: Riesling,
Scheurebe, Gewürztraminer,Muller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner
Red/Rose: Spätburgunder, Portugieser
loam, weathered limestone full, aromatic, round
White: Riesling,
loess elegand, fruity,
good acidity
Baden White: Ruländer
(Pinot Gris), Müller-Thurgau,
Gewürztraminer, Riesling

loess, loam, volcanic
full, aromatic,
Sachsen White: Müller-Thurgau,
Weissburgunder, Gewürtraminer
variety of soil,
(sand, porphyry, loam)
dry, crisp, distinctive

Selected websites show other articles on: Germany wines.
This blog also has a post that gives an overview of the German red varieties and another with an overview of the German white varieties.

Wine growing in Austria

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Every year, about 300 hectoliters of wine are produced in the world. (The hectoliter metric unit of capacity or volume used in dry measure and equal to 100 liters or 2.8378 bushels.) Of this total, Austria’s share accounts for less than one percent.

Vineyard in Wachau, AustriaAs a small wine-producing country, Austria strives to produce only high quality wines. In order to do this, four components are necessary: soil, climatic conditions, the right selection of vines and the person producing the wine.


Soil leaves its imprint on wine. It helps determine the character and the quality. There are two main variations of soil: airy light-textured and heavy compacted textured.

A sandy, light soil, such as loess, becomes warm very quickly and – with proper irrigation – contributes to top-quality wine.

Heavy, clayey soils tend to hold water well, moisture is retained: a plentiful harvest is usually yielded, producing strong, full-bodied wines. The light and sandy soils (including primary rock) helps create lean, yet elegant and fruity wines.

Austrian vineyards have a wide variety of soils. Loess is predominant in the Weinviertel and in the Donautal. Around Kerms, Langenlois and in the Wachau, primary rock is most plentiful. Limestone strongly defines the Thermenregion. Types of soils found in Burgenland are varied, with everything from slate (in Leithagebirge), clay and marl to pure sand. Volcanic and brown soils (in the Kloch area) are distinctive for the Steiermark.


The vine growth cycle, from budbreak in the spring until the leaves fall in autumn, last approximately 200 days, depending on the variety. Warm, sunny summers and long, mild fall days are typical for most of Austria’s wine regions. Yearly rainfall in the east averages 400 milliliters; in the Steiermark, it can climb to more than 800 ml.

Two main influences on climatic conditions in the regions are the Danube river, which reflects warmth and acts as a temperature regulator, and the vast Neusiedlersee lake, whose shores, in the late fall, are filled with ripened grapes that will make the incomparable Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese wines.

Altitude is also a key factor. Most Austrian vineyards are planted 200 metres above sea level. However, in Niederosterreich, vineyards are cultivated at a height of up to 400m. The Steiermark boasts the highest wine villages, with Kitzeck and St. Andra in the Sausal area, where grapes are grown between 540-560m above sea level.

The wine growing regions are all found in terperate climate zones – at a latitude of approximately 47-48 degrees north. This is comparable to the province of Burgundy in France.


Austria has a plethora of varieties, each in harmony with their soil and climate conditions. Of significance are approximately 20 white and 10 red varieties. Austria’s vineyards comprise 77% white varieties; 23% are red – an increase in recent years. The most noble variety is riesling. The variety in fashion lately in the USA is grüner veltliner.


The winemaker, or, as they are sometimes called in Austria, the wine hewer, decides which types of grapes she will grow. A crucial criterion for achieving a high quality harvest is the low yield.

There are methods that can help attain this result, such as little fertilisation and thinning both after blossoming and before picking. For Qualitatswein, Austria’s wine law has set a maximum of 9,000 kg per hectare.

When it comes to processing the packed grapes, only one thing matters – good care, This means light application of pressure during pressing, and a concentrated influence on the whole vinification process.

Here is an extensive series on wine-growing in Austria.

47 white wine varietals

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Here is a list of vine varieties with a description of the white wines made from them.

Aligoté French Poor man’s Burgundy. Pale, light, crisp wine. Not for ageing.
Alvarinho Portugal Produces Vinho Verde, very crisp, light with a slight prickle.
Auxerrois French Acidic, very dry and full-bodies, Chablisesque.
Bacchus German Silvaner, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau cross. Flowery, light Moscato bouquet, low acidity. Used mainly for blending.
Bual Madeira Sweet full-bodies fortified wine, burnt amber colour, fig-like bouquet.
Chardonnay French Ranges from crisp, apple-like flavours in cool climates to caramel, pineapple
and tropical tones in warm areas. Buttery, toasty or clove-like finish.
Ages well, usually in oak.
Chasselas E.
Light, crisp wine with delicate bouquet in Switzerland. Rather insipid elsewhere.
French Honeyed, high-acid wines in the Loire. Lots of fruit. Ages many years. California
model is much softer and fruitier.
Colombard French (French Colombard) Originally a cognac grape, now grown in California for soft,
flowery wines.
California High-yielding Muscadelle, Riesling cross. Aromatic, soft, fruity.
Californian name for Sauvignon Blanc or Sauvignon/Sémillon blend. Fruitier and
less grass than Loire model.
French Once a major grape in Cognac. High acid, not much character.
Furmint Hungary Principal grape of Tokay. Can be dry, off-dry or sweet. Apple or apricot and toffee bouquet, depending on style.
Gewürztraminer Italy (Traminer)
Spicy, exotic, rose petal and lychee bouquet. Can be dry (Alsace) or sweet (Germany, California).
Grüner Veltliner Austria Fresh, lively, fruity, dry wine for drinking young as in the “new” wine, Heurige.
Hárslevelü Hungary Spicy, full-bodied, aromatic. Good for sweet wines.
Jacquère French Light, very dry and brisk wine from Savoie.
Kerner German Red
Trollinger, Riesling cross. Spicy, fruity wines with good acidity.
Malvasia Greek Produces lusciously sweet dessert wines in warm climates and crisp dry ones in northern areas. The grape of the sweet Madeira, Malmsey.
Marsanne French Deep-coloured, high-alcohol wines blended with the more delicate Roussanne in the Rhône.
Morio-Muscat German Silvaner, Pinot Blanc cross. Full-bodied, fruity with spicy bouquet.
Müller-Thurgau German Riesling, Silvaner cross (or two clones of Riesling). Less acidic than Riesling,
soft and fruity. Lacks ageing potential.
Muscadelle French Perfumey grape used to add bouquet to some white Bordeaux (Sauvignon and Sémillon).
Muscadet French (Melon de Bourgogne) Light, pale, racy wines with lively acidity from the Loire.
Moscato Greek Perfumed, raisiny bouquet with a characteristic spiciness in dessert wines. Can also be made dry as in Alsace and Australia.
Palomino Spanish The grape of sherry. Neutral wine, low acidity.
Pedro Ximenez Spanish A very sweet white wine used in sherry, thought to be Riesling.
Picolit Italian Dessert wine grape of Friuli. Deep coloured, rich, slightly bitter.
Pinot Blanc French (Pinot Bianco/Weissburgunder) Relative of Chardonnay but with less character and ageing potential. Best from Alsace.
Pinot Gris E. Europe (Pinot Grigio, Ruländer) Full-flavoured, elegant wines capable
of ageing.
Riesling German (Johannisberg Riesling, Rhine or White Riesling)
Finest German variety, capable of making a range of wines from steely dry to toffee-sweetness. Floral nose, keen acidity.
Rkatsiteli E. Europe All-purpose grape producing ordinary table wines, dessert wines and fortified wines.
Sacy French The name suggests it all. Frisky, tart wine from Chablis region.
Savagnin French Makes Sherry-style vin jaune in the Jura region.
Sauvignon Blanc French Makes grassy, gooseberry, smoky wines in the Loire and accompanies Sémillon
in dry and sweet wines of Bordeaux. California model is rounder and fruitier and fig-like.
Scheurebe German Silvaner, Riesling cross. Aromatic, fruity with pronounced acidity. Best in dessert style.
Sémillon French Honey and apricot bouquet when affected by Botrytis (see page 22). Blended with Sauvignon Blanc for dry Bordeaux. Lacks acidity.
Sercial Portugal Produces the driest, lightest style of Madeira. Good acidity. Ages well.
Seyval Blanc French Hybrid.
Makes dry wines with a grassy, green plum flavour. Does not age well.
Silvaner Austrian Mild, neutral wine with good body. Useful for blending.
Trebbiano Italian (Ugni Blanc, St. Emilion) Pale colour, high acid, medium-body, shy bouquet.
Verdelho Spain Produces off-dry Madeira and soft, nutty table wines.
Verdicchio Italian Crisp, dry wines with a hint of bitterness.
Vidal French Hybrid.
Good fruit and acidity. Can range in styles from tart Sauvignon Blanc to Late Harvest and Icewine.
Viognier French Rich, elegant, full-bodied, floral-peachy wine especially in the Rhône.
Capable of ageing.
Viura Spanish (Macabeo)
Fruity aromatic wines with high acidity capable of wood ageing.
Welschriesling French (Riesling Italico, Laskiriesling, Olaszriesling)
Floral, zesty, versatile but not as elegant as Johannisberg (White or Rhine) Riesling.

On this website here is a list of red wine varietals.

The 6 major white varieties in Germany

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Here is an overview of the German varieties of white grapes.

Riesling grapesRiesling

It is the finest and best known of Germany’s white varieties. Its small grapes ripen late – in October or November. This long, slow ripening period allows it to develop more aroma and a harmonious balance.
Wine: fragrant, fine-fruit bouquet; lively, pronounced acidity; piquant taste; potential for ageing because of racy acidity.


Müller-Thurgau grapesIt is now the most widely planted grape in Germany (23% of total vineyard area). It is a crossing of two varieties, probably Riesling and Silvaner, developed in 1882 iin Geisenheim, Germany, by Prof. H. Müller from Thurgau, Switzerland. The grapes ripen early, usually in September.
Wine: flowery bouquet; milder acidity than Riesling; slight muscat flavour; best consumed while fresh and young.

Silvaner grapesSilvaner

It is a traditional variety. Its medium-sized, juicy grapes ripen somewhat earlier than Riesling.
Wine: neutral bouquet; mild acidity; full-bodied, pleasant wines; best enjoyed while young.


Kerner grapesIt is a popular new cross, developed from Trollinger (a red variety) and Riesling (a white variety). It has thick-skinned, early-ripening grapes.
Wine: light muscat bouquet; racy, lively acidity; similar to Riesling.

Scheurebe grapesScheurebe

It is another new crossing — this time of Silvaner and Riesling.
Wine: lively acidity; bouquet and taste reminiscent of black currents.


Ruländer/Grauburgunder grapes(Grauburgunder, pinot grigio, pinot gris) is among the best varieties in Germany. It ripens at the same time as Silvaner.
Wine: robust, full-bodied, smooth, soft, and full on the palate.

Other varieties…

There are other white wine varieties in Germany that are just as interesting and which you should try: the fruity, flowery Bacchus, the light, mild Gutedel, the racy, neutral Elbling, or the Morio-Muskat, with its flowery bouquet and pronounced flavour.

As a complement you can read the article on the German wine regions or an overview of the major German varieties of red grapes.