Exploring German white wine and the variety within
German White Wine
If you are a white wine enthusiast, then German white wine is an easy point of obsession. This is because, true to the stereotype, Germany takes the production and sale of white wines seriously. Since 2013, almost 65% of the German’s vineyards are dedicated to producing white wine grapes. which pair well with Germany’s cooler climate enabling them to produce lean fruits with high acidity. Perfect for a variety of white wines.
We will introduce you to the five major white wine German brands which include Riesling, Muller Thurgau, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Silvaner, and Weißburgunder (Pinot Blanc) and some essential knowledge on how to pick a tremendous German white wine.
Riesling takes the largest proportion of the German white wine yards. Even though there are other exciting varieties to learn about, this is Germany’s most important grape. Riesling is very high in acidity and consequently, it can produce white wines with an almost sickening sweetness balanced against this acidity.
When we look back to the Germans white wine market at a glance, the sweet Riesling used to dominate the vineyards and the wine market – even though today wineries have resorted to Riesling because of its heightened acidity. However, this does not mean that the sweet Riesling is bad, and the sweetest of German wine, Trockenbeerenauslese, is the most prized wine flying off the shelves.
To find a great German Riesling, you have to learn about their different quality levels. Their quality levels are the regions from where they come, starting from their extreme Pfalz, Mosel, and Rheingau. Also, you can visit the VDP (Verband Deutscher Prädikats) to learn about German wineries producing quality white wine and the criteria used to judge a quality Riseling.
Muller-Thurgau is the ideal delightful everyday wine from Germany. It is made from a crossbreed grape of Madeleine Royale and Riesling which is easy to grow in colder areas and often thrives in the German climate. The secret of the sweetness of the wine it produces lies in its floral fragrances even if the wine is dry white, with a balance of its obsequious peach-like sweetness and some crunchy bitterness.
Despite commanding the second largest proportion of German white wine market and being sweet, Germans still underestimate Muller-Thurgau potential and benefits. Whichever the case, to determine quality and how to identify the best brands, look out for where its grapes were grown as an indication of quality – this matters significantly more than the underlying grape of production!
Pinot Gris vs. Pinot Blanc
The two varieties come with softer acidity as compared to Riesling, and the stone-fruit flavors form the core of their components – Italians call them Pinot Grigio and Pinot Bianco respectively. However, there is a slight difference between what Italy and Germany produce, because Germany is much more interested in purification process while making the white wine but Italians focus on structure.
The German Pinot Gris is less complex when compared one on one with Pinot Blanc. Thus, Pinot Gris harbors some peachy texture developed from its color when compared to its cousin Pinot Blanc.
To find the great Pinot varieties focus exclusively on the warmer areas in Germany (including Baden, Pfalz, and Rheinhessen) because the Pinot varieties tend to thrive better in these climates than in the cooler regions.
Silvaner is the fourth largest in Germans vineyards, producing German white wine with passion fruit and herbaceous notes of thyme and similar flavors. Even though these fruits are difficult to grow, they produce surprisingly quality white wines with an oily texture. However, because they are quite unpopular, they don’t fetch good prices in the market.
Despite being the fourth largest grown in German vineyards, Silvaner has proven to be elusive to catch especially outside of Germany. Nevertheless, there are quite many producers for its two common varieties Rheinhessen and Franken, and we’d recommend trying a Silvaner if you’d like to try and expand your tastes a bit with something less typical of the wine you’ll be used to.
The German white wine spectrum is broad. It has a huge array of options to choose from suggesting that Germany is serious when it comes to brewing white wine. Which varieties have you tried?