By Wines of Germany
With over 140 varietals ranging from Acolon to Zweigeltrebe, the wide range of grape varieties cultivated in Germany is impressive. Although the Germany is renowned for its world-class Rieslings, other grape varieties deserve a closer look, as the German winemaking scene masterfully balances traditional varieties such as Silvaner and Müller-Thurgau with international varieties such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are 10 German grape varieties every somm should know:
Known for their approachable, light and refreshing taste, Müller-Thurgau wines make for easy, everyday drinking. Bred in 1882, this wine now accounts for about 12% of Germany’s vineyard area and is grown in all 13 German wine-growing regions.
If Germany’s finest white wines are produced from Riesling, its red wine counterpart is Spätburgunder. Germany ranks third worldwide in area devoted to Pinot Noir after France and the US, with almost 12% of vineyards planted to it.
Dornfelder was bred in 1955, originally developed for use as a blending wine to add color to pale red wines, but became the second most widely planted red variety in Germany.
In Germany, Grauburgunder, or Pinot Gris, typically producesa dry, medium-bodied wine with fairly lively acidity. Germany now ranks third worldwide in terms of vineyard area devoted to Pinot Gris.
German Pinot Blanchas shownsteady growth in plantingsrecently as its growing area has doubled inthe past decadeand the country nowhas the highest number of plantings worldwide.
The widespread cultivation of Silvaner dates from the early 19th century, and it was once the most important grape variety in Germany. It has long been a traditional variety in Rheinhessen and, especially,Franken.
Well-suited for rosé, Portugieser was likely brought to Germany from Austria in the 19th century.Today, it is Germany’s third most planted red wine.
Kerner, a Trollinger x Riesling crossing, was only introduced in the early 1970s, but this white grape was quickly planted in a number of German regions, especially in Rheinhessen and the Pfalz.
Trollinger is Württemberg’s premier red grape variety. In fact, these agreeable wines are knownas the “Swabian national drink,” although it is also grown in the Pfalz and Baden.
Lembergerhas enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years as evidenced by its growing vineyard area, concentrated in Württemberg, where it accounts for about 15% of the region’s vineyard area.