Kiedrich Gräfenberg Beerenauslese
QmP Rheingau, Weingut Robert Weil, 1996
Germany – Into the elite the hard way
Sitting in the heart of Europe, the hilly, lake-dotted landscape of Germany provides ideal, fertile soil for the most diverse vine varieties. From Albalonga to Zweigelt, over 140 different grape varieties are grown on about 100,000 acres, cared for by nearly 50,000 vintners. Most of these vintners are young, modern, internationally trained, inquisitive and urbane. It is hardly surprising, then, that German wine has a good reputation well beyond the country's borders.
The cold-weather king
The Riesling is the flagship of the German wine industry. It grows from north to south in all growing areas. It is also comfortable in the neighbouring Alsace region and in Austria. Its specialty is being vinified to a variety of degrees of sweetness, from bone-dry wines to ice wine. Moreover, thanks to its spirited acidity, it ages better than many reds. The typical Riesling smells of citrus, peach and apricot, shows hints of flint, and with maturity develops an idiosyncratic petrol note. It reflects its terroir like hardly any other white variety. Thus, it often gets fuller and more aromatic in Austria than in Germany. In Alsace, in turn, it has a particular mineral taste. Riesling is a wonderful culinary companion. It fits well not only with fish and shellfish, but also takes the heaviness from hearty meals. And with a fine sweetness and acidity balance, it works wonders for Asian cuisine.