Forgotten Wines from Germany

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Forgotten wines from Germany, these are world classic wines which are largely ignored.  One wine is from Alsace accidentally. A surprise wine from New York

JJ Prum Riesling $31- $33 entry level.  Heaven in a Bottle.  The granddaughter of J. J. Prum Katharina Prum is now heading the exquisite vineyards located in Mosel.

Wehlen, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany- The legendary Prüm family has been making wine in Wehlen for over two centuries. Hailing from the famous “”Sundial”” vineyard that his ancestors helped build, Manfred Prum’s Kabinett is all flowers, peaches, lime and slate. Dry, crisp and refreshing

Surprisingly, these are age worthy white wines which many people pooh pooh, thinking that only reds are capable of being aged.

I quote Jancis Robinson “ there may be the odd exception to this rule in Germany, whose white wines outnumber reds and have a great track record for age ability. Riesling, the signature grape of Germany, makes wines that are almost immortal. Not only do opened bottles of Riesling last weeks if kept reasonably cool, but the wines continue to improve in bottle for decades.”  Vines, Grapes  and Wines, Robinson, Jancis.  Beasley, Mitchell. Reed International Books limited.

The “ equation” that makes white wines age worthy is high acidity, – ( flavor of  lemons, lime, grapefruit,) also combined with natural grape sugar ( alcohol level) and terroir.

Terroir of Germany is unique. The proximity of the rivers provide a maritime influence that protects the vineyards from extreme temperatures . The most sought after wines are located close to the Mosel river .   This valley was formed millions of years ago, exposing many different rock types along the way. Devonian gray slate is found throughout most of the region as are schist and shale, all three are referred to locally as Schiefer. Red, green and blue slate variations can be found within the vineyards of winemakers like JJ PRUM.

Trimbach- Alsace –  $17- $19

This producer is probably the most well known for Riesling. Riesling can be bone dry and have pronounced minerality  due to the granite and schist soil. The pine covered Vosges Mountains also provide interesting terroir. Alsatian wines lean toward floral notes not the big citrus flavors.They are versatile in savory food pairings.  The terroir is a micro climate including the Rivers Rhine, Fecht and the steep slopes of  chalky soils to clay, limestone and sandstone. Alsace has a sunny climate.

Hermann J. Wiemer – Finger Lakes NY (surprise!!) $20

This vineyard has the similar longitude latitude as Germany . Herman J. Wiemer is a patient man.  He has been growing his vineyards for over forty years in the finger lakes region.

This is really a beautiful place for wine lovers with wonderful wine tasting events, food festivals.    No need to irrigate. New York has a very short growing season.  It is starting to see brief periods of summer heat which increase wine complexity.  Herman Wiemer is one of the first pioneers of this area.  He has experienced the trials of growing different Riesling varietals that produce quintessential Riesling. They are more fruit forward than the German rieslings but still very dry.

Forgotten wines from Germany is primarily produced in the west of Germany, along the river Rhine and its tributaries, with the oldest plantations going back to the Roman era. Approximately 60 percent of German wine is produced in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, where 6 of the 13 regions (Anbaugebiete) for quality wine are situated.

Riesling is the benchmark grape in Germany and covers the most area in German vineyards. It is an aromatic variety with a high level of acidity that can be used for dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling wines. The drawback to Riesling is that it takes 130 days to ripen and, in marginal years, the Riesling crop tends to be poor.

Rieslings pair well with heavier foods such as Alfredo pasta, lobster in a cream sauce, typical German cuisine and gourmet Thai food.


Valerie Hail
Podcaster/ Producer
Wealth, Yoga, Wine podcast


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