Before we begin our study of the white wines of Germany, tell me this: Have you memorised the 7 Grand Crus of Chablis, the 32 Grands Crus of the Cote d’Or, and the 391 different wineries of the Napa Valley? I hope you have, so you can begin to memorise the more than 1400 wine villages and 2600 plus vineyards of Germany. No problem, right? what’s 4000 simple little names?
Actually, if you were to have studied German wines before 1971, you would have had thirty thousand different names to remember. There used to be very small parcels of land owned by an assortment of different people. That’s why so many names were involved.
Can you take the mystery out of reading German wine labels?
German wine labels give you plenty of information. For example, take a look at the label above.
Joh Jos Christoffel Erben is the producer
Mosel is the region of the wine’s origin. Note that the region is one of the big four.
2004 is the year the grapes were harvested.
Urzig is the town and Wurzgarten is the vineyard from which the grapes originate. The Germans add the suffix “er” to make Urziger, just as a person from New York is called a New Yorker.
Riesling is the grape variety. Therefore, this wine is at least 85 percent Riesling.
Auslese is the ripeness level, in this case from bunches of overripe grapes.
Qualitatswein mit Prädikat is the quality level of the wine.
A.P.Nr.2 602 041 007 05 is the official testing huber- proof that the wine was tasted by a panel of tasters and passed th extract quality standards required by the government.
Gutsabfullung means “estate-bottled.”