forest or bare mountain. Whilst the chances of such sites producing some of the
world’s finest white wines look slim, they do manage it, indeed Germany’s
finest wines stamp their quality with a racy authority that no-one can imitate.
Riesling, arguably the most capable of all white grapes, maintains its varietal
character while reflecting the terroir of its site. Therefore whilst all German
Rieslings have that balance of tingling fruit and refreshing acidity, there are
clear regional differences. The steep dark slate slopes of the Mosel Valley
produce the lightest Rieslings with particularly firm, steely examples coming
from its tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer. The south-facing slopes of the
Rheingau are drier and sunnier and as a result, the wines are slightly fuller.
The underrated Nahe lies in between the Mosel and Rheingau both stylistically
and geographically, while the large Rheinhessen region can produce firm, full
and structured Rieslings. The Pfalz region further south is warmer and so, not
surprisingly, the wines are slightly richer and more Alsace-like in character.
This is a country that still fights its demons, the 1970’s and 80’s were
disastrous for its quality reputation. However, Australia and New Zealand have
made Riesling fashionable again and Germany is working its way back into