Germany // Food and drink //

German wine regions


Ahr Small wine-valley south of Bonn that specializes in reds – has a reputation for a light, sometimes elegant, Spätburgunder.

Baden Spread over a huge area from Heidelberg to the border and across to the Bodensee. Specializes in dry wines: Spätburgunder, Riesling and Gewürztraminer.

Franconia (Franken) Main valley and around. Grows dry wines as distinctive as the area’s round-bellied Bocksbeutel bottles. Good Silvaner.

Hessiche Bergstrasse North of Heidelberg and west Germany’s smallest area. Small producers, and reliable Riesling.

Mittelrhein More famous for scenery, the Middle Rhine grows a flinty, underrated Riesling around the villages of Boppard and Bacharach.

Mosel–Saar–Ruwer Germany’s most acclaimed – and exported – region, with a subtly elegant Riesling grown on the Mosel’s sun-soaked slopes and a brilliant one in the Saar tributary. Also known for exciting new producers who keep the old hands sharp.

Nahe Rhine tributary whose fresh, well-balanced Riesling doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

Palatinate (Pfalz) The growing region formerly known as Rheinpfalz south of Rheinhessen. A warm climate and fully ripe grapes produce classic, rich wines – the dry Riesling is increasingly well made.

Rheingau West of Wiesbaden, this is the best area of the Rhine valley, with a classic if rather old-fashioned Riesling and good reds.

Rheinhessen Riesling is the pick of this huge region between Mainz and Worms, its reputation on the up nationally.

Saale-Unstrut Riesling and Gewürztraminer whites, Silvaner and a Cistercian-rooted Portugieser red, plus sparkling Sekt wines at the river confluence by Naumberg, west of Leipzig.

Saxony (Sachsen) Small region centred on Meissen west of Dresden. Best known for a distinctive Muscat-style Müller-Thurgau.

Württemberg Large and underrated area of small producers around Stuttgart. Go for reds – Trollinger and Lemberger – especially in the Neckar valley.

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