Why is German Riesling so good?

Answered by Andrew Fritz

German Riesling is highly regarded and widely recognized as one of the best in the world. The unique combination of Germany's cool climate, diverse terroir, and centuries of winemaking tradition contribute to the exceptional quality of German Riesling.

Cool climate: Germany's regions are located in the northernmost parts of Europe, which means that the weather is relatively cooler compared to other wine-producing regions. Riesling grapes thrive in these cooler conditions as it helps to preserve the grape's natural acidity. This acidity is crucial in balancing the wine's flavors and providing a refreshing and vibrant character.

Diverse terroir: Germany's wine regions are characterized by their diverse soils and microclimates. The country is known for its slate, volcanic, and limestone soils, which impart distinct mineral qualities to the Riesling grapes. These different soil types contribute to the complexity and individuality of German Riesling wines. Additionally, the steep slopes of many German vineyards allow for optimal sun exposure, further enhancing the grape's ripening process.

Centuries of winemaking tradition: Germany has a long and rich winemaking history, dating back to Roman times. Over the centuries, German winemakers have honed their skills and perfected their techniques, passing down their knowledge from generation to generation. This wealth of experience and expertise is reflected in the meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail that goes into producing German Riesling. The dedication and passion of German winemakers can be tasted in every bottle.

Balance and versatility: German Riesling is known for its impeccable balance between sweetness and acidity. While Germany produces a range of Riesling styles, from bone dry to lusciously sweet, the wines always maintain a harmonious interplay between fruit, acidity, and sweetness. This balance makes German Riesling incredibly versatile and food-friendly, pairing well with a wide variety of cuisines and dishes.

Ageability: German Riesling has a remarkable ability to age gracefully. The high acidity and natural sugar content in the wine act as preservatives, allowing the wines to develop complexity and depth over time. This aging potential gives wine enthusiasts the opportunity to appreciate the evolution of German Riesling and experience the different nuances that emerge with age.

Personal experience: As a sommelier and brewer, I have had the privilege of tasting and exploring a wide range of German Riesling wines. One particular experience that stands out is a visit to the Mosel wine region in Germany. The steep vineyards, overlooking the winding Mosel River, create a picturesque backdrop for the production of Riesling. The combination of the region's unique terroir and the skill of the winemakers resulted in some truly exceptional wines. The balance of sweetness and acidity, coupled with the vibrant fruit flavors and subtle mineral notes, made these Rieslings a true delight to taste. It was evident that the German winemakers' commitment to quality and their respect for the land played a significant role in the excellence of their wines.

German Riesling is considered exceptional due to the combination of a cool climate, diverse terroir, centuries of winemaking tradition, balance and versatility, and its ageability. These factors, along with the passion and expertise of German winemakers, contribute to the undeniable greatness of German Riesling wines.