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Category Archives: Germany

Baden, Germany

In the south-western corner of Germany lies a distinctive wine region, encompassing some 16,000 hectares of vineyards – making it the third largest wine region in the country – stretching over 200km north to south, east of the Rhine River.

Vineyards around the Kaiserstuhl, Baden, Germany

Vineyards around the Kaiserstuhl, Baden, Germany

The average vintage in Baden produces around a million hectolitres of wine.

At the time of writing this page, Baden is the only wine grape region included in the EU’s Zone B – which exposes higher minimum requirements for Quality Wine and Quality Wines of Distinction.

Other wine regions included in this zone include the likes of Alsace, Champagne and the Loire Valley – which places Baden in serious company!

Surprising then, that little is actually known about Baden outside its own borders, despite the fact that it is as large as Alsace – just over the river.

Baden covers over 400km, including 9 districts:

Baden vineyards

Baden vineyards

Badische Bergstrasse, Tauberfranken, Kraichgau, Ortenau, Breisgau, Kaiserstuhl, Tniberg, Markgräflerland, and Bodensee.

Around 55% of wine grapes grown here are of Pinot varieties; 36% Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), 10% Pinot Gris (Grauburgunder) and the rest Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder). This makes Baden the largest producer of Pinot varieties in the whole of Germany.

The remaining 45% odd is made up of Riesling, Müller-Thurgau and the lesser-known Chasselas (Gutedel).

Interestingly, although we don’t hear a lot about its use, Chasselas has a number of pseudonyms around the world: Abelione, Abelone, Albilloidea, Alsacia Blanca, Amber Chasselas, Amber Muscadine, Bar sur Aube, Bela Glera, Bela Zlahtnina, Berezka Prostaya, Berioska Casla, Beyaz Gutedel, Biela Plemenika Praskava, Biela Plemincka Chrapka, Biela Plemincka Pruskawa, Blanchette, Blanquette, Bon Blanc, Bordo, Bournet, Bournot, Charapka, Chasselas, Chasselas Angevin, Chasselas Bianco, Chasselas Blanc Royal, Chasselas Blanchette, Chasselas Crognant, Chasselas Croquant, Chasselas de Bar-sur-Aube, Chasselas de Bordeaux, Chasselas de Florence, Chasselas de Fontainebleau, Chasselas de Jalabert, Chasselas de la Contrie, Chasselas de la Naby, Chasselas de Moissac, Chasselas de Montauban, Chasselas de Mornain, Chasselas de Pondichéry, Chasselas de Pontchartrain, Chasselas de Pouilly, Chasselas de Quercy, Chasselas de Rappelo, Chasselas de Tenerife, Chasselas de Teneriffe, Chasselas de Thomeri, Chasselas de Toulaud, Chasselas de Vaud, Chasselas di Fountanbleau, Chasselas di Thomery, Chasselas Dorada, Chasselas Dorato, Chasselas Dore, Chasselas Dore Hatif, Chasselas Dore Salomon, Chasselas du Doubs, Chasselas du Portugal, Chasselas du Roi, Chasselas du Serail, Chasselas du Thor, Chasselas Dugommier, Chasselas Dur, Chasselas Fendant, Chasselas Hatif de Tenerife, Chasselas Haute Selection, Chasselas Jalabert, Chasselas Jaune Cire, Chasselas Piros, Chasselas Plant Droit, Chasselas Queen Victoria, Chasselas Reine Victoria, Chasselas Salsa, Chasselas Tokay Angevine, Chasselas Vert de la Cote, Chasselas White, Chasselat, Chrupka, Chrupka Biela, Chrupka Bila, Common Muscadine, Danka Belaya, Dinka Belaya, Dinka Blanche, Dobrorozne, Doppelte Spanische, Dorin, Doucet, Eau Douce Blanche, Edelschoen, Edelwein, Edelweiss, Edelxeiss, Elsaesser, Elsasser Weiss, Fabian, Fabiantraube, Fábiánszőlő, Fehér Chasselas, Fehér Fábiánszőlő, Fehér gyöngyszőlő, Fehér ropogós, Fendant, Fendant Blanc, Fendant Roux, Fendant Vert, Florenci Jouana, Fondan Belyi, Franceset, Franceseta, Frauentraube, Gamet, Gelber Gutedel, Gemeiner Gutedel, Gentil Blanc, Gentil Vert, Golden Bordeaux, Golden Chasselas, Grossblaettrige Spanische, Grosse Spanische , Grosser Spaniger, Gruener Gutedel, Gutedel, Gutedel Weiss, Gutedel Weisser, Gyöngyszőlő, Junker, Koenigs Gutedel, Kracher, Krachgutedel, Krachmost, Lardot, Lourdot, Maisa, Marzemina Bianca, Marzemina Niduca, Morlenche, Mornan Blanc, Mornen, Mornen Blanc, Most, Most Rebe, Moster, Pariser Gutedel, Perlan, Pinzutella, Plamenka Belyi, Plant de Toulard, Plant de Toulaud, Plemenika Praskava, Plemenka, Plemenka Bela, Plemenka Rana, Pleminka Biela, Praskava, Pruscava Biela, Queen Victoria, Queen Victoria White, Raisin D’officier, Ranka, Rebe Herrn Fuchses, Reben Herm Fuchs, Reben Herrn, Rheinrebe, Rosmarinentraube, Rosmarintraube, Royal Muscadine, Sasla, Sasla Bela, Schoenedel, Shasla Belaya, Shasla Dore, Shasla Lechebnaya, Shasla Viktoria, Silberling, Silberweiss, Silberweissling, Silberwissling, Strapak, Suessling, Suesstraube, Sweetwater, Sweetwater White, Temprano, Temprano Blanco, Terravin, Tribi Vognoble, Tribiano Tedesco, Ugne, Uslechtile Bile, Valais Blanc, Viala, Viviser, Waelsche, Waelscher, Weisser Gutedel, Weisser Krachgutedel, White Chasselas, White Muscadine, White Sweetwater, White Van der Laan, Zlahtina, Zlahtnina, Zlahtnina Bijela, Zlatina, and Zupljanka! [Source: Wikipedia]

…but anyway, back to Baden …

Kaiserstuhl

Kaiserstuhl vineyards

Kaiserstuhl vineyards

By far the largest number of wines, and largest vine area in Baden is the Kaiserstuhl [King’s Seat].

This hilly outcrop in an otherwise fairly flat area is actually the core of an ancient volcano. Its soils are thus volcanic, and give rise to a mineral quality to the wines.

However there are areas of loess – a fine, light soil that erodes very easily – which retain water more readily and have given life to some fuller-bodied wines during hot years.

This area – the warmest wine grape-growing region in Germany – is able to ripen even red wine grapes to sufficient levels to produce excellent wines.

Kaiserstuhl vineyards, Baden, Germany

Kaiserstuhl vineyards, Baden, Germany

The area speciality would have to be the Spätburgunder Weissherbst. Made from the Pinot Noir grape, the mineral qualities of the soil impart a spritzy character to this light-bodied red.

Unfortunately the best wine of this region stays in the region. – and you really can’t leave without trying several bottles!

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A Tale of Two Identities – Alsace, France

Alsatian wines have often mistakenly been referred to as German, due to the tumultuous history of ownership of this track of land on the French border.

Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Riquewihr, Alsace, France

In the late 17th century, it became French territory, however during the 1871 Franco-Prussian war, it became part of Germany.

The end of WWI (1918) saw Alsace returned to France, only to be annexed once more to Germany in 1940.

It’s worth reflecting at this point how this would have affected the mood of the Alsatians. During WWII, they were drafted as German soldiers and expected to fight against their fellow frenchmen, and the very distributors who peddled their wines around France for them!

Fortunately, after the defeat of Germany in 1945, France once again opened its arms and welcomed the Alsatians back as their own. It has remained so to this day.

Produces World’s Best Rieslings …

Despite the association with Germany, and the similarities in grape varieties used (mainly Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer), Alsatian wines are drier and fuller-bodied, with less residual sugar.

Rieslings and Gewürztraminer from Alsace in particular are world reknowned for excellence.

 Appellations History

Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Alsace finally became part of the Apellation Contrôlée in 1962, and since 1972 only the Alsace flûte style bottle is permitted for these wines.

Contrary to other appellations, Alsace wineries are allowed to include the grape varietal on the labels of their wine – but only if it is made from 100% of the varietal.

The Alsace apellation consists of two départements: Haut-Rhin (considered the best) and Bas-Rhin.

Vineyards near Riquewihr, Alsace, France

Vineyards near Riquewihr, Alsace, France

In 1975, Alsace became eligible for the classification of Grand Cru.

For a vineyard to attain this status, it must make wines from one of four noble varietals:

Riesling,

Gewürztraminer

Pinot Gris

Muscat.

Yields are maximised at 65hl/ha and minimum natural alcohol must reach 10% or 12% depending on grape. Both grape and vintage must be shown on the label.

Special Thanks!!

I must extend a big THANK YOU, to my friend Phillipe Durst, Export Manager of the wine house Dopff au Moulin, for providing the pictures on this page.

Head Office, Dopff au Moulin, Alsace, France

Head Office, Dopff au Moulin, Alsace, France

 

Visiting Cellar Door: Baden

Kaiser StuhlIn the south-western corner of Germany lies a distinctive wine region, encompassing some 16,000 hectares of vineyards – making it the third largest wine region in the country.

Such a large area, and so many wines – how do you get to try more than a few?

The Badischer Winzerkeller in Breisach can help out here. This is actually the largest winery in Europe, built in 1952 to bring efficiency in production for the small wine grape-growers of the region.

This consortium of growers boasts 38 members growing exclusively for the Badische Winzerkeller, and a further 35 members who bring part of their vintage to them.

Altogether, they bring around 4.5 million kg of grapes, which are grouped by varietal and pressed to make the Baden wines.

Spätburgunder accounts for 44% of the harvest, with Müller-Thurgau the second largest at 27%, and a handful of smaller quantity wine grapes.

The Winzerkeller also does tours – including a slide-show on the Baden wine-growing regions, followed by a guided tour of the winery, bottling plant, warehouse and cask-cellar.

The bad news is that the brochures handed to you in Freiburg‘s tourist office are in english, but the tours are not.

Also, although the brochure says daily tours, I was told to come back the next day when I turned up. You get the impression they’re really not interested in single visitors, and thus they’ll tell you to come back on a day when they have a group booked in, so they can tack you on.

The good news is that the Winzerkeller readily brings out the tasting bottles for you to enjoy and choose from. In fact the range in the shop is extremely well priced!

You can also get piccolo’s (small bottles) of many wines for less than a couple of euro … so there’s really no excuse to leave empty-handed!

Getting to the Winzerkeller is simple. Jump on the Breisach S-bahn at Freiburg Hauptbahnhof for the short trip to Breisgau. When you get off at the station, turn right and just keep walking along the same road. You’ll actually see the Winzerkeller from the train just before you arrive in Breisgau, so you can get your bearings then.

When you get to the Winzerkeller, turn and look towards the Kaiserstuhl, and you’ll get a view of the most dramatic terraces – which are part of Ihringen. This is where the best reds come from in the region.

Cost of return ticket is about €10-12 – which actually entitles you to travel on all buses, trains and trams in Frieburg and surrounds for 24 hours.

 
 

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