The Basic Styles of German Wines

Germany, where Riesling originated, today produces nearly half of the world's Rieslings and ones that are considered the best the world has to offer. German Rieslings have bright acidity and equally big sweet fruit flavors of green apple, citrus and peach.

As discussed last time, Riesling can be a bit confusing, especially German Riesling. So, to start to understand German Riesling, there are a few things to know about German wines in general.

The first thing you need to know about German wines are the basic styles:

  1. Trocken is the German word for dry. On a wine label, it indicates a wine that is dry (little to no residual sugar).  If all you are looking for is a dry Riesling, Trocken is the one word to know.
  2. Halbtrocken translates as 'half-dry.' These wines are off-dry meaning they will have higher residual sugar and be a bit sweet.
  3. Lieblich or restsüß is a semi-sweet style
  4. Süß or Edelsüß is a flat-out sweet style of wine

The next thing to know is that there are two major categories of German wine: table wine and "quality" wine.

Table wine includes the designations tafelwein and landwein. These are inexpensive, light wines. They aren't very exciting, are not produced in large quantities, and account for less than 5% of Germany's production.

So, next time we'll move on to the good stuff - quality wine. Until then, Prost!