Germany, Bordeaux

Germany is fully capable of producing some of the world's great white wines. One hundred years ago the demand for and thus prices commanded for the wines from the finest vineyards in Piesport, Morcobrunn and Rudesheim rivalled the best wines from Bordeaux. Largely due to the lack of government regulation into the quality of wine output, Germany over the past century became known for producing sweet sugar-water wines at cheap costs, flooding the world market. This has had a negative effect on the perception of Germany wines worldwide, but rest assured we only choose to stock Germany wines of high quality.

The Riesling grape with all its versatility is the main grape variety, and whilst many countries make Riesling, none can match the mouth-watering freshness and supreme delicacy achieved in a Mosel Kabinett from a top producer. Germany dry Rieslings as a rule tend to to be very graceful and elegant as compared to Rieslings from other countries, with an emphasis on finesse, not power. Standout producers such as Robert Weil make the headlines, but Donnhoff, JL Wolf, A Christmann and Dr Loosen are too worth seeking out.

Another most interesting contribution from Germany was Eiswine (ice wine), which until the 1970s was a freak of nature, though is now carefully managed. To produce Eiswine, parcels of vines are left out exposed to the frost, and although the production cost is astronomical they remain very popular. Robust Pinot Blancs and Pinot Gris are also produced in the whites and Pinot Noir, referred to as Spätburgunder is also grown.

The climate in Germany is, for the most part, cool, the exception being in the Pfalz and in Baden. As a result, vineyards are carefully selected with good sunlight exposure a must. For example along the banks of the Mosel River, vines are only planted one side, as there isn't enough sunlight exposure to ripen grapes on the north-facing side.

Key regions include Mosel and Nahe where extraordinary Rieslings are produced.
Bordeaux produces some of the most highly sought after and revered wines in the world. Located close to the coast, in the south-west of France the town and is divided by the Gironde River. Wines to the west of the river are referred to as left bank, and are Cabernet dominant. To the East of the river, on the right bank Merlot is the dominant grape variety. Throughout the 57 appellations, over 10,000 wine-making châteaux grow the red grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. These are commonly blended and collectively referred to as clarets. Smaller amounts of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is also grown in Bordeaux.

In 1855, due to the high export demands of Bordeaux wines, Emporer Napoleon III requested an official Bordeaux classification system, based on market costs of the wines at the time. The Chateaux were classified into five ‘growths’ from first growth to fifth growth and cru Bourgois. Also in 1855 The Sauternes and Barsac classification covered the sweeter wines, with Chateau d’Yquem the only Superior First Growth, followed by Premiers Crus and Deux Deuxièmes Crus.
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