With a wine history stretching back to when the Romans first planted vines along the banks of the Mosel, Germany has a rich winemaking tradition to call on. The early Christian church, led by the monasteries, continued to develop the quality of the wines of the Mosel and its tributaries. Today Germany has 13 qualitätswein quality wine regions, with Mosel being the third biggest, but undoubtedly a favourite.
The latter part of the 20th century saw a decline in popularity but over the last 20 years German wines have improved dramatically. Yields are now constrained by law to prevent overplanting, and wine producers look to promote quality through good practice. As result Germany is once again producing fine wine which deserves greater attention and recognition. The grape which it has always excelled in growing, Riesling, is once again at the forefront of the fight to win back discerning wine drinkers.
First mentioned in the early 15th century, when it was cultivated in the Rheingau - an area of wine production running along the Rhine from Hochheim to Lorch, and whose wines once rivaled first growth Bordeaux in their ability to command high prices - Riesling is again the star in the German ferment. It's an excellent choice to serve alongside fish, or with spicier dishes.
While in the region of 60 per cent of wine produced in Germany is white, German red wine is now garnering a great deal of interest, especially Pinot Noir, known in Germany as Spätburgunder. Once lighter and sweeter than its French counterpart, there has been a very successful shift towards a drier, more robust style, thanks to lower yields and improved varietal awareness.