Learning more about Palatinate wines
German Wine Classification System
The German wine quality system includes specific categories, established by a law passed in 1971 and amended in 1994, according to which wine classification depends on must weight (Oechsle Scale), sugar content and regional designation of origin.
Tafelwein - Table Wines
Landwein - Regional Wines
Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA) - Quality Wines
Wines from one of the 13 winegrowing regions, which must meet specific quality standards.
Prädikatswein o Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) - Quality Wines with Special Attributes
They must meet the highest quality standard. Produced from allowed grape varieties in specific areas of the 13 winegrowing regions, they are divided into six subcategories:
Kabinett: In addition to meeting all the quality standards of a QbA wine, a Kabinett wine must be made from grapes containing at least 70 to 80 degrees Oechlse according to the production area and grape variety. It is the lightest wine in the Prädikatswein range and comes in both the dry and medium-dry version.
Spätlese (Late Harvest): The grapes are picked later in the season as compared to QbA and Kabinett and must be fully ripe at time of harvest, with 80 to 90 degrees Oechsle. These are ripe and elegant wines, with high residual sugar value, and can be either dry or sweet.
Auslese (Select Harvest): Noble wines made from fully ripe grapes, sometimes with a noble rot character, and selected directly on the vine at time of harvest. Unripe or damaged grapes are rejected. Either dry or sweet wines with 90 to 110 degrees Oechsle.
Beerenauslese (Select Berry Harvest): Wines made from perfectly healthy, overripe and often noble rot-affected grape berries, which are picked and selected by hand from bunches on the vine. Very sweet wines containing 125 to 150 degrees Oechsle. The minimum alcohol content is 5.5%.
Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) (Select Dry Berry Harvest): The top-of-the-range wines, the rarest and most expensive ones, featuring great concentration, complexity and ageing potential, produced only in the best vintages. Made exclusively from grape berries dried on the vine or noble-rot affected, harvested and selected by hand. Oechsle degrees: 150/154. Minimum alcohol content: 5,5%.
Eiswein (Ice Wine): Harvest time is between November and December, when temperatures fall below zero and the grapes have frozen on the vine, allowing the must to concentrate naturally and the frozen water to separate during pressing. A sweet wine containing 110 to 128 degrees Oechsle and 5,5% minimum alcohol.
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It is the most widely grown grape variety in the Pfalz region. It gives an aristocratic wine, of extraordinary elegance and ageing potential, yellow to pale green colored, with a complex bouquet offering notes of green apple, peach, apricot and tropical fruit, which evolve into spicy and honey aromas with ageing. Rich and round on the palate with a lovely acidity and aromatic richness, without excessive alcohol nor buttery notes. In short, a great wine!
A very old and productive variety, a cross between Traminer and the white Osterreichisch Weiß. It is highly frost-resistant and gives straw-yellow colored wines with a pale green tinge. Extraordinarily fragrant and rich in floral aromas, well-balanced on the palate with lovely acidity, but not age-worthy.
The Pfalz provides the ideal soil and climate to grow Gewurztraminer grapes. The ripe berries verging on pink give intensely yellow, almost golden colored wines, which take on amber nuances with ageing. A rich bouquet of fruity, floral and spicy aromas. Structure and alcohol are backed by a well-balanced acidity.
Müller-Thurgau / Rivaner
A wine created by Hermann Müller in 1882 by crossing Riesling and Chasselas grapes. Pale straw-yellow colored with a light green tinge, offering elegant, intense and fruity aromas, in addition to a deep vegetal note. Elegant and fresh on the palate, with floral notes coming back, good acidity and a delicate aroma of nutmeg.
Weissburgunder / Pinot Blanc
Thought to be a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir, it gives delicately fragrant and flavoured wines, intensely dry on the palate, with good structure and vigorous acidity. Well-suited for ageing in oak barrels or barriques, where it takes on golden nuances and expresses its characteristics to the fullest.
Grauburgunder / Pinot Gris
A cross between the Trollinger and Riesling varieties, Kerner grapes give a bright, inviting and elegant wine, offering aromas of citrus fruit and aromatic herbs. Savoury and intriguing on the palate, with a delicate nutmeg flavor, good structure backed by pleasant freshness and thickness on the palate.