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As in many Old World countries, the rise of viticulture in Germany came about as a result of the Roman Empire, who saw the potential for vine cultivation in the vast flatlands around the base of the Rhine valley. Indeed, for over a thousand years, Germany's wine production levels were enormous, with much of the south of the country being used more or less exclusively for growing grapes. Over time, this diminished to make way for expanding cities and other types of industries, but Southern Germany remains very much an important wine region within Europe, with many beautifully balanced and flavorful German wines being prized by locals and international wine lovers alike. The hills around Baden-Baden and Mannheim are especially noteworthy, as these produce the high end of the characteristic semi-sweet white wines which couple so perfectly with German cheeses and pickled vegetables. However, all of Germany's wine producing regions have something special and unique to offer, and are a joy to explore and experience.
Gewurztraminer is renowned for being a particularly tricky grape varietal to grow and cultivate, but is one which plenty of wineries persevere with due to its unique properties and excellent flavors The vines themselves are highly robust, and can even be unruly when in the correct type of soil, but they cannot grow well in terroirs which contain chalk or other similar components. They are also extremely susceptible to a wide range of diseases and rot, and due to their early budding and fruiting, they cannot survive frost. However, despite these problems, in cooler climates and on the right terroir, the Gewurztraminer grape varietal produces wonderful results quite unlike any other vine. The pink grapes are packed full of elegant and sweet flavors, their relatively high sugar content offering a light sweetness alongside floral notes, perfumed and aromatic aromas, and a distinctive taste of lychees.
The beautiful German wine region of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer (nowadays commonly referred to simply as ‘Mosel’) is surely the country’s star attraction when it comes to viticulture. Dramatic, historic and sensational, the wines which come out of this special region are renowned for their ability to beautifully express their unique terroir, as well as the fine, traditional methods which go into their production. One of the main features of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is the extremely steep slopes on which the vines are grown. They are perilous to negotiate, extremely difficult to maintain, but there’s no doubt in the local vintner’s minds that the results are absolutely worth the effort. The superb drainage these vineyards benefit from, along with the cool climate they receive, help to produce wines of remarkable character and balance which have an enormous global fanbase.
The most popular wine produced in Mosel-Saar-Ruwer is surely Riesling, the noble germanic grape which produces such fascinating, mineral characteristics in the bottle, and which can be drunk young or aged to create stunning results. Over fifty percent of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer’s fine vineyards are planted with Riesling, so popular are the wines made from this fruit. However, other white varietals such as Weissburgunder do very well here too, and red grape varietals like Pinot Noir also produce impressive wines.