Two areas in Germany produce, between them, a great deal of the best white wine in the world. Both are named after rivers, along whose banks the vines are cultivated: the Moselle and the Rhine.
Rhine wine is identifiable, at the most basic level, by its distinctive, slender brown bottle. It is made primarily from two grapes, RIESLING and SYLVANER, is always white and can vary surprisingly in taste and strength.
For viticulture purposes, the Rhine is divided into three major areas: the Rheingau, the Rheinhesscn and the Rheinpfa
1 ½ or Palatinate. Of the three, the Rheingau, an area on the east bank of the river stretching from Mainz to Riides- hcim, is generally considered to produce the finest of the Rhine wines. The Riesling grape is used almost exclusively here and the resulting wine, at its best, is rich and distinctive yet very refreshing to drink. It is also wine which benefits from laying down. As is the case with most German wines, the majority are named after their village of origin (although there are some distinguished exceptions to this rule) and villages such as Rudcsheim, Erbach, Hattcnhcim, Geiscnheim, Eltvillc and Hochheim produce uniformly excellent wines. Just behind the village of Geisen-heim lies the vineyard of Schloss Johan-nisberg, owned by descendants of Metternich and produces one of the best and most delicate of wines. The village of Hochheim has its own claim to fame. It produced a wine which met the particular approval of Queen Victoria and as a result great quantities of it were exported to Great Britain. Since the British couldn’t pronounce Hochheimer with any facility, the name was very quickly corrupted into manageable proportions. And, in Britain, all Rhine wine has been known ever since as HOCK !
The Rheinhcssen is an area similar to the Rheingau, on the west bank of the river. The Sylvaner grape is most commonly planted here and, as a result, the wines produced tend to be less distinctive and lower alcoholically than those of the Rheingau. The Rheinhcssen produces a great deal of the German equivalent of vin ordinaire, and very good most of it is too. The German blended wine LIEBFRAU-MILCII is made here. Although only a few vineyards are planted with Riesling grapes, significantly they produce, on the whole, the best wine of the area; the This refreshing, inviting Rhine Wine Clip has surely been invented with warm, lazy summer afternoons in mind. Serve it really cold. names to look for are, again, village names, such as Nicrstein, Nackcnheim and Oppenheim.
The third area, the Rheinpfa
1 1/2, or Palatinate in English, is situated at the southern end of the Rhine and is very different climatically from the other two – strictly speaking, the grapes are not even grown along the banks of the Rhine but on the slopes of the Haardt
Moun-tains a few miles to the west. The wine produced is sturdier and much fuller than most other German wines and is usually drunk young. The village names to look for here are Wachenheim, Bad Durkheim and Forst, the village of origin of perhaps the single most famous wine of the region, Jesuitcngarten.
Rhine wine is generally stronger and more aromatic than MOSELLE WINE and can therefore be served with dark meats as well as the dishes usually recommended for white wines. And it is to be particularly recommended for summer picnics of strong cheese, rye or pumpernickel bread and sausages!