If you are lucky enough to be planning a trip to Germany and you are interested in wine, then I have a must read (and must take) book for you. It is German Wine Guide, by Armin Diel and Joel Payne. This book is also a must for those of you that love German wines or want to learn more about them. I have never seen such detail in a wine guide.
There are a few things that stand out to me about this book:
· They candidly address German wine stereotypes, such as Riesling being cheap and sweet. Ironically, German Rieslings from the Mosel and Rhiengau region were some of the most expensive wines in the world at the end of the 19th century.
· The book ranks both the producers and their wines. They are upfront in that a very good wine could get a rating in the 80-89 range but even those ranked in the 70’s are good for daily consumption. So don’t let a lower rating sway you. There is also a page for bargain hunters as well.
German Wine Guide includes a guide on reading the German wine label. Some of the information such as producer, official control number, place of production, volume, wine region and alcohol strength are mandatory on the label. However, there is usually additional information on the label making it confusing to decipher what you are reading.
There are maps showing each wine region, a section describing German wine terminology and information regarding the grapes. Many of us think of white wines when we think of German wine, but they have started to move towards red grapes as well. Spätburgunder, which is Pinot Noir, is the most widely grown red grape in Germany. The book also offers a vintage chart and a list of the best wines dating back to 1989 (accounting for the aging process).
The vast majority of the book is dedicated to the wine producers. German Wine Guide separates the producers by region and then red and white wines. Each producer gets its own classification of the estate and then a classification of the wine. Additional details include the owners, sales, hours of operation should you be able to visit the estate, history, and restaurant information for those that have them. Then it lists each wine and their rating. Prices are listed in German marks so some calculations will need to be done if you plan to buy.
I plan to use this book when I am looking for my next German wine purchase. However, if I ever get the chance to go to Germany, German Wine Guide will be the first thing I pack.
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