WINE SCHOOL 20 - 26 March 2017

REGION: Germany > Rheinhessen

Rheinhessen is an extensively planted wine region producing large quantities of bulk, bland wines as well as many very fine wines. Sites close to the Rhine, which forms the northern and eastern border to the region, are most highly prized, benefiting from warmer temperatures and better vineyard aspects.

Key red grapes: Dornfelder, Spatburgunder
Key white grapes: Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Silvaner


GRAPE: Dornfelder

Developed in the mid twentieth century, Dornfelder has achieved considerable success in its native Germany where it is now second only to Spatburgunder in red grape plantings. Its main attributes are wines with a deep red colour, soft tannins, moderate acidity and an attractive bouquet. Many Dornfelder wines have modest ambitions but attentive producers have demonstrated that a little oak and bottle age can produce wines of complexity and length. Good examples carve out a territory somewhere between Beaujolais and Pinot Noir - cherries and red berry fruits are evident but a floral or subtle green edge (moss or pine needles?) provides interest and depth. Generally the wines are less tart than many basic Beaujolais wines and can be enjoyed on their own without food.

Unlike Pinot Noir, Dornfelder vines are robust and vigourous, producing good crops in higher latitude, cooler climates. It is finding favour in many English vineyards where it is often used to make rosé and sparkling wines.

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Next week in WINE SCHOOL: Veneto (Italy) & Glera

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