Friday, January 12, 2007

Geographical Classification in Germany

As well is the quality wine classification German wines are split in a similar way to the wines of Burgundy. At the smallest level is the Einzellage - an individual vineyard and the most important classification for quality German wines, equivalent of a premier or grand cru in Burgundy.
Then comes the Grosslage, a group of adjoining vineyards - this is a somewhat unnecessary classification which makes life difficult for consumers, the names of grosslagen are often particularly misleading having taken a name from a nearby village that has given it's name to an Einzellage. So Bernkasteler and Piesporter appear on the labels of both some of the finest wines in Germany, but also on some of the label of bland, sugary wines made from grapes grown in inferior vineyards at high yields.
A Gemeind is a commune, the equivalent of a village wine, such as Volnay in Burgundy, the name of a commune can either appear alone on a label - in which case the wine comes from vineyards immediately surrounding the village, however it is often attached to the name of either a grosslage or an einzellage.
A Bereich is a district within a Quality region consisting of several communes, this is similar to Cote de Beaune in that a village can give it's name to an einzellage or grosslage wine, it can also give it's name to a Bereich.
Finally an Anbaugebiet is a designated quality region, of which there are 13 - we will look at the different regions in more detail next time!

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