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Rheinhessen

Liebfraumilch has coloured the reputation of German wines for the last 20 years and the Rheinhessen region is largely responsible for it.  This may make it a villain in the eyes of many, but it retains a large export market to this very day. 

Liebfraumilch has coloured the reputation of German wines for the last 20 years and the Rheinhessen region is largely responsible for it.  This may make it a villain in the eyes of many, but it retains a large export market to this very day. 

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Germans rarely touch it, and the quality producers of the Rheinhessen have suffered enormously owing to its ubiquitous and questionable appeal.  This is unfortunate for them, though for the consumer it does ensure that the good wines of Nierstein, Nackenheim and Ingelheim along the Rheinterrasse are priced well below their merits.

Styles of Wine

In the mid-20th century the Rheinhessen began to exploit the weaknesses of the German classification system.  By planting and harvesting high-yielding, reliable vines that were lower-quality crosses of more celebrated varieties, the must weights necessary to satisfy the law were achieved.  In other words, the sweetness that once had been an indicator of quality had now become more easily and cheaply achievable.  The region has never managed to shake off this reputation, and Liebfraumilch was certainly not the wine to do it.  This is sad, because a gamut of styles are produced to an admirable standard.

Key Vines

Portugieser, Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Dornfelder are red vines that are present in the Rheinhessen, but it is the white wines that are predominant.  A remarkable range of grape varieties is planted: Müller-Thurgau, Kerner, Scheurebe, Bacchus and Faberrebe are all present, but Riesling and Silvaner are widely considered to produce the best results.

Climate and Conditions

With an emphasis on bulk rather than quality production, the climate and conditions of this region are not so critical as elsewhere this far north in Germany.  The exception to this is the Rheinterrasse, a strip along the curve of the Rhine, where the warmth of the river allows for ripening of the quality grape varieties in much the same way as in the Rheingau region.  The harvest is usually mechanised, which causes much debate about the uglification of the countryside, but it does ensure that costs are controlled.

 

 

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  1. Liebfraumilch, Dr Zenzen, 2013

    Liebfraumilch, Dr Zenzen, Rhine 75cl

    Containing a proportion of Riesling, which adds delicacy and freshness to this medium-dry wine.

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    £6.12
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    £6.74
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    £5.10
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    £5.62
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  2. Niersteiner Johannes Egbert

    Niersteiner Johannes Egberts, Rhine, 2016 75cl

    Vibrant and fresh. Ripe, with full floral aromas and a dash of sweetness.

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    £6.90
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    £7.50
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    £5.75
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    £6.25
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  3. Rheinhessen Spatlese, Johannes Egbert, 2012

    Rheinhessen Spatlese, Johannes Egbert, 2014 75cl

    This is a delightfully light and airy white from one of the worlds oldest wine regions. Pale straw in colour this wine has a wonderfully apply character with a touch off honey. A well made medium dry white.

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    £6.67
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    £7.25
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    £5.56
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    £6.04
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  4. Oppenheimer Herrenberg Riesling Auslese

    Oppenheimer Herrenberg Riesling Auslese, Louis Guntrum, Rhine, 2014 75cl

    Elegant and classical Riesling scent, paired with aromas and tropical fruits. Green apples and citrus, pineapple and melon. Excellent balance of sweetness and acidity

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    £15.73
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    £17.54
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    £13.11
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    £14.62
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  5. Louis Guntrum Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), Rhine

    Louis Guntrum Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), Rhine, 2014 75cl

    Aromas of cherry and soft spice fill a nose that hints at the complexity to come on the palate. The body is light but is deified by the depth of flavour on the palate and the finish. A plethora of summer fruit with soft but influential spice make this a superb red that is great on its own or with food.

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    £11.94
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    £9.95
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    £11.45
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  6. Silvaner Eiswein Louis Guntrum, Germany, 2012

    Silvaner Eiswein Louis Guntrum, Germany, 2012 (Half Bottle) 37.5cl

    Golden colour with highly concentrated sweetness, this is very richly flavoured.

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    £28.50
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    £31.25
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    £23.75
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    £26.04
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