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Rheingau Wine Region

The Most Distinguished Wine Region

Rheingau, which is located in the state of Hesse, is one of the thirteen wine regions of Germany for producing quality wines.

Being the country’s most central wine region, this is found to be the home to some of the oldest wine growing families in the world.

Although Rheingau is one of the smallest wine regions, this is continuing to be the key wine region of the country because of the best-quality wines produced here.

A twenty-minute drive to the west of Frankfurt would take to this region, which constitutes a part of the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis administrative district.

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So, what makes Rheingau the most distinguished wine region of Germany? Let’s see here…

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Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…

Overview of Viticulture in Rheingau

The modern winemaking history in this region can be dated back to the medieval times and was expanded by the monks who brought in Pinot Noir and Riesling grape varieties.

Located on the Rhine River, the Rheingau is observed to be a long hillside with its vineyards facing south slope between the Taunus Hills and the Rhine River.

The latitude of the Rheingau, which is 50° N, has put this region rightly at the northernmost part of the European Continent’s wine belt.

With almost 3,125 hectares of vineyards, this region is making up to 3% of the total vineyard area of the country. In total, the region is found to have ten collective vineyard sites with more than 100 individual sites.

We could say that the global reputation of the white wines of the country has its roots in the Rheingau as this is found to have some of the world’s finest white wine grapes.

As such, white wine grapes are forming a major part of the vine cultivation in the Rheingau with Riesling as the major variety.

A Look at the Climate and Soil of Rheingau

This region is found to be experiencing cooler continental climates with an annual median temperature of 10 degrees Celsius.

The summers are found to be warmer here. The region receives 1643 hours of sunshine each year and just 536 millimeters of annual rainfall.

It has been found that the vineyards of Rheingau are being protected from the cold winds by the forests of the Taunus Mountains.

In addition, the region is benefitted by the heat-reflecting surface of the Rhine. Overall, we could say that the combined factors of reflected light, sunny south-facing slopes and the moderated temperatures are the factors responsible for making Rheingau as the most distinguished wine region in the country.

The soil types, as well as the topography of the Rheingau, are found to be varying from one end to the other. We can find calcareous soils in the eastern part where there are lower rolling hills whereas, in the western part, we can find steeper slopes with slate contents.

The other types of soils that are found in this region are:

  • Sand
  • Gravel
  • Clay
  • Loess
  • Quartzite

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Wine Grapes and Wines of Rheingau

As mentioned earlier, Riesling is found to be the major grape variety of Rheingau.

This region’s Rieslings are more popular for its elegant wines that are coming with refined, fruity aromas with pronounced acidity levels. Thus, these wines are having extremely distinct flavors.

Followed by Riesling, Pinot Noir is the second major variety of the Rheingau, which is called as Spätburgunder by Germans. These grapes are found to have a velvety structure and wild berry flavors.

The other major varieties of Rheingau are:

  • Müller-Thurgau
  • Ehrenfelser
  • Kerner
  • Weissburgunder
  • Grauer Burgunder
  • Dunkelfelder
  • Chardonnay
  • Dornfelder
  • Ehrenfelser

Apart from these major varieties, few of the region’s wine producers have introduced some non-traditional varieties like Viognier and Orléans in the recent times.

Author

Tharani Rajamanickam

Tharani Rajamanickam

Winewriter

I am Tharani, I have Bachelors degree in Biotechnology. I am passionate about the wine industry and continue to explore, learn and share and I bring in a wealth of knowledge and expertise to help you keep updated with best wines in the world. Stay tuned..

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