Affentaler Riesling grapes
When it comes to German winemaking, most people remember the likes of Sylvaners, Muller-Thurgau and of course, the signature German grape of Germany – the Riesling varieties.
Germany has been producing the Rieslings since centuries and has always remained the same popular grape variety as it has always been since time immemorial.
Monks, common folk, artists, nearly everyone from the German society has appreciated the value of a Riesling grape.
In Baden and especially the Pfalz area, several grape varieties are grown and harvested for winemakers here to make good quality German varietals.
The north European nation has not ben gifted much with a natural climate suitable for vine cultivation, like most of France and Italy possess, but the regions of southern Germany and some areas adjoining the Rhine valley have well been identified by several winemakers.
Hundreds of grape varieties, some of them being notable global brands, side-by-side German varietals are grown here, harvested and fermented to produce wines that are supplied throughout northern and central Europe.
These wines have earned much credit in the international wine market and still are continuing to earn fame and popularity.
In Baden itself, the Affentaler Riesling grape is cultivated in very limited quantities, in proximity to its red relative, the Affentaler Noir.
Both grape varieties are similar in body structure and contents, but only differ in colour, acid levels and alcohols.
While the former grape is used to produce red wines with fruity-spicy notes, the latter is a typical Riesling variety used to produce white varietals.
Both however, possess the same prefix ‘Affentaler’ which in German relates to the ‘valley of monkeys’.
Although cultivated in very limited amounts, the Affentaler Riesling and its relative, the Noir are fast becoming popular varieties in the Baden area and have already earned fame and popularity abroad.
Most of the wine productions of Affentalers have been directed towards Western Europe and US, where the American market has especially made the grape to flourish.
Origins of Affentalers
The Affentaler varieties have been in general, under cultivation since centuries. Nobody knows for sure where exactly these varieties originated or when, and whether the Afentaler Noir is really the genetic relative of Affentaler Riesling.
The reason on their similar etymology is because the two grape varieties have been in cultivation in the Affentaler Valley since centuries and have existed almost side-by-side.
The grape’s very first records go back to the 1200s when these grape varieties were being cultivated in plentiful by the Cistercian monks.
Along with their cheese and hermit-like routine, the Affentalers soon became popular among the surrounding folk.
Because of the chapels, the valley back then was called Ave Valley named after Ave Maria. Later on, the valley’s name got changed to Affentaler Valley, which in German relates to the ‘valley of monkeys’.
Because most of German mainland remained outside the phylloxera crisis of the 1880s, not much damage was observed to Affentaler vineyards.
Since then, the grape has slowly but steadily risen to its name and fame alongside its red variety. However, the grape got commercial recognition only around the 1940’s and its first commercial bottles were up by 1949 with the signature monkey embossed bottles that haven’t changed since then.
Characteristics of Affentaler Riesling
Contrary to its red variety, the Affentaler Riesling gives off typical Riesling flavours and aromas with just some characteristics of its own.
The Affentaler Riesling, alongside its red variety, is cultivated and fermented by the Affental Viticulture Cooperative and has been produced by them since 1949.
A well ripened and picked Affentaler Riesling will give off pungent aromas of citrus and fresh fruits, with hints of some petrol and green apple.
On the palate, the taste is very acidic with finishes of tart and once the chill has finished its task, the wine opens up more to exhibit flavours of green apples, lemon and some serving of an orange peel. The Affentaler Riesling is thus a proper citric fruity exhibit.
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂