Top 10 cool climate wine regions

9. Rheingau, Germany

Rheingau vineyards on the banks of the Rhine at Rüdesheim

Rheingau vineyards on the banks of the Rhine at Rüdesheim

GST: 15.2

Plantings: 3,200ha

Main grapes: 79% Riesling; 12% Pinot Noir

Steep, south-facing slopes comprise the classic image of Rheingau, and these help deal with the “cold temperature and, potential high risk for late frost”, said Theresa Breuer, of Weingut Georg Brueur.

“What actually happens especially in the steep segment of the region is that the sites located at the bottom of the slope, next to the Rhine river, are getting slightly too warm to grow elegant riesling in the warm vintages … the best spots are ‘moving up the hill’ in those vintages.”

Such shades of cool are highlighted on the 33 ha property.

“During the picking period we can be busy with picking riesling for about four weeks, which tells you something about the diversity of ripeness due to the different terroir constellations we have in our fields”, added Breuer. “In the cooler vintages we get the best grapes off the 100% south facing steep slopes; in the warmer years we prefer the higher plots and the slightly east facing slopes.”

And, in the last 20 years, “apart from at Assmannshausen, Pinot Noir is coming back [having first been planted 900 years ago] … reaching a serious quality level.”

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