German quality system
A Word about German Wine Designations
Forget about those jaw-breaking German wine designations, Weltachs’ wines tell you in English pretty much what a wine is...
Unlike France, Spain and Italy, German wine quality is not based on geographical regions, appellations, ageing times in stainless steel vats or oak barrels. Instead, it is based on degrees of ripeness measured in degrees Oechsle. This translates down to grams of fruit sugar in a liter. This applies to all wines, white, red and single-varietal Rosé.
“The Oechsle Scale is a hydrometer scale measuring the density of grape must, which is an indication of grape ripeness and sugar content used in wine-making. It is named for Ferdinand Oechsle (1774-1852) and it is widely used in the German, Swiss and Luxembourgish wine-making industries. On the Oechsle scale, one degree Oechsle (° Oe) corresponds to one gram of the difference between the mass of one litre of must at 20 °C and 1 kg (the mass of 1 litre of water). For example, must with a specific mass of 1084 grams per litre has 84° Oe.” –
Wines with almost 0 - 7 gm/ltr are dry, under 4 grams suitable even for diabetics; 8 – 17 grams are off dry; 18 – 35 grams are Spätlese or Late Harvest (vinified sweet or dry!) Auslese / Whole Cluster wines show more up to 80 grams; and, with Beerenauslese / Single Berry selection, and Trockenbeeren/ Raisin Berry selection residual sugar go soaring to 200 grams or even more!
Basic quality, non-premium wines may be chapitelised, as necessary.
Weltachs “”Prädikat” level wines – Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese -- are never chapitelized – no sugar is ever added to obtain the necessary 8% alcohol to qualify for a “premium wine” rating. And, they must all be from the same vintage, the same designated growth, within the appellation. All Weltachs wines are made from locally-grown Pfalz grapes in keeping with the requirements pertaining to “Quality Wines.” All are submitted to state quality control inspection office for complete analysis and quality.
Top Pfalz White Wines
RIESLING is Number One with 27% of the acreage ... it varies from bone-dry to dry, from off-dry or semi-dry to late harvest sweet – or even late harvest dry; or is nectare-like nobly sweet... all balanced with fine acidity
RIVANER aka MÜLLER-THURGAU follows with 10%. It frequently is used as a blending wine in a Cuvée being less acidic, broader in flavor than Riesling. Generally good with tomato sauces or preparations. Can also be a fine wine on its own with low-yield concentration and some ageing.
GRAUBURGUNDER (Pinot gris/Pinot grigio) is 10% from the Pfalz is well-structured, and shows good minerality very different from its French and Italian cousins. Low Acidity is another virtue.
GEWÜRZTRAMINER circa 3% follows as local blending grape for Sparkling White Wines and as aperitif and dessert wine depending on how it is vinified – either traditionally sweet or new-style dry. Unmistakeable spicy flavors!
SCHEUREBE and HUXELREBE , both naturally sweet grapes, and SILVANER, basically dry, are making strides gaining popularity here, also.
Top Pfalz Red Wines
DORNFELDER with 18% surface area is in the lead given its dense color, and an uncanny ability to present itself well as a dry, semi-dry or even sweet red wine showing dark fruit flavors.
PORTUGIESER at 14% is a close second. This grape is a lighter-colored red wine showing mild strawberry, red currant and cherry flavors as both a red wine for afternoon and early evening meals and sipping -- or as a delightful Rosé. Made from aged vines and with high concentration, it can indeed be a very “serious“ noble drop.
SPÄTBURGUNDER or PINOT NOIR at 7% -- the great Burgundian grape can be used in German white sparkling wines, as in real Champagne, being a “blanc de noir,“ that is, white wine made from red grapes and even as a dessert wine! It has wonderful expression revealing delicate, almost surreal light red fruit flavors (various cherries, red currants, wild strawberry, violets,) for meats ranging from veal and lamb, to pork and poultry, delicate fine cheeses and egg dishes, and even to red- or pink-fleshed fish (tuna, salmon, skate, shark). Spätburgunder is of growing importance and is increasingly planted in the south Pfalz. The presence of limestone is similar to those fabled grand crû vineyards of Burgundy in France. They benefit from our loamy, alluvial soils and that limestone. German Pinot Noir/Spätburgunder shows more intensity of flavor and has more pronounced minerality than its same-named cousins elsewhere in Europe, the New World, Australia and New Zealand. As a Rosé, it can be especially delightful lightly chilled throughout the day..