Rheinpfalz is the most French of all the German wine regions
This region is the second largest in Germany in terms of area and the most productive. The best vineyards are in the north of the region, mainly around Wachenheim, Forst, Deidesheim, and Ruppertsberg, which is renowned for its superlative Riesling.
In addition to powerful, full-bodied, aromatic, and elegant Rieslings, Rheinpfalz also produces a number of good whites made from Miiller-Thurgau, Kerner, Silvaner (Sylvaner), and Morio-Muskat. The rarer red wines from grapes such as Portugieser are mellow, mild, and fruity. Dornfelder grapes also yield excellent results.
This region, between Worms in the south and Mainz in the north is wedged between a loop of the Rhine and its tributary the Nahe. This is easily the largest wine area of Germany in terms of area of vineyards but second to Rheinpfalz in terms of production. The wines of Rheinhessen once enjoyed great fame, especially during the time of Charlemagne.
Rheinhessen became famous at a stroke because of the excellent quality of the local wine from the vineyards surrounding the Liebfrau church of Worms. The wine, known as Liebfraumilch, used to be of extremely high quality but it is now permitted to be made in four areas: Rheinhessen, Rheinpfalz, Rheingau, and Nahe. Today's Liebfraumilch – of which the quality swings between reasonable and revoltingly sweet and shallow - unfortunately no longer has anything in common with the legendary wine. Rheinhessen soil consists of loess, chalk rock, and sand, offering great potential for inventive winemakers.
The very best Rheinhessen wines undoubtedly come from the area around Nierstein, where the Riesling in particular delivers excellent results from the sunny terraces overlooking the Rhine. Riesling grapes here yield mild and fruity wines with a rounded and fulsome taste. Besides Riesling, there are also Miiller-Thurgau and Silvaner (Sylvaner) for white wines and Portugieser and Spatburgunder for reds.
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