Saxony (Sachsen)

This is one of the 'new' wine regions of Germany in the former East Germany. Together with the other 'new' region of Saale/ Unstruut they form the most northerly of the German wine areas.

Sachsen is the furthest east along the banks of the Elbe, on either side of Dresden.

It is a very small area with several scattered vineyards sited between Pillnitz and Diesbar Seusslitz, with the towns of Meissen and Radebeul at its centre. The soil of these vineyards is extremely varied (including sand, porphyry, and loam) . Müller-Thurgau, Weissburgunder, and Traminer produce dry and fruity wines here with a refreshing degree of acidity. The rare local wines are light and mellow and the Elbtal-Sekt is of very acceptable quality.

Saalel Unstrut

This small area to the south of Halle is the most northerly wine area of Germany and with the United  Kingdom, the most northerly of Europe. The severe continental climate forces the growers to harvest their grapes as early and quickly as possible. Pew sweet wines are therefore likely to be encountered, certainly no late harvested types. Most of them are dry and often pretty tart.

White grapes particularly thrive on a soil of sandstone with plenty of fossilised shells, but the rare reds prove the potential ofthe area. Müller-Thurgau is undemanding and productive and here it successfully produces fresh vegetal wines with a pleasing fragrance of grapefruit. The Silvaner (Sylvaner) are better though, producing mellow and fresh wines with milder acidity and nose of citrus fruit.

The best places are reserved for Riesling, which yield especially good results on chalk soils. The Riesling is fresh, powerful, full-bodied, with a characteristic nose of pear.


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 Other grapes such as Weissburgunder (green apple) and Traminer (mellow and rounded) , yield reasonable wines for easy and early drinking. Portugieser reds have a seductive scent of raspberry but are often a bit too rigid.