Rhine Wines, Rhine and Moselle Wines


Rhine Wines, Rhine and Moselle Wines -

German wines are in this country commonly known as "Rhine Wines" or "Rhine and Moselle wines," the reason being easily found in the fact that a majority of the most famous varieties come from the vineyards in the vicinity of the Rhine and its tributaries, the longest of which is the Moselle. They are also frequently styled Hocks, following an English custom which had its origin in the initial popularity in Great Britain of German wines under the general or specific title of Hochheimer; and Rieslings, because many of the finest types are made chiefly from the Riesling grape - a small, round, yellow-green berry, with soft skin and tender, sweet, aromatic flesh. That the best vintages are generally acknowledged as the choicest of all white wines is due to the great care exercised in the cultivation of the vines, the selection of the grapes and the treatment and maturing of the fermented product, for the Rhine valley offers no great natural advantages for viticulture. For the finer wines, the gathering is generally deferred until the late autumn to allow the grapes to ripen to the fullest point - or a little beyond - and the "ripely rotten" berries are sorted out for use in the choicest varieties, the Auslese or Auslese Beeren - "selected berries."

The most noted producing district is the Rheingau, a stretch five miles wide and about twelve miles long, on the right bank, between Rudesheim and Biebrich. Next in trade importance are the districts of Rhein-Hessen, on the left bank, opposite the Rheingau; Moselle: Palatinate and Franconia. The output covers a wide range of quality, character and strength. The most celebrated wines are "white" and "still," but there are numerous sparkling types of high reputation and some red wines of international fame. There is a steadily increasing consumption of white varieties of moderate price prepared in "champagne" or "sparkling" style.

Among the best red wines are Assmannshauser, from the Rheingau; Affenthaler, from the Baden district; Ingelheimer and Ober-Ingelhauser, from the Rheingau; Affenthaler, from and Walporzheimer, from the Ahr Valley. They are generally of light claret color, sometimes approaching Burgundy style.

Though matured German wines of good vintages are among the most desirable of the products of the grape, the new or "raw" wine of the many minor, less carefully managed vineyards is generally most disappointing to the American consumer, and it is advisable to confine purchases to firms of known reliability, as a great deal of deception is practiced by unscrupulous manufacturers and dealers.


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