Definition - What does Rheinhessen mean?

The Rheinhessen is the largest wine region in Germany, found on the left bank of the Rhine river and between the towns of Bingen and Worms. The region has 65,340 acres under cultivation and mainly grows white grapes, with Müller-Thurgau as its top variety. Other grapes grown there include; Riesling, Silvaner, Liebfraumilch, Dornfelder and others.

WineFrog explains Rheinhessen

The region of the Rheinhessen has been used for winemaking since Roman times. Despite its name, it is not part of the federal-state area of Hesse and has not been since the end of WWII. It is home to some of the oldest surviving vineyards from the war.

The Rhine River creates a big influence on the region and forms the northern and eastern boundary. To the west are the river Nahe and the Haardt Mountains to the south. It is known that wines nearest to the river are the best as the soils impart complexity to the wine. The most renowned sub-region of the Rheinhessen is the Rhine Terrace (Rheinterasse), where the soils contain red slate. However, there are many variations of soil types and micro-climates all over the region because of its undulating terrain.

Overall, the Rheinhessen is known for producing the quality wines of Prädikatswein and Qualitätswein bestimmer Anbaugebiete (QbA) designations. The styles of wines made here range anywhere from dry to sweet. Some are classified as Grosses Gewachs, a German classification similar to French cru wines.

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