Definition - What does Erste Lage mean?
Erste Lage is German for "first-class site," referring to vineyards which have been recognized for their unique and exceptional terroir.
This designation falls under the Verband Deutscher Prädikats-und Qualitätsweingüter (VDP) system and for the Qualitätswein mit Prädikat (QmP) level for dry wines from the region of Rheingau, which follow the requirements for Erstes Gewächs and Grosses Gewächs.
WineFrog explains Erste Lage
Simply put, Erste Lage are wines which have been made from fruit coming from historically optimum vineyards producing quality fruit. These vineyards are recognized for their terroir and how it influences the wine and for their high-quality growing conditions.
Erste Lage falls under the VDP classification system along with other ranked vineyards:
- Gutswein - Wines which hold the highest standards under the VDP. These wines are ranked according to their origin.
- Ortswein - Wines that have been sourced from top locations and vineyards. They are also selected based on the local varietals in the wine.
- Grosse Lage - These are the best wines from only smaller sections/rows of selected vineyards. The wines age well and are noted for their terroir characteristics.