Rhine Valley

Definition - What does Rhine Valley mean?

The Rhine Valley, situated around the banks of the Rhine River in the German state of Rhine-Palatinate, is home to Germany’s largest and most popular wine growing region. Consisting of 6 classified wine regions, the Rhine Valley features nutrient-rich soil and a sunny, mild climate that is known to produce exceptional German wines.

WineFrog explains Rhine Valley

Home to the Ahr, Moselle, Middle Rhine, Nahe, Rheinhessen and Palatinate regions, the Rhine Valley is comprised of 6 of Germany’s 13 wine regions and is a rich and varied wine region with a long history. Cultivated as far back as 70 C.E., the predecessor to Vitis vinifera, Vitis sylvestris, is known to have grown along the banks of the Rhine River.

The Rhine Valley is famous for producing Spätlese, or late harvest wine. The popular story of the origins of the wine are part of the history of this wine region. Legend has it that during the 1770’s, the harvest was halted due to the messenger being robbed, as the vineyard was waiting for direction, noble rot or Botrytis cinerea, shriveled the grapes on the vine. The winemakers, thinking that the harvest was destroyed, gave the grapes to the villagers, who made a golden sweet concentrated wine, which they called Spatlese. The success with late harvest wines eventually led to Eiswein, wine produced from grapes that have experienced a fall frost, which separates the water from the flavor compounds in the grape pulp.

The climate in the Rhine valley is characterized by mild winters, early spring and long moderate summers with plenty of rain. The Rhine valley is famous for Riesling, which grows particularly well on the famous terraces all throughout the valley. The soil is rocky, well-draining and is characterized by its high content of slate. The combination of the soil that absorbs the warmth of the sun and the wind protect terraced vineyards to provide the optimal growing conditions for the late ripening riesling, as well as pinot blanc, pinot gris, pinot noir and dornfelder. Wines produced here are reflect the terroir of the region with their fully developed and well rounded fruit flavors, balanced acidity and defined minerality.

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