Germany has yet to truly capture the hearts of wine drinkers in the same way other countries have. This is such a shame, as the quality of the top German wines is exceptional, whether it’s a refreshing, mineral-tinged Riesling, aromatic Pinot Noir (known locally as Spätburgunder) or a top-notch sparkling or sweet wine.
The complicated, impenetrable nature of German wine labels undoubtedly plays its part in hindering discovery, as does certain people’s associations with poor-quality off-dry wine from the 1970s and 1980s, but things are changing as wine drinkers start to realise just how good German wine is.
The star of the show is Riesling – for many, the best, most expressive white grape bar none – and in this year’s IWSC, the variety dominated the German wine category. Expressive of its terroir and suitable for long ageing, Riesling is a world-class variety – wine writer Jancis Robinson MW has described it as ‘the greatest white wine grape in the world’, and when it’s at its best, it’s hard to disagree.
Gold-medal winner Weingut Reverchon Ockfener Bockstein Alte Reben Riesling 2019 is a fine example, scoring 95/100pts and wowing the judges with its textbook aromas of jasmine, lime zest and petrol (a classic Riesling tasting note), accompanied by a palate of pink grapefruit, mango and cherry, with a touch of wet slate on the finish.
German sparkling wines (aka Sekt) also performed well. A brace of Heinz Wagner wines, both Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blends, took home Silver medals: Brut Nature 2016, which offered toasty, honeyed notes of tarte Tatin, and Rosé Brut Nature 2018, packed with red summer forest berries, peach and aromas of freshly baked croissant.
Every German wine in this year’s IWSC was tasted blind by a top panel of judges led by Sarah Abbott MW. She was assisted by fellow Masters of Wine Alistair Cooper and Matthew Forster, as well as Master Sommelier Eric Zwiebel and wine consultant Valentin Radosav.
To eschew German wines is to miss out on some of the world’s finest bottles, so now is the perfect time to experience them. We’re proud to present our selection of the finest German wines from this year’s IWSC.
8 of the best German wines from the IWSC
- Weingut Reverchon Ockfener Bockstein Alte Reben Riesling 2019; Mosel. 95/100
- Weingut Reverchon Ockfener Bockstein Riesling 2018; Mosel. 91/100
- Heinz Wagner Brut Nature 2016; 90/100
- Heinz Wagner Rosé Brut Nature 2018; 90/100
- Weingut Reverchon Filzener Herrenberg Alte Reben Riesling 2019; Mosel. 90/100
- Reh Kendermann Kendermanns Riesling Spätlese 2020; Rheinhessen. 90/100
- Max Mann Riesling 2020; Rheinhessen. 90/100
- Asda Winemaker’s Choice Riesling 2019; Pfalz. 90/100
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
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