WineHandpicked by IWSC

8 award-winning German wines to try

We share eight of the best German wines from the IWSC, including top sparkling Sekt and a host of Rieslings that prove the white grape variety's prowess

Words by IWSC judges

Mosel Valley vineyards in Germany
Handpicked by IWSC
A patchwork of vineyards in Germany's Mosel Valley

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.

German Riesling grape with the Mosel river background
Germany's star white wine grape, Riesling

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.

Riseling vineyards in Germany's Pfalz wine region


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.


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.


Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.