Rheingau | Germany
The Rheingau is one of 13 German wine regions (Weinbaugebiete) for quality wines (Qualitätswein, formerly QbA and Prädikatswein) and takes its name after the traditional region of Rheingau (meaning 'Rhine district'). The Rheingau’s vineyards are located along one long hillside with the thick forests of the Taunus Hills to the north and the Rhein River to the south.
As with the Mosel river, the Rhine has a moderating effect on local temperatures, protecting the vines from extreme lows but also, when the temperatures peak in mid-summer, providing a welcome cooling effect. The southern-facing exposure, moisture from the river, clay-dominated soil and the almost Mediterranean-style climate combine to produce dense, rich flavours in the wines.
The Rheingau is the spiritual home of the Riesling grape; it accounts for almost 80% of vineyard plantings and yields elegant wines typically with a lovely, spicy fragrance, rich, ripe fruit and pronounced acidity. Although far less important, some reasonably full-bodied, distinctive red wines with blackberry fruit are made here from Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir).