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04 November 2018

Germany: Saale-Unstrut region (and more).

The Saale-Unstrut wine area lies in eastern Germany roughly between Leipzig and Erfurt along the banks of those two eponymous rivers: most of the vineyards are actually in the state of Saxony. Production here is small compared to Germany's other wine regions with less than 800 hectares of vines, often on steep terraced hillsides around towns such as Naumburg, Freyburg (see photos left and below) and Laucha. About a quarter of the various grape varieties planted are red, alongside a fair amount of Riesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Grigio), Silvaner, Muller-Thurgau et al. Here's half-a-dozen recommended bottles enjoyed on a recent stay in Naumburg (nice old town) and Berlin (awesome city).

Winzerhof Gussek 2017 Rosé trocken Gutswein (12.5% abv) - Blend of Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), Portugieser and Blauer Zweigelt. By the way, "Germany is the world's third largest producer of Pinot Noir..." according to www.germanwines.de. Attractive crisp 'French style' rosé with light berry fruits and fresh finish. €8
2017 Blanc de Noirs (12% abv) from the same family winery in Naumburg - Dry white made from 100% Spätburgunder, giving a fairly complex nutty and yeast-lees edged wine underlined by crisp length. €9.50

Winzervereinigung Freyburg-Unstrut 2016 Dornfelder trocken (winemaker Kathleen Romberg, 12% abv) - Despite its very deep colour, this red made from the Dornfelder variety has supple mouth-feel with lots of enticing peppery wild fruit flavours. €5.99

Weingut Dr. Hage Traminer trocken Gutswein (12.5% abv) - Lovely aromatic off-dry white with floral lychee notes, quite rounded palate with subtle exotic fruit then fresher finish. €4.99

Rotkäppchen Sekt Rosé trocken (11% abv) - This sparkling winery is located in Freyburg in the Saale-Unstrut region, but the wine used as a base to the recipe comes from a much wider area (they produce big volumes I think, to keep up with the Germans' insatiable appetite for bubbly no doubt). Medium-dry really but nice crisp and refreshing acidity underlines this fruity and lightly yeasty rosé fizz. €3.99

Jochen Uebel 2016 Chardonnay trocken, Pfalz (13% abv) - This wine estate in the Pfalz region appears to make some good Chardonnay, this one is their unoaked version offering plenty of ripe citrus fruit enhanced by attractive buttery flavours and fresh bite. €8

There's a slideshow of more wine trail photos from this trip on my Wine Education Service Facebook page HERE.

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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.