There are almost 100 grape varieties grown in the vineyards of Germany. Approximately 24 of these varieties are commercially important, with Riesling and Müller-Thurgau, which are used to make white wine, accounting for more than 35 percent. There are also a number of red grapes grown in Germany; Spätburgunder is the most planted, having close to 11 percent of the German red wine production.
Spätburgunder is the German name for the Pinot noir grape. Spätburgunder red grapes produce a velvety wine with flavors of almonds and blackberries. Due to climatic and soil conditions, Spätburgunder wines are generally lighter in color than their French and American counterparts, although some winemakers are able to make more full-bodied wines, with deeper red hues and higher tannin levels. Brands of Spätburgunder include Neuenahrer Sonnenberg, Ahrweiler Silberberg, Neuenahrer Kirchtürmchen, Nelles, Walzporzheimer Kräuterberg and Mayschosser Mönchberg. These wines vary in color and have aromas reminiscent of oak, vanilla and gooseberries.
Lemberger is a German wine made with the Austrian grape Blaufraenkish. Wine makers in Germany typically blend the Blaufraenkish with Trollinger to give it a light aroma. As of October 2010, these red grapes covered 4,200 acres of vineyards. The wine requires a number of years of cellaring before it develops its smooth taste and dark red color. Flavors range from blackberry to cherry, while often having aromas of bananas, chocolate or green bell peppers. Lemberger wines blend well with food such as pâtés, steak, roasted game and cheese.
Dornfelder is a more recent red wine from Germany, originally bred in 1955 in Württemberg. The Dornfelder ripens early and produces a much deeper red color than typical German red wines and has a high, tannic acidity. The wine has a semi-dry taste with a hint of fruit, and blends well with food such as pasta and red meats. In 1997, Dornfelder grew into the third largest red wine grown in German vineyards.
Lingenfelder Estate: Spätburgunder
Vinduet: Verseigerung Nahe and Ahr – 2007
German Wine 101: Lemberger
German Wine 101: Dornfelder
German Wine 101: German Grape Varieties