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Schmitt Sӧhne Family Wines is dedicated to Riesling. Riesling is one of the world’s noblest, yet accommodating of the “great” white grape varieties because of its wide range of flavors and incomparable food-friendliness. In addition to the well balanced acidity, Riesling has a range of fruit and floral aromas adding to its complexity. It’s this balance of fruit and acidity that makes Riesling so highly prized as a wine grape.
Riesling grapes are used to make many different styles of wines, from dry to semi-sweet to very sweet – even sparkling wines. The key difference is how long the grape is left on the vine and how long it is allowed to ferment. The longer the grapes ripen, the more intense their flavors and aromas become. German Riesling grapes harvested early, say in September, make light, fruity, well-balanced wines. Riesling grapes harvested later are more complex and flavorful.
— Rheinhessen, GERMANY
What Are the Classifications of Riesling?
Let’s start with what’s known as Qualitätswein. These Rieslings can only be produced from grapes grown in one of Germany’s thirteen official “growing” regions.
Moving up to a higher intensity of flavor you’ll discover wines of distinction, Prädikatswein. These truly represent German wine-making at its finest. The quality scale for these wines is based on six distinct degrees of ripeness.
It’s important to remember that a Riesling’s sweetness depends only partly on when the grapes were harvested. The main determinant is how long the wine maker chooses to ferment the juice. Fermentation is a process by which sugar is converted to alcohol. Thus, the further the fermentation is allowed to progress, the drier the wine.
Rieslings are “late-ripening” by nature. That makes Germany’s moderate climate ideal for a long growing season and a fully mature grape. The steep slopes that dominate the growing regions provide the vines with greater exposure to sunlight. The slate-rich soil also works to hold the sun’s warmth well into the cool nights, while imparting a mineral characteristic unique to German wines. These elements, along with the overall climate and farming techniques, create what wine growers refer to as terroir and help determine Schmitt Sohne Rieslings’ distinctive and award-winning flavors.
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