Known for: Huge production, warm climates, and improving dry Riesling. A place of excellent value and innovation that isn’t too far from Alsace, France – in geography or style.
- White v. Red Breakdown: 63% white, 37% red
- Top 3 Grapes: Riesling (24.5%), Red Dornfelder (13.2%), Müller-Thurgau (8.7%)
In the western part of Germany on the border of France, just north of Alsace, lies Pfalz. It contains the second largest vine acreage (after Rheinhessen) but given its warm, dry climate, it often yields the largest crop. Looming to the west is the Haardt Mountains, which serve a similar function to the Vosges Mountains in Alsace, of which they are a continuation. These slopes make a rainshadow that limits vineyard exposure to the wet, cool winds from the west. Given the warmth here, reds can grow well in Pfalz and 40% of the crop is red grapes – mostly Dornfelder and Blauer Portugieser. The other 60% is white – mainly Riesling and Müller-Thurgau.
The warmth means the style of Riesling here is softer, less acidic, and fruitier and more often than not dry rather than sweet. With a better ability to consistently ripen grapes to balance alcohol with acidity than in Mosel or Rheingau, sweetness is not needed to balance the wine.