Although the Nahe is one of the smaller German wine regions, its extraordinary range of soil types is second to none. For this reason, the region is able to produce quite diverse wines from relatively few grape varieties. The steeper sites of volcanic or weathered stone, and those with red, clayish slate seem predestined for elegant, piquant Riesilng wines of great finesse and a light spiciness, while flatter sites of loam, loess and sandy soils yield lighter, fragrant Müller-Thurgau (Rivaner) wines with a flowery note. Silvaner grape thrives in a number of soils and produces full-bodied, earthy wines.
Major Town: Bad Kreuznach, Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, Bad Sobernheim
Collective Sites: 6
Individual Sites: 230
Vineyard Area: 4,225
– Balanced, mild, and frost free
– Low rainfall, mild temperatures, lots of sunshine
– The climate in the Upper Nahe and its side valleys is influenced by cooler air masses, whereby the grapes tend to ripen later, producing racy, elegant wines
The entire rock cycle of igneous (volcanic), sedimentary (sandstone, clay, limestone) and metamorphic (slate) rocks is present in the Nahe – about 180 soil types.
Top soil types:
Situated between the Mosel and Rhine, the Nahe region is named after the river that traverses the valleys of the forested Hünsruck Hills as it gently flows toward Bingen on the Rhine. It is a peaceful landscape of vineyards, orchards and meadows interspersed with cliffs and striking geological formations.
With over 23,000 hectares, Germany is home of the world’s largest vineyard area dedicated to Riesling. Riesling is predestined for northerly wine-growing regions and grows in all 13 German regions. Depending on type of soil and microclimate, it yields grapes that produce wines with extremely diverse nuances. They range from bone dry to lusciously sweet and from everyday wines to rare, high-quality collectibles. A “typical” Riesling is reminiscent of peach or apple on the nose, and has pronounced acidity. It is fantastic for food pairing and sparkling wine production.
Known for their approachable, light and refreshing taste, Müller-Thurgau wines make for easy, everyday drinking. Bred in 1882 by Professor Hermann Müller (1850-1927) from the Swiss canton Thurgau, this namesake wine now accounts for about 12% of Germany’s vineyard area and is grown in all 13 German wine-growing regions. The wines have a light Muscat tone, usually mild acidity, and sometimes, a flowery bouquet.
Although it is a mutation of Pinot Noir and has pinkish skin, Grauburgunder is a white wine grape. It produces pale to golden yellow wines reminiscent of mango, nuts, almonds, and quince. It is vinified in stainless steel or oak, and typically denotes a dry, medium-bodied wine with fairly lively acidity. Germany now ranks third worldwide in terms of vineyard area devoted to Pinot Gris.
Subtle in aroma and mild in acidity, hearty, fairly neutral Silvaner is an excellent food pairing wine. The wines are sometimes earthy and powerful, and are prized for being juicy and mouth-filling. The widespread cultivation of Silvaner dates from the early 19th century, and it was once the most important grape variety in Germany. It has long been a traditional variety in Rheinhessen and Franken.
This Trollinger x Riesling crossing was only first introduced in the early 1970s but already saw its peak in 1992. Since then the number of plantings has declined. Known as Riesling’s “little cousin,” this aromatic wine is perfect for everyday drinking with aromas of pear, apple, currant, apricot, and more, and can be vinified dry to sweet.
Bacchus is a crossing of Silvaner, Riesling, and Müller-Thurgau, bred in the 1930s. Its floral Muscat tone is reminiscent of Scheurebe, and it is often fruity and crisp. This grape quickly became a favorite of growers as it ripens faster than many other varietals and is one of the more easy-going grapes. The wines are often vinified with some residual sugar and are rich in extract.