Sachsen is Germany’s easternmost and one of the smallest wine-growing regions. Its recorded viticultural history dates back to 1161, when the Church and Aristocracy were the primary medieval property owners. In addition to viticulture, their legacy includes a wealth of art and architectural gems throughout the region. The majority of the wines produced in this region are vinified dry and consumed locally.
Major Town: Dresden, Meissen, Radebeul
Collective Sites: 4
Individual Sites: 22
Vineyard Area: 497
– Favorable, provided there is sufficient precipitation
– Warm, dry summers
– Cold winters
– Constant changes in temperature promote the development of rich aromas in the wines
The steepest slopes are of weathered granite and gneiss, with loess or sand deposits in some of the vineyards.
Top soil types:
The majority of Sachsen’s vineyards are located to the east and west of Dresden, along the Elbe River, on the 51° of latitude. The other vineyards, which are disconnected, are cultivated farther north in Brandenburg.
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.
Weissburgunder wines’ fresh acidity and delicate fruitiness make it not only an ideal food wine, but also a light summer wine. A white mutation of Pinot Gris, the grape has shown a steady upswing for several decades; its area has doubled within the past ten years, with Germany having the second highest number of plantings after Italy. German Pinot Blanc is typically vinified dry and have a slightly nutlike aroma.
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.
Scheurebe’s history is a bit of a mystery as DNA profiling revealed that this varietal is likely a cross between an unknown wild grape and Riesling. Its intense bouquet is reminiscent of black currant, peach, or ripe pear, and it goes well with aromatic, spicy foods, from appetizer to dessert as wines can be produced in numerous styles from various ripeness levels. In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency to produce drier-style Scheurebe, which is quite similar to Sauvignon Blanc. Professor Georg Scheu bred it in 1916 in Rheinhessen, and Germany’s largest wine-growing region became a stronghold for the varietal.
Gewürztraminer, also known as Roter Traminer, is one of the oldest grape varieties still cultivated; it was documented in Germany in the 16th century. The thick-skinned, light red grape can reach high levels of ripeness and produce fine, perfumed white wines, straw to golden yellow in color. Gewürztraminer is known for being mild in acidity and very aromatic with notes of acacia blossoms, violets, honey, and more.