Red Varietals

The Pinot (Burgunder) family is widely planted in Germany, particularly the red wine grape Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder), the third most widely planted varietal in the country and the most widely planted grape in Baden and the Ahr. Red grape varieties are also important in Württemberg, where Trollinger, Schwarzriesling (Pinot Meunier), and Lemberger are cultivated, and in the Pfalz, with Spätburgunder and Portugieser.

Pinot Noir
(Spätburgunder)

If Germany’s finest white wines are produced from Riesling, its red wine counterpart is Spätburgunder, which reaches top form in German sites. Germany ranks third worldwide in area devoted to Pinot Noir, after France and the USA, with almost 12% of the vineyard areas planted with the grape. Ranging from ruby to garnet red, Pinot Noir wines are slightly tannic, mild in acidity, and have a long finish with aromas reminiscent of blackberry and cherry.

Dornfelder

Dornfelder was bred in 1955, originally developed for use as a blending wine to add color to pale red wines, but has quickly become known as a classic German wine. Dornfelder is vinified in all styles, but primarily as a dry wine. One distinctive style is a very fruity Dornfelder that brings forth the grape’s intense aromas of sour cherry, blackberry, and elder. Other growers ferment and/or age their Dornfelders in casks or barriques, focus on tannins and structure, and create rich, smooth, and harmonious deep color. All styles have an unmistakably deep color.

Portugieser

Portugieser wines are uncomplicated, fruity, and fresh – easy drinking for everyday enjoyment. Medium-bodied and mild in tannins, they have restrained aromas of red currant, raspberry, sour cherry, or pepper. Pressed immediately or after a brief period of skin contact, the pale red color is well suited for Rosé. However, if yields are strictly controlled, the grape is capable of producing deep red, full-bodied red wines of substance. There are no conclusive findings on the origin of the grape, but it made its way from Austria to Germany in the 19th century.

Trollinger

Trollinger is Württemberg’s premier red grape variety. In fact, these agreeable wines are known as the “Swabian national drink.” Except for a few growers in the Pfalz and Baden regions, Trollinger is almost exclusively grown in Württemberg. The majority of Trollinger wines are light and fruity with a delicate scent reminiscent of strawberry or cherry. Usually light brick red to pale ruby red, Trollinger is meant to be enjoyed young, and can be used to produce Rosé or blended with Lemberger.

Pinot Meunier
(Schwarzriesling)

Schwarzriesling wines are ruby red in color and have a fairly delicate body and a fruity aroma similar to that of Pinot Noir. They are popular in Württemberg, where the majority of plantings are cultivated. As a wine with meals, Schwarzriesling can be served as an alternative to Pinot Noir.

Lemberger

Lemberger has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years as evidenced by its growing vineyard area, concentrated in Württemberg, where it accounts for about 15% of the region’s vineyard area. Various styles of Lemberger (also known as Blaufränkish in other wine-growing areas) are produced. Light, fruity versions as well as wines produced from grapes of Spätlese and Auslese concentration that yield reds rich in extract and tannins. Usually, the wines are intense in color, with aromas reminiscent of blackberry, cherry, plum currant or vegetal notes, such as bell pepper.

Regent

A new crossing officially permitted since 1996, Regent posted enormous increases in vineyard area up to 2005. Originally planted at experimental vineyards, Regent can now be found in every German wine-growing region. Organic winegrowers prize it for its resistance to botrytis and mildew. Regent wines are recognized for their rich body, pronounced tannins, fine acidity, and aromas reminiscent of cherry or blackberry. They are intense in color, ranging from garnet red to deep red verging on black.