Germany’s largest wine region with 26,860 hectares, Rheinhessen is located on the Rhein within the gently rolling hills of what is known as “Rheinhessen’s Switzerland”, the Taunus Hills and the Oden Forest. Framed by the Nahe River to the west and the Rhine to the north and east, this warm-climate region with its varied soils is home to numerous crops. Grapes are but one of them – but what extraordinary grapes!
A limestone and loam, sandy, gravelly terroir is ideal for a wide range of varieties both well-established and up and coming. Rheinhessen also boasts plots with a red, clay soil and sites where quartzite-slate dominates. No wonder so many types of grape thrive here, and the region’s wines are so juicy and earthy.
With whites covering a 71.7% share of production, Riesling leads with 18.1% while Müller-Thurgau (of Liebfraumilch fame) is close behind with 15.2%. Rheinhessen is home to the biggest area planted with the much-loved Silvaner grape. Vibrant red Dornfelder accounts for a significant 12.5% of wines in Rheinhessen and further whites Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Kerner are also making a name for themselves. Versatile Portugieser and classic Pinot Noir round up the portfolio of reds in this region of eclectic varietals. This wide, high-quality selection impresses us each time we visit and makes it that bit harder to leave!
One of the fascinating features of Rheinhessen is the variety of styles in which wines are made. Whether classic or modern, dry or sweet is your thing, you will find a wine to suit your tastes from the bountiful wine offerings of this large region. Renowned for its experimentation over the decades, young regional winemakers are making their mark with well balanced, aromatic, soft wines with beautiful minerality.
Main towns include Mainz, Worms, Alzey and Bingen where you can enjoy a wide scope of cuisine mirroring the variety of grapes. You can also take in a vineyard hike or bike tour along the Herbal Trail of Rheinhessen’s Switzerland.