Vines have been grown in the Saale-Unstrut wine region since AD 998, a pretty area characterized by sheer terraces, orchard meadows and glittering streams. Defined geographically by the homonymous rivers winding their ways through the Saale-Unstrut Wine Region, it has the distinction of being one of Europe’s northernmost wine growing areas and Germany’s most northern.
An area vulnerable to spring and winter frosts and a relatively low average annual temperature is tempered by vineyards grown on heat-releasing stone terraces and south-facing plots. Warmth accumulates in the river valleys allowing steady, beautiful grape ripening. Saale-Unstrut, with its 798 hectares, is also one of the driest in Germany.
Shell-limestone and colored sandstone soils nourish vineyards with close to a quarter comprising white fruit and just over 25% red. The main grape is Müller-Thurgau which makes wines with concentrated yet delicate orchard fruit tones and gentle acidity. We always go out of our way to enjoy a glass every time we are in this neck of the woods. Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Blanc) follows with Riesling right behind. Classic varietals Bacchus and Silvaner are other whites that love Saale-Unstrut. Dornfelder is making waves for the reds. Spätlese and Auslese styles are produced but only in the very warmest years.
Owing to its climatic conditions and northern aspect, Saale-Unstrut vineyards produce a naturally reduced, high-quality yield of only 50 hectoliters per acre. The resulting wines are dry and vibrant with fruity finesse. Most wine is enjoyed locally but someone has heard about this jewel of a region because it has received accolades and awards from the industry over the years.
The Saale-Unstrut Wine Route features the “Romanesque Road” and the “Skywalk” which takes in castles and palaces, cathedrals and sacred sites dotted around the main towns of Naumburg, Bad Kösen, and Freyburg. This latter spot hosts the biggest wine festival in the region every September.
We look forward to sharing our fresh and unique wine finds from this boreal region with you.