What’s better than travelling?
Travelling when someone else is footing the bill!
Click here to enter a sweepstakes that could transport you to a pair of wonderful places on the European wine map.
The “pair” we are referring to are Bordeaux, France and Germany.
The odd couple? Maybe not.
Bordeaux and Germany have more in common than you might think!
Let us explain…
France’s Bordeaux appellation is perhaps the most acclaimed winegrowing area in the world. Their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon-based cuvees are enthusiastically sought-after by wine enthusiasts and coveted by collectors. Of all wines crafted in Bordeaux, 86% are red.
Germany, on the other hand, is known as white-wine territory. There, 62% of all wines are crafted from white varietals, and nearly a third of these white wines range from semi-sweet to very sweet.
What could Bordeaux and Germany possibly have in common?
Of course, the similarities begin with row after row and mile after mile of vineyards, some covering vast valleys and others climbing slopes ranging from gentle to steep.
And both are firmly planted in winemaking history and traditions yet focused on the future as the vintners embrace green practices and modern technology while keeping an eye on the ever-changing preferences of consumers.
What may be most surprising to wine drinkers both new and experienced is that there is much more to these special “wine worlds” than meets the eye. Even though Bordeaux is “red wine country,” some delicious white wines are made there. And while Germany is known for its white wines, it also produces some stunning reds.
The best dry white wines of Bordeaux are made in the Graves, which stretches from the suburbs of the city of Bordeaux to Langon along the west side of the Garonne River. The best sweet white wines hail from the enclave of Sauternes and Barsac within the Graves.
Whether dry or sweet or somewhere in between, the star white variety is Semillon, with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle playing supporting roles.
Meanwhile, in Germany, the white-variety star is Riesling, with a quarter of the total vineyard acreage devoted to it. Other important whites include Muller-Thurgau and Silvaner, with Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay taking on ever-increasing roles.
But to the surprise of many, there’s also an important and growing red-wine presence, particularly in the Ahr Valley. There, the vineyards line the Ahr River from close to its confluence with the fabled Rhine, south of Bonn, westward to Altenahr.
The Ahr Valley is known as Germany’s “red wine paradise.” The red wines made there — with Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Fruhburgunder accounting for more than 60% of the plantings — are so good, in part, because the vines are so stressed. Most are planted in slate and volcanic soils on steep slopes that are labor intensive to farm.
The Ahr also is one of most northerly of all wine regions, which means its cool climate lengthens the growing season, further intensifying flavors in the grapes.
Exploding myths is part of the fun of wine drinking, and the people of Bordeaux and Germany have opportunities to do that every year at a plethora of festivals.
Germany is known for its Christmas festivals, and not just in big cities like Berlin. In wine regions such as Freiburg, Mainz, Stuttgart and Wurzburg, the locals take to the streets to enjoy the sparkling lights with glasses of sparkling wine. While visiting the shops and kiosks at the famed Christmas markets, they may opt for a glass of warm mulled wine known as gluhwein.
Back in France, the Bordeaux Fete le Vin is one of the biggest annual wine festivals, and in 2022 it’s scheduled for June 23-26. In addition to wine sampling, the festival includes food stalls, concerts and a fireworks spectacular over the Garonne.
As you can see, when it comes to wine, Bordeaux and Germany have more in common than one might think. From the unexpected white wines of Bordeaux to the surprising red wines of Germany, and from culinary pleasures to festive wine-focused events, Bordeaux and Germany both are destinations worth visiting.
Have we piqued your curiosity?
Click here to enter a sweepstakes that could transport you to both of these wonderful places on the world wine map.