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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, November 20 2008. 17:04

New German Wine Guide Released

The sixteenth annual edition of the Gault Millau German Wine Guide was launched yesterday morning in Mainz. Impatiently awaited by German producers and consumers each fall, the book is a highly respected source of information on German wines and essentially the only guide of its kind with any credibility in that country. Written by Joel B. Payne and Armin Diel, the pair tasted well over 10,000 wines from some 800 estates, the best of which are presented in the guide.

Joel Payne, the publisher and chief editor of this standard work, is a well-known American wine journalist who settled in Germany in 1982. He is the president of FIJEV, the International Circle of Wine Writers, based in Paris and, until last month, was also chief editor of Meininger's Wine Business International. His colleague and co-author Armin Diel owns Schlossgut Diel in the Nahe River Valley growing region and is considered to be one of the country's most reputed producers of Rieslings.

'The 2007 was a very good vintage, especially for dry white wines,' writes Joel Payne in his introduction. 'This meant that our tastings over the past summer were considerable more pleasurable than they had been in the previous two years,' he adds.

How are the 2007s in Germany? 'Not only are the Rieslings first class, but Pinot Noir has improved markedly, as Jancis Robinson never ceases to note,' writes Joel Payne. The authors cite Fritz Becker from the Pfalz and Bernhard Huber from Baden as being the two best red wine producers in Germany. The finest dry Riesling of the vintage was the 2007 Westhofener Brunnenhäuschen Riesling Trocken Grosses Gewächs from Klaus-Peter Keller in the Rheinhessen, who had three wines in the top ten in the dry category. The prize for the best off-dry Riesling went to the 2007 Monzinger Hallenberg "R" from Emrich-Schoenleber on the Nahe. Athough the finest Riesling spätlese was the Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck from Joseph Leitz in the Rheingau, the honour for 'Collection of the Year' went to his neighbour, Schloss Johannisberg, who the authors claim is enjoying a renaissance.

'For other whites,' says Armin Diel, 'although I prefer the Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris, even Silvaner is attracting new interest.'  Joel Payne adds that 'Andreas Larsson, the reigning world's best sommelier, told me at a tasting in Italy this past weekend that he thought that Silvaner offered the best value for money in the country.'

The guide is unfortunately in German. It has twice been translated into English, but at present there are no plans for an English translation of this year's edition. Because of the language limitation, the guide may thus be of little interest to readers in India, other than for the producer ratings, but in other parts of the world many eaders await the release of the annual Guide to find out how the wines were rated and who made the best wines.

The author's eleven highest ranking producers are given five bunches of grapes, similar to Michelin's stars. They are

Helmut Dönnhoff, Nahe
Emrich-Schoenleber, Nahe
Fritz Haag, Mosel
Reinhold Haart, Mosel
Bernhard Huber, Baden
Klaus Keller, Rheinhessen
Ernie Loosen, Mosel
Egon Müller, Saar
Joh. Jos. Prüm, Mosel
Hansjörg Rebholz, Pfalz
Robert Weil, Rheingau

Another 40 estates are rated with four bunches of grapes.

For more information contact or visit the guide's website at, part of which is in English.



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