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The Mittelrhein is an area that should be more popular but isn't. It is known to wine geeks, locals near the area in Germany, and a small batch of devout followers around the world. It is located on the Rhine river and the vineyards, from Bingen to Bonn as the vineyards snake up each side of the Rhine river. Part of the vineyards are in an area called the Rhine Gorge, which is a spectacular area of the Rhine river and  was actually given UNESCO "world status heritage" in 2002. The vineyards are principally slate and quartzite which are excellent for trapping heat especially given the cool breezes from the large amount of water from the Rhine. Riesling is the principal grape here and is indeed excellent from the top producers of the area like Weingart, Jost and Ratzenberger who are considered the holy trinity in the Mittelrhein. Most of the Riesling in the Mittelrhein is dry with many lip-smacking Kabinett Trockens (by far the most successful appellation for this often tart incarnation of German Riesling), Kabinett Halbtrocken and more recently epic Grosses Gewachs bottlings. Their firm acidity also ensures these wines will age long and hardy. The fruit profile tends to be a bit more tropical than the Mosel but the firm acidity and lovely minerality are Mittelrhein trademarks. Apparently Spatburgunder has achieved success in and around the town of Bacharach but that is not an integral part of the region as  Riesling is planted to 91% of vineyards making the Mittelrhein's allegiance to Riesling just as intense as the Rheingau's.

The Mittelrhein is a small region and shrinking rapidly. It is 500 ha today and little wine is exported, which explains the short supply throughout the world. Many vineyards are being abandoned by urban development and the younger generation finding easier ways to make a living than by tending to vineyards and making wine. It is a beautiful area to live and enjoy the wine-growing lifestyle if one chooses to with the spectacular views along the Rhine with its many vistas and medieval castles.

Another notable point to be made about the Mittelrhein is that they are less expensive than Mosel and Nahe and can provide excellent value and are excellent candidates for mid-term aging on a budget.

Notable Recent Vintages: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2005, 2002, 2001, 1998, 1996, 1994, 1993, 1990

Top producers of Mittlerhein (in no particular order) include:
  • Toni Jost
  • Josef Ratzenberger (look out for his Sekt!)
  • Florian Weingart
  • Matthias Muller
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