Pfalz

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Pfalz

The Pfalz is Germany’s Alsace. Like its French counterpart, the Pfalz is a long, narrow region defined by sheltering mountains to the west and the fertile Rhine valley to the east. It is very nearly the warmest and driest region of the country and, in its confined area, contains a great diversity of soil types and vine varieties. In addition to typically Germanic grapes, such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Rivaner and Scheurebe, the Burgundian varieties — Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc — have a very long tradition here. In fact, it was here in the 18th century that Pinot Gris was first identified as a separate variety. In comparison to the other regions of Germany, Pfalz wines are generally bigger, fuller and drier in taste. The great wines of the Pfalz have a style that is genteel and aristocratic, but never staid or stodgy. In the mineral-rich vineyards of the Mittelhaardt, between Kallstadt and Neustadt, the wines have both power and finesse, with an excellent ability to portray the character of the site in illuminating detail. Wines from the flatter sites and simpler soils of the Rhine plain are bursting with lush fruit and have an expansive texture.Although the Pfalz makes a lot of delicious wine, the region isn’t as internationally famous as the Rheingau or the Mosel. That’s good news for consumers because it means that there are a lot of extraordinary values. It is a rich and varied wine region well worth exploring.                                   Ernst Loosen