German wines bearing the Classic logo on their labels have a consistently clear taste profile: they are harmoniously dry, with an ideal balance of sweetness and acidity. The residual sugar content can be twice as high as the acidity, up to a maximum of 15 grams per liter, regardless of the wine's region of origin. These proportions ensure that a wine with somewhat more acidity and somewhat more sweetness tastes as dry as a wine with a lower acidity and lower residual sugar content. Bottle for bottle, consumers can rely upon getting a wine that tastes dry and will go well with most food.
Appealing....."inside and out"
The pleasant balance of residual sugar and acidity is but one of several components that contribute to the appealing style of Classic wines. It is a known fact that wines produced from riper grapes are fuller in flavor and body, i.e. that alcohol has an effect on a wine's taste and volume. The must weights of grapes from which Classic wines are produced are higher (+ 8° Oechsle) than the minimum prescribed by law – the finished wines have at least 12% alcohol by volume, thereby ensuring wines of sufficient body and substance. The minimum alcohol content of Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Classic wines is slightly lower – 11.5% by volume – a concession to tradition, so to speak, since lighter-bodied wines have long been the regional norm.
Consumers who prefer fresh young wines, as well as those who favor more mature vintages, will welcome the fact that all Classic wines are vintage dated. The first Classic wines, from the millennium vintage 2000, made their debut in 2001.
Classic wines are varietal wines typical of their region, e.g. Silvaner Classic from Rheinhessen, Riesling Classic from the Rheingau or Spätburgunder Classic from Baden. Vineyard names have been deliberately omitted, leaving labels as uncluttered – and consumer friendly – as possible.
The name of the producer must appear on the label of all quality wines. Classic wines are no exception, whether the wine was estate-bottled (Gutsabfüllung or Erzeugerabfüllung) or bottled by a commercial winery (Abfüller). In the latter case, where the grape-grower(s) and bottler of a Classic wine are not identical, all parties must conclude and register with the authorities a contract (by July 1st prior to the harvest) outlining each party's responsibilities with regard to quality, quantity, delivery, etc. Wineries and growers alike strive for long-term contracts that will be mutually beneficial and many of these working relationships have been in place, successfully, for years.
A consistently clear taste profile, above-average quality and simplified labels are the hallmarks of the concept: Classic. Taste Dry. Taste Style.
©2003 Deutsches Weininstitut, info[at]dwi-dwf(dot)de, Impressum