Nahe: Germany’s Wine Gem

Last fall, I discovered the Nahe wine region for myself.  It’s easy to overlook the Nahe when the wine regions along the Rhine are so close by, but I highly recommend this beautiful part of Germany.  I’m already planning my next trip to the area.

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Varied Soils, Diverse Wines

The Nahe is one of Germany’s smaller wine regions, with just over 10,000 acres planted.  Some wine writers suggest that the Nahe lacks an identity of its own; perhaps they have a point.  I’d like to think, instead, that the Nahe offers an amazing diversity for a region of its size.  It all begins with the varied soils of the Nahe.

The Nahe region stretches along three river valleys: the Nahe, the Glan and the Alsenz, and runs from Bingen in the north to Martinstein in the southwest.  Within the region, you can find sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks.  In fact, the Nahe is known for its gemstones.  There’s even a mercury mine here, the only one in Germany.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

All of this geologic variety means that the soils of the Nahe are also diverse.  Some are slaty and perfect for growing riesling grapes.  Loam, clay, porphyry, sandstone and even copper are found in the Nahe’s vineyards.  As a result, white wine producers plant not only riesling but also Müller-Thurgau, weissburgunder, grauburgunder and silvaner.  About 26 percent of Nahe vineyards are planted in red grape varieties, particularly dornfelder and portugieser.