Wine Names

Now that you've waded through the naming conventions, what else is there that can help you identify what a German wine is about ? Most German wines have names that are the surnames of the current or previous owners. It can be a first and last name, a salutation and last name, two last names, etc. Like Kurt Hain, Dr. Loosen, Sh
äfer-Fröhlich. Then you may or may not see the word Riesling, but if it is not a Riesling then it would certainly indicate what it is. A common description of where the wine is from is the town-vineyard pair. If something hails from Hamburg for example, then it would be Hamburger. A very famous vineyard in Piesport on the Mosel is called Goldtröpfchen. Many winemakers have a Piesporter Goldtröpfchen. Of course wine names are also sprinkled with Castle names, adjectives (alte Badstube vs Badstube), and other confusing information, but that is half the fun.

One problem with US wineseller's listings is that they will mix any of these up, also the entire name usually exceeds their field length on forms, so they abbreviate willy nilly. They leave off signficant *, **, *** (which, by the way, means *=first harvest, **=second, ie later, etc) or Nr 6, Nr 22 (barrel numbers). JJ Christoffel^^ has an
rziger (from Ürzig) Würzgarten Auslese in *, ** and *** forms, each costing more than the other.
In the winesellers defense, all this information is sprayed all over the bottle.

Ideally the wines would be listed thusly:
Year - Winemaker - Varietal - Category - Town Vineyard - Region
2005 - Kurt Hain - Riesling - Kabinett - Piesporter Goldtr
öpfchen - Mosel
(the above is a very good wine by the way ;-)

One more example. J. A. Strub in Rheinhessen has a Kabinett that you can get in the US that is called a Niersteiner Brückchen. The Brückchen Vineyard is in Nierstein (Die Riesling City), in fact if you are in town you can walk right to it. Brückchen means 'little bridge' over a brook which runs through the middle. Makes the grapes happy.

^^ Who is JJ Christoffel Erben ? Have you heard of Robert Eymael and his Moenchhof wines ? Well he is majority owner of JJ Christoffel since 2000, while Hans-Leo Christoffel continues to run things on the ground.