This includes some of the best dry Riesling wines in the world. Read more about what 'GG' means on the label and see six GG Riesling wines to look out for...
Grosses Gewächs explained
The term Grosses Gewächs is used to identify some of the finest white wines of Germany, and is specific to dry wines.
The designation is not an official part of German wine law, but was conceived by a group of top producers in the early 2000s and refined as recently as 2012 as part of a plan to identify the best vineyard sites.
More than half of ‘GG’ vineyards are planted to Riesling, according to the Court of Master Sommeliers.
All Grosses Gewächs comes from a Grosses Lage (‘great site’), the best vineyards according to the German VDP classification system that is overseen by a group of producers called the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP).
Like the grand crus of Burgundy, these wines take the name of the vineyard and not the village. But, the VDP is an invitation-only, industry body numbering around 200 producers and, as stated above, its rules are therefore not officially part of German wine law.
To make the GG grade, yields must not exceed 50 hectolitres per hectare, and the grapes must be physiologically, fully ripe and also hand harvested.
Referred to as simply ‘GG’ on labels, these wines are released on 1 September of the year after harvest.
In Rheingau, the term ‘Erstes Gewächs’ denotes a top vineyard site and is a legally defined term.
A note on the 2016 vintage
This was a vintage where vineyards were affected by early frosts and plenty of rain, but they were mostly saved by a long period of sunshine at the tail-end of the summer.
What comes across in the dry 2016s is the incredible minerality and elegance, and their potent ageability.
Six Grosses Gewächs Rieslings to look for:
Decanter’s tasting team has picked out five Grosses Gewächs Rieslings of varying ages to try. Wines were tasted at two separate events in London, organised by the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates and importers Awin Barratt Siegel. The latest release wines will be available in spring 2018.