Can anyone shed some light on the German VDP, Top Category, which includes the Erstes Gewaches, Grosses Gewaches, Erstes Lage, and "Luscious Sweet Wines"? I thought these classifications were for dry wines only. So, how would a Rheingau producer label an auslese or sweeter wine (falling into the "Luscious Sweet Wine" category) but produced to VDP standards?

P.S. How do I make an umlaut on this site? Maybe I'll make an omelet instead.

Original Post

I admit I don't have any factual info at hand at the moment, but I seem to remember that at least the category Erstes Gewächs you describe above is not exclusively reserved for technically dry wines, but for wines where the residual sugar exceeds the acidity only by a few grammes - I think it was 3.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the category Auslese (as well as the others of the category, Spätlese et al.) does not specify residual sugar levels, but Oechsle levels, that is sugar in the grape or potential alcohol. You can, in theory, ferment an Auslese dry, and it is done by some, although in general an Auslese is better of with some sweetness than dry eith high alcohol.
The top level of the VDP (which is a regional association that promotes quality) includes: Erste Lage, Erstes Gewachs, Grosses Gewachs and Lusiously Sweet Wines.

The top level is a classification of vineyards (or parts of vineyards)by the regional association.

A number of the usual regulations apply to all the wines: location, max yield, grape varieties, etc.

An interesting rule states that all wines must reach at least spatlese level of ripeness.

My question still would a Rheingau producer (who would normally, or potentially, label their wine as Grosses
Gewachs, label a wine that is harvested at Auslese must weight (i.e. greater than Spatlese) under VDP regulations? (Assuming they were making a "sweet" wine.) ???If VDP allows "lucisous sweet wines" but the Rheingau requires "dry" wines, then what happens??? Would they even apply for VDP status (labeling) or would they opt for normal (traditional) QmP labeling?
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
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Thank you for the demonstration of an umlaut, but I need to know how to make an umlaut on this site. "Literally", how do I add a vertical ":" above an a-e-i-o-u? I've already had a few glasses of wine (okay, a bottle), so please walk me throught it. Thanks.
Click in the link made of unmlauts and it'll direct you to instructions. They're only good if you're on a PC, however.

Picked this from the VDP site.

9. Style

Great growths [exact translation of Grosses Gewächses -M.R.] are dry in style.

Estates that produce great growths abstain from using "Auslese trocken” to designate wines from the same site and grape variety as their great growths.

Lusciously sweet wines of the Prädikats Auslese and above that are produced according to the same criteria are on a par with great growths but are neither designated or packaged as such at this time.

I picked this from the following address:
Erstes Gewächs in the Rheingau is the only classification that is legally recognized. Both Erste Lage (Mosel) and Grosses Gewächs (all other regions) are part of a classification set up by the VDP. The top level allows dry style wines and sweet wines (auslese and above) to use the vineyard designation. Those producers whose vineyards are classified and adhere to the production standards can use the logo on the dry style wines. These standards are regulated by the regional VDP associations.
Hi Bruce

Am I right to say that there would never be an off-dry / fruity Kabinett or Spatlese classified under Erste Lage from Mosel?


My understanding in the proposed classification is that the national VDP accepted the proposal from the Mosel regional VDP to include fruity style kabinett and spätlese wines as part of the Erste Lage concept. They are also allowed to chaptalize the dry style wines, since they are further north and have lower Oechsle requirements than the other regions. This is different from all the other regions.

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