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July 09, 2010

German Wines: Feinherb

A few days ago we got a bottle of wine, which husband Lars opened for us. It was a Riesling-Chardonnay from Pfalz, bottled in the Mosel area. (Aha.)

However, in the glass, I quickly rejected the wine, because of a slight sweetness in it. While I can like a sweet or off-dry wine with the right food or at the right occasion, this was the moment where I wanted a dry wine, so I was not pleased. I took the bottle to see what it was we had in our glass (guess, you do that before you drink?) and it said:

Feinherb. WTH (What the heck)?

I had to look up the term, must be fairly new? I did not recognize it, too long away from Germany and it's wines? I knew there was 'trocken', 'halbtrocken', 'lieblich', and 'süss'. Here is the definition, taken from the pfalz.de website:

'Feinherb is a new expression and relates to halbtrocken wines. Halbtrocken includes wines with up to 18 g/l residual sugar. But this is always to be put in perspective to the acidity. The formula: acidity + 10, but max. 18. A wine with 6 g/l acidity, can have 16 g/l residual sugar. A wine with 9 g/l acidity, can only have max 18 g/l res. sugar (not 9 + 10 = 19). The limit to dry (trocken) wine is acidity plus 2, max. 9 g/l residual sugar. A wine with more than 9 g/l sugar, but max 18 g/l is halbtrocken. Feinherb lies in this area, but is not defined as clearly. It is more of a marketing term, because halbtrocken has become a bit unfashionable.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Heike,

    Feinherb has been around for a few years now; I first came across it with regards to Mosel Riesling. In fact, I think I have only ever seen it on Riesling bottles. It seems to me that its use is not very consistent. Some winemakers use it, others don't.

    Cheers,
    The Wine Rambler

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  2. Thanks for letting me know. I will look out for this when I am living in the area very soon...
    Cheers!

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  3. Hi, thanks for the explanation. I recently started working in the wine business and I constantly struggle with the jargon. Besides I am not really educated in wine, which makes me even more of an extra terrestrial in the trade.
    I came accross your blog looking for a definition for Feinherb and I will sure come back, this is a real goldmine of knowledge. Thanks for sharing!

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