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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 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.


  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.

    The Wine Rambler

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

  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!