Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Charta (pronounced ‘karta’), an association of rheingau wine producers founded in 1984 (although the first wines were vintage 1983), and the designation given to one or two special Riesling bottlings made annually by each member in accordance with the association’s strict standard for yields, must weights, and permissible vineyards of origin. (Paradoxically, these may not be labelled with the names of specific vineyards, although if a grower offers both a qba and kabinett Charta bottling, they will typically originate from different single sites.) Charta Rieslings must be finished trocken or halbtrocken—a stricture intended as homage to tradition—and pass three blind tasting tests, after which they are bottled in tall flute-shaped bottles embossed and labelled with a double Romanesque arch. (Some estates use this as an opportunity to commission Charta-dedicated artists’ labels.) The qualitative impetus behind this association and its wines is often rightly associated with the subsequent emergence of erstes gewächs and grosses gewÄchs as quality wine categories, although the number of participating growers has fallen slightly in recent years from a high of nearly 50.