Saale-Unstrut

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Saale-Unstrut, small wine region in eastern germany of terraced and sometimes isolated vineyards, starting to recover from the forlorn condition in which they were left by the former East German regime (see map under germany). The main producers in the 735 ha/1,816 acres under vine in 2013 are the cellars at Naumburg belonging to the state of Sachsen-Anhalt, and the co-operative cellar at Freyburg. As in nearby sachsen, white wine grapes dominate: Müller-Thurgau (with 17% of vineyard area), Weissburgunder (13%), Riesling (8%), and Silvaner (7%) although both Dornfelder and traditional Portugieser also hold significant shares. The decidedly continental climate entails frequent, dangerous frosts. The result is wines that are naturally light in alcohol but relatively rich in extract. The calcareous soils are thought to encourage body and balance in the overwhelmingly dry wines made here.