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Rhine Wines

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RHINE WINES, Rhine and Moselle Wines.

German wines are in this country commonly known as "Rhine Wines" or "Rhine and Moselle wines," the reason being easily found in the fad that a majority of the most famous varieties come from the vineyards in the vicinity of the Rhine and its tributaries, the longest of which is the Moselle. They are also frequently styled Hocks, following an English custom which had its origin in the initial popularity in Great Britain of German wines under the general or specific title of Hochheimer ; and Rieslings, be cause many of the finest types are made chiefly from the Riesling grape—a small, round, yellow green berry, with soft skin and tender, sweet, aromatic flesh. That the best vintages are gen erally acknowledged as the choicest of all white wines is due to the great care exercised in the cultivation of the vines, the selection of the grapes and the treatment and maturing of the fermented product, for the Rhine valley offers no great natural advantages for viticulture. For the finer wines, the gathering is generally deferred until the late autumn to allow the grapes to ripen to the fullest point—or a little beyond—and the "ripely rotten" berries are sorted out for use in the choicest varieties, the AusleRe or Auslese Bcercu—"selected berries." The most noted producing district is the Rheingau, a stretch five miles wide and about twelve miles long, on the right bank, between Rudesheim and Biebrich. Next in trade importance are the districts of Rhein-Hessen, on the left bank, opposite the Rheingau ; 3foselle, Palatinate and Franconia. The output covers a wide range of quality, character and strength. The most celebrated wines are "white" and "still," but there are numerous sparkling types of high reputation and some red wines of international fame. There is a steadily increasing consumption of white varieties of moderate price prepared in "champagne" or "sparkling" style.

Among the best red wines are Ass ma nns hauser, from the Rheingau ; Affenthaler, from the Baden district ; Ingelheimer and Ober-In gel hauser , from the Rheingau ; Affenthaler, from and Walporzheimer, from the Ahr Valley. They are generally of light claret color, sometimes approaching Burgundy style.

Though matured German wines of good vin tages are among the most desirable of the pro ducts of the grape, the new or "raw" wine of the many minor, less carefully managed vineyards is generally most disappointing to the American consumer, and it is advisable to confine pur chases to firms of known reliability, as a great deal of deception is practiced by unscrupulous manufacturers and dealers.

Rheingau Wines.

Johannisberger is probably entitled to first place among the many elegant Rheingau wines. Some vintages, such as that of Schloss Johannisberger Cabinet 1893, are- extremely expensive. The finest are those known as Schloss Johannisberger. The cheaper grades are called Dorf.

Other excellent varieties are : Steinb erger, from vineyards near Wiesbaden, the most famous being "Steinberger Cabinet" ; Lanbenheimer, Illarcobranner, R n (1 heimer, Geisenheimer, Hochheimer, Hattenheim er „ Rauenthaler, Bod enheim er „ etc. Hochheimer is produced in a district bordering on the Main, some miles above its junction with the Rhine, but it is usually classed with the Rheingau products.

Mention is here .made only of wines which are generally exported. Some are un obtainable commercially, being reserved for private consumption and held at practically prohibitive figures. As an example may be mentioned the Hattenheirner Mannberg Beeren Auslese, 1893, usually unobtain able but of which private sales have occa sionally been made at the rate of $10.00 to $20.00 a bottle. Such wines represent the carefully matured product of hand-assorted grapes of good years of selected vines, grown in vineyards of favored locations.

White Rhine Wines improve with age, some private vintages being a hundred, or more, years old. They are, however, usually recorked every ten years, as otherwise the cork is liable to rot and spoil the wine.

Rhein-Hessen.

The most noteworthy of the wines from the province of "Rhenish Hesse," are the soft, pleasing varieties of which Niersteiner, Oppenheimer, Liebfrau mach, Binger and Scharlachberger are representative examples.

Palatinate Wines.

The Palatinate, the largest wine district, includes the territory which under that name was a separate state of the old German Empire, but has since been absorbed by Bavaria and adjacent states. It produces a number of light agree able wines, including some of high quality which equal many of the finer Rheingau. Among the best known are Deidesheimer, Rappertsberger, Forster and Moselle Wines have, in most cases, less body and sweetness Rhine Wines, teat the best types offer fine flavor and are very popular. With a few exceptions, they are of a pale amber or yellow tint, and are generally drunk younger than Rhine Wines, being at their best when seven or eight years old. Among varieties of excellent char acter are Zeltinger, 'Piesporter, Graacher, Erdener, Be) "er, A[oselbluemchen and Trabener.

The wines of the Saar and Ruwer valleys are usually classed wit' Moselles, as they are closely allied in characteristics. Ockfen, Feilsen, Scharzberg and Wiltengen belong to the Saar Valley. Maximim-Grunhaus and Caseler are Ruwer wines.

Franconian

(Bavarian) wines are full-bodied and rather heavy. They resemble Rhine Wines in flavor and color. The most noted are Leistenwein and Steinwein, exported in flacon-shaped bottles known as Bocksbeutels. Steinwein is also known as Heiligengeistwein, "Holy Ghost" wine, after the vineyards belonging to the Hospital of the Holy Ghost at Wurzburg.