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.
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.
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.