Thursday, 14 October 2010

The problem with Grosses Gewächs

David Schildknecht - Robert Parker's eyes and ears in Germany - recently wrote a thought-provoking piece about the Grosses Gewächs (grand cru) classification in Germany. It was originally posted on the members-only Mark Squires' Wine Bulletin Board but has since been integrated into free-access content. Admittedly, it's quite lengthy, but worth a read by anyone with an interest in German wine; click here.

I'll nail my colours firmly to the mast now and say that I am in firm agreement with virtually all of Mr Schildknecht's critique. I hope it's taken on board in the constructive manner it deserves. Sometimes, people on the "outside" are what are needed to point out the blindingly obvious to those on the "inside" who are oblivious. This is a case in point, I feel. Although Schildknecht would seem to have such a deep knowledge of German wine that it almost seems dismissive to call him an "outsider".


  1. Simon, thank you so much for bringing this to my attention. A very sensible argument, it seems. Actually, I find that many foreigners have come across "trocken" before, and people who care about wine will know (even though they cannot really pronounce it) Auslese and Spätlese. I do sometimes wonder if combining those would not be enough, especially when combined with a grand cru style for the best vineyards. GG really seems to confuse everyone here in the UK.

    Thanks, Torsten

  2. Hi Torsten,
    Cheers, that's a good point. I recall that they nearly all used to be called "Spätlese trocken" back in the day... The quality of the property did the rest. Surely calling them "Grand Cru" would be preferential to "Grosses Gewächs"? Yes, it's "foreign", but everyone knows what it means. Bürklin-Wolf seem to be on winner with their "GC" and "PC" classifications. Simple but effective. Staying outside the VDP and avoiding the "GG" moniker hasn't done them any harm.
    All the best,

  3. That's a good point. "Grand Cru" would be undeutsch, but effective and classy. I'd vote for that!