The Rheingau is home to some of Germany’s (not to mention the world’s) oldest wine-growing families. Germany’s most central wine growing region is located between Hochheim on the Main River and Lorch which is found near the Mittelrhein.
The Rheingau is basically one long hillside which on the north side is topped by the forests of the Taunus Hills and bordered on the south by the Rhine River. The whole of this forms one large district called Bereich Johannisberg. It was in the cloisters and estates of Rheingau that the world famous Riesling grape was cultivated and refined to become one of the world’s noble grapes. The viticulturists of Rheingau were the first to understand the value of Botrytis Cinerea (the famous “noble rot”) as well as Spätlese (late harvest) wines. According to some sources, the term Kabinett (used to describe fine, light wines made with fully ripened grapes) also originated here.
The climate and ideal soils (loess, loam, weathered slate) of Rheingau help to bring Riesling to full ripeness and perfection. The wines are best described as possessing a refined and at times spicy fragrance. The fruity but pronounced acidity is balanced by the full ripeness of flavor. Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) is grown and produces full-bodied wines (particularly those from vineyards surrounding Assmannshausen).