Panorama of the Ahr wine region around the Ahr river

Ahr is a small German wine area that specializes in red wine and is named after the river that flows east from the Eifel hills to join the Rhine near Remagen.

The westernmost vineyards are in dramatic, rocky, and wooded surroundings near Altenahr, where steep hills on either side of the river extend up to 300 meters (980 feet).

Ahr wine region distinctive features

Many vineyards in the Ahr region are covered in slate as well as basalt and greywacke clay of volcanic origin, well suited to the Spätburgunder (= Pinot Noir) grape variety. The dark soil reflects heat from the quite strange rock formations.

This wine region is located at a rather cool latitude in the North hemisphere (between 50 and 51 degrees of latitude). Therefore, a good local mesoclimate is needed to ripen the grapes.

Most of the best sites face south east to south west. They benefit from the protection provided by the North winds that bend over the valley. This contributes to the required summer warmth.

Ahr grape varieties

Spätburgunder is the most planted grape variety in the region. It is a dark-skinned variety that is still gaining ground today. It is used by many producers to produce late-picked and medium sweet-wines with noticeable residual sugar.

Other grape varieties in the region are Portugieser (black grape), Müller-Thurgau (white grape) and Riesling (white grape). However, these three grape varieties are declining in popularity.

Ahr styles of wine

Spätburgunder is used by many producers to produce late-picked and medium sweet wines with noticeable residual sugar.

Nonetheless, some quality-conscious winemakers create completely fermented, dry, oak-aged, tannic Spätburgunder of good color from low-yielding vines. This style is gaining a lot of popularity and usually sells at high prices on the German market.

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