Saale-Unstrut is a region (Anbaugebiet) for quality wine in Germany, and takes its name from the rivers Saale and Unstrut. The region is located on various hill slopes around these rivers. Most of the region's 685 hectares (1,690 acres) under vine in 2008 is situated in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, with around 20 hectares (49 acres) in the state of Thuringia.
Geography and climate
Saale-Unstrut is the northernmost of Germany's wine regions, and is therefore one of Europe's northernmost traditional wine regions. The wines from the Memleben Abbey were mentioned in the literature already in the year 998 AD. Because of the cooler climate Spätlese or Auslese can be produced only in exceptionally warm years and yields are generally low.
The most common grape varieties are the white varieties Müller-Thurgau, at 126 hectares (310 acres) and 18.4% of the vineyard surface in 2008 and Weißburgunder (Pinot blanc) at 12.1%. White grape varieties make up 74% of Saale-Unstrut's plantations. Varieties such as Müller-Thurgau and Silvaner, which elsewhere are considered to produce wines of more mediocre quality, are sometimes considered to give better wines in the cold climate such as Saale-Unstrut's. The wines are labelled varietally, as most German wines, and are generally vinified dry with a refreshing acidity, resulting from the cool growing conditions.
The most cultivated grape varieties, by area in 2008, were:
- Wein.de (German Agricultural Society): Saale-Unstrut, read on January 2, 2008
- German Wine Institute: German wine statistics 2009/2010
- Landwirtschaftliche Bodennutzung - Rebflächen - Fachserie 3 Reihe 3.1.5 - 2008 [Agricultural land use - Areas under vine]. Wiesbaden, Germany: Statistisches Bundesamt. 2008.
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