The German wine region of Saale-Unstrut, located almost entirely within the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, is defined primarily by two rivers – the Saale and the Unstrut. It is also the northernmost of all of Germany’s wine regions, meaning that the most popular wines here are those that thrive in cooler climates.
In terms of white and red wines, white grape varietals account for nearly three-quarters (74%) of all wine production in Saale-Unstrut. The most popular white grape varietals include Müller-Thurgau (18.4%), Pinot Blanc (12.1%), Silvaner (8.3%) and Blauer Portugieser (6.7%). Popular red varietals include Dornfelder (7.3%).
Unlike in many of Germany’s other wine regions, Riesling wines do not account for the dominant share of wine production. According to the most recent available estimates, Riesling only accounts for 7.3% of all wines from this region.
Due to the cooler climate and shorter growing season, wines from Saale-Unstrut are known for their acidity, which many wine drinkers describe as refreshing. Many of the most popular vineyards are growing along the hill slopes of the river valleys.
Winemaking in Saale-Unstrut has existed since the 990s, when the Memleben Abbey was a famed producer of white wines. As in other areas of Germany, wine villages along the major river valleys sprung up in response to the demand for wines. Saale-Unstrut, though, has been largely overshadowed by other larger and more popular German wine regions, such as Mosel. In 1993, the Burgenlandkreis district within Saale-Unstrut opened a wine route for tourists to sample the wines of this northern German wine region.
Here is a brief audio guide on Saale-Unstrut wine region. Check it out.