Video: at the VDP Grosses Gewächs tasting 2020

On Wednesday I was in Wiesbaden, Germany, for a very special tasting. It was the 2020 Grosses Gewächs tasting, featuring new releases from some of Germany’s top wine estates, all of whom are members of the VDP.

Some explanation is in order. VDP stands for Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (which translates as the Association of German Prädikat Wine Estates). Fortunately, it’s simply abbreviated as VDP.

There are around 250 members (you get invited…) and the basis of this wine classification is terroir. Since a revision in 2012, vineyards are classified on four levels:

  • VDP Grosse Lage (equivalent to Grand Cru)
  • VDP Erste Lage (premier cru)
  • VDP Ortswein (village level)
  • VDP Gutsein (regional)

Only the first two tiers are allowed to mention the vineyard name on the label. So a Grosses Gewächs (GG) is a top wine made from a Grosse Lage by a member of the VDP. These wines have to be dry (under 9 g/l residual sugar), and they are the wines we tasted in Wiesbaden. There’s one more layer of complexity: for each region, only certain varieties can make GG wines. If you see GG on a bottle, then you know it is pretty serious, and that it’s made in a dry style (trocken) from a top vineyard site.

This short film shows the tasting: it was one of the best organised I’ve attended. We sit down, with a list of 400+ wines arranged in flights. You choose which flights you’d like to taste, and the attentive servers bring the wines to your table and pour for you. It makes the whole process of taking notes very straightforward. [Full notes to follow.]

Here’s a film of the event