Liebfrauenmilch, il controverso “vino tedesco dalla bottiglia blu”

Liebfrauenmilch, the controversial “blue bottle German wine”

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Despite producing excellent wines, especially the Riesling variety, Germany still remains in the shadow of the issue when we talk about wines imported into Brazil. A shame, because despite its production of around 9 million hl per year*, the majority for national consumption, the refreshing German wines combine very well with the heat of tropical lands.

Vineyards in the city of Rüdesheim am Rhein, in the Rheingau region.

And when we talk about German wines, many Brazilians still associate them with Liebfraumilch, more specifically those in the blue bottle, like Josef Friedrich. Wine entered the Brazilian market at affordable prices in the 70s and 80s and with its sweet taste, it won over fans (ok, maybe we have a controversy there lol).

But after all, what wine is this? Liebfraumilch (also called Liebfraumilch) is actually a type of wine, with characteristic lovely (semi-sweet wine), but it is also a name for sweet white wines. Under the name Liebfraumilch, only certain grape varieties can be used, which, however, cannot be named on the label. The varieties used must be Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Silvaner and Kerner, at least 70%, and the residual sugar cannot be below 18g/l.

A current copy of Liebfraumilch in a supermarket in Germany.

The sugar present in Liebfraumilch derives from the so-called sweet reserve, which is, in general terms, the addition of must (unfermented grape juice), whose sugar reserve is sterilized to remove yeast and prevent fermentation, that is, so that it does not turn into alcohol, and the flavor remains sweet. The producing regions of Liebfraumilch in Germany they are Rheinhessen, Rheingau, Pfalz (Palatinate) and Nahe (in the state of Rheinland-Pfalz, on the slopes of the Mosel River).

The producing regions (Weinbaugebiete) of Liebfrauenmilch, circled in blue in the image: Rheinhessen (pink), Pfalz (turquoise), Nahe (salmon) and Rheingau (moss green). Image: Wikipedia

The origin of the name Liebfraumilch (in literal translation, “milk of the beloved woman”) comes from Church of Our Lady (Church of Our Lady) in the city of Worms. In the middle of the 18th century, the first wines came out of the vines that grew around the church. Liebfraumilch, whose flavor was different from what we know today. To this day it is possible to find the Liebfraumilch and Church of Our Ladyunder the name Worms Liebfrauenstift church piece.

Church of Our Lady, in Worms (Liebfrauenkirche), where the name of the wine came from. Photo: Wikipedia. Author: Immanuel Giel

However, the Liebfrau It fell into the minds of wine lovers after a while, precisely due to its sweet taste and to this day many turn up their noses when they hear the name of this wine. Little by little, it disappeared from the shelves in Brazil and today it is rarely found in the country. However, whether you like this wine or not, it cannot be denied that it marked – and still marks – the reputation of German wines abroad.

German wines – variety and poetry

Despite the bad reputation left by Liebfraumilch, Germany produces other varieties that are worth the discovery experience. The variety Riesling It is, without a doubt, the one that best reflects the poetry of German wines, especially from regions close to the middle valley of the River Rhine. But we don't stop there. Some names sound different, but the grapes are certainly familiar: here, Pinot Noir is called Pinot Noirand leaves nothing to be desired, as does Pinot Gris (Pinot Gris), among others.

For those who prefer red wines and think that Germany is limited to white wines, how about exploring the Dornfelder? One of the most pleasant surprises for those who want something “stronger”. In sparkling wines, we have the fine. And there is still the Ice wine“ice wine”, a rare gift from nature, which deserved its own post.

Red, white, rosé, sparkling wine, Eiswein… there are so many delicious options among German wines, which go far beyond Liebfraumilch

If you want to discover the wine producing regions of Germany, come with us on our personalized trips and experiences, whether for wine lovers, beginners, curious people, or winemakers.

Our experiences range from tastings, visits to vineyards, chats with local producers, to courses and activities focused on the VDP seal.

Traveling to Germany is also the opportunity to discover and be surprised by wonderful wines, in the land of beer!