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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Noble Writ Climbs the First Rung on the Riesling Ladder

Posted By on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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If you really want to get your German geek on, you can delve into the world of amtliche prüfnummers (commonly called the "AP" number), an identifying code that each bottle of a QmP wine carries. For example, the wine tasted for today's column carries the AP number 2 606 319 017 02. Each of these numbers conveys particular information. The first, here "2," is the quality testing facility that granted the wine's QmP designation. The "606" is the code for the village where the vineyard is located, and the "319" is the number assigned to the winery.

The last two numbers are the ones that can sometimes yield useful information. The "017" indicates that this is the seventeenth lot of wine the producer submitted for classification. This can be important as producers often make more than one lot of a particular pradikat, i.e. they may have three separate lots of kabinett from the same vineyard. The only way to differentiate the lots on the label will be their different AP numbers (e.g. "017," "018," and "053"). For some producers there are real differences in taste between the lots. It is worth the effort to pay attention if you want to ensure either that you get more of the same wine, rather than one you might not enjoy as much, or want to make sure you try all of the lots before settling on one.

The "02" indicates the year in which the wine was submitted for tasting. In almost all circumstances, this is the year after the vintage. However, by paying attention to this number, you will occasionally find special releases that have been held back at the winery for additional aging. These can be a real treat.

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