Now, during the Riesling weeks, which are taking place in Russia, it is high time to turn to the icon of German winemaking – the famous “Milk of the Beloved Woman”.
There is no reason to talk about a specific bottle – we bought it just for a photo, sweet and tart 😇 We want you to know a little more about your wine, filled with thoughtless and instagram-free libations, stormy youth.
The history of a particular wine can be perceived almost as a reflection of the entire German winemaking, with its ups and downs.
Over a century ago, some of the finest wines in the world were produced on the banks of the Rhine. But there were, as the Germans say, three troubles: World War I, World War II and Libfraumilch.
Before explaining what happened, an important note must be made – the title. From German, Liebfraumilch is translated as “the milk of the Mother of God” and literally “beloved woman” has nothing to do with it. This name comes from the wine that was made (and is still made) from the vineyards near the Liebfrauenkirche church in Worms (Rhineland-Palatinate).
The value of German wines of that time is not just empty words and cheap bravado. You can find maps of English restaurants from the late 19th century, where Libfraumilch is next to Champagne for price, and the best Bordeaux clarets (Margaux and Lafite) are cheaper than the Riesling Cabinet from the banks of the Rhine.
They tried to develop the success in every possible way and legally allowed to put the names of famous vineyards to almost everyone who “ran around” and naturally “held a candle”. And wine Libfraumilch is no exception.
There, in the city of Worms, in 1910, the fateful decision was made, making Libfraumilch a brand, and not wine from a specific vineyard next to the church. It and its analogues (such as Blue Nan) began to be produced on an incredible scale. Quality and image fell after that.
This went on for quite a long time (until the 70s-80s of the 20th century) and the reputation was lost. To the great regret for the Germans, for many years (and almost the entire 20th century) the wines of this country were known precisely due to Libfraumilch and generics: sweet and cheap.
Now the vineyards are trying (not unsuccessfully) to return to their former greatness, highlighting the “great” (like the French Grand Cru) and imposing strict requirements for wine production.
If you want to taste wine from those very original vineyards in the shadow of the church, you will have to look for the name on the bottle Liebfrauenstift Kirchenstueck. Incredibly, even dry wines of the highest German GG category can be found from there.
The modern wine of Libfraumilch lacks stars from the sky, although it tries to keep the bar.
Semi-sweet / sweet and low alcohol. The main grape variety is Müller Thurgau. In addition to it, Riesling and Sylvaner are also used in production. Interestingly, this wine has a category QbA (qualitatswein, literally “quality wine”) and can be produced in 4 regions: Rheingessen, Palatinate, Nahe and Rheingau.
Residual sugar: 18 to 40 grams per liter. A lot, in short. For such a nondescript material, sweetness is the only lifeline: “Let’s export – foreigners will drink.”
We bought our wine at Pyaterochka for 330 rubles. We will not recommend it to anyone, we will not finish drinking it either – we will give it to our neighbors in the country. They drink everything from which you can get drunk cheaply (or even better for free).
Who is sitting with a glass of this wine right now – a radish! 😘