Pfalz pretences


National stereotypes exist for good reason. They apply as much to wine as to sporting prowess, cuisine, personality traits, weather and virtually anything else. As generalisations they are necessarily gross, but there remains a grain of truth at their heart which allows them to endure. The English are posh, the French eat frogs' legs, the Italians ride Vespas.

German wine is sweet and white. That’s still the overriding impression of the world’s wine-drinking majority, outside Germany at least. Yet the Pfalz region, her second largest winegrowing area, defies this expectation almost entirely.

Visiting the region in August showed not only...