German Classification System
German wines can be incredibly confusing. They have funky german names for grapes and also have a two tiered classification system. Whilst the common man may be able to decipher the german code of 'Spätburgunder' for Pinot Noir and 'Weissburgunder' for Pinot Blanc, more detail and focus is needed for the classification systems.
Forget the history of the appellation law, we know it ain't the prettiest and the topic of the foundation of laws and regulations will put anyone in a coma...seriously...it's shit.
The first and original classification system and still widely used is the Pradikatswein classification.
The Pradikatswein classification ranks wines by the concentration of sugar within the grape must. A increasing minimum amount must be obtained to achieve each pradikat level. To achieve some of the higher sugar levels required, the grapes need to be affected by Botrytis Cinerea (Noble Rot) or be frozen (Icewine). Due to this, not only is the sugar affected but so is the flavours and aromas of the wine.
(include name, sugar level, how made, flavours (varietal or botrytis) for each)
The second and more modern classification system is the Qualitatswein system run by the VDP (Verband Deutscher Pradikätsweinguter ...just say VDP and nod like you know what it means when people ask and you pretend not to hear them). The VDP is a collection of the best producers from within each particular region who determine what grape/s should be championed, how it should be produced and where are the best sites to do all of this. These best sites (called Grosse Lage) within the various regions in Germany produce Grosse Gewachs wine using the specified grape and production method. The resulting wines are always dry, extremely complex and have lovely length and balance. Rheingau is different for the sake of being different and so have Erste Lage Sites instead and produce Erste Gewachs wine.