If the Mosel is the oldest center of wine production in Germany, dating to Roman times, then the Nahe is one of the youngest areas to develop significant plantings. That doesn't mean that vines are a recent addition to the landscape-- even through they were planted roughly six centuries after the first plantings in the Mosel region, this still places their arrival somewhere in the eighth century.
The Nahe region is named after the river that crosses the valleys of the forested Hunsrück Hills toward Bingen on the Rhine. The Nahe is geologically diverse, with three major distinct subregions plus many interesting outlying towns. Therefore, Nahe wines are capable of being diverse despite being produced from only a few grape varieties. At their best, Nahe Rieslings are incredibly complex, with distinct floral, fruit, and mineral elements. As befits the region's geographical location (southeast of the Mosel, but west of the vineyards in the Rhinegau and Rhinehessen), wines from the Nahe rest somewhere between these other two regions in style. We often find in these Rieslings the delicacy and acidity of wines from the Mosel married with the roundness and increased opulence of wines from the Rhine.
Like wines from the Rhine, you'll find Rieslings from the Nahe bottled in tall, brown flutes, compared to the green flutes of the Mosel-Saar Ruwer.
German vintners and Germany's wine law have often been their own worst enemies, and consumers understandably bemoan the unintelligibility of the labels as well as the mediocre quality of so many commercial-grade wines. It is a shame if this situation acts as a barrier to appreciating some of the world's most distinctive and versatile wines. In fact, an excellent case can be made that no other class of wine offers the stylistic diversity, nuanced expression of site and climate, and versatility at the table of German Riesling. These German wines can be adamantly dry, off-dry, or downright sweet. German Reisling wines can be complex and satisfyingly complete at a mere 7% alcohol, yet can also avoid coming off as heavy at over 14%.
The tradition of Riesling excellence in Germany makes two important presuppositions over and beyond the talents of the individual vintner. First, in a generally cool environment incorporating Europe's northernmost significant vineyards, the microclimatic conditions of a given vineyard site--its exposure to the sun, shelter from wind, proximity to water, geological underpinnings, and other environmental factors--are of paramount importance. Second, to get the most out of Riesling's potential in a good site, the grapes in any given parcel are generally harvested in multiple passes, at times weeks apart, in a process that often involves the selection of particular bunches or occasionally even of individual berries. These factors explain why most of the best German Rieslings preserve their vineyard identity and are labeled to reflect this. They also reflect the many pickings of a given vineyard through labeling with different designations of descriptions or taste.