Not all German wines are sweet, Harry Eyres assures us – and the nation's fine Rieslings are what first sparked his love of wine.

After the excesses of Christmas, what better way of cleansing the palate and the spirit than with the super-fine Rieslings of the German valleys, pristine in flavour and relatively light in alcohol?

These are the first wines I got to know and love – I’ve never wavered in my allegiance to them or my conviction that they’re among the world’s finest and will one day be recognised again as such.

Why you should be drinking them

A myth persists that all German wines are sweet and little better than sugar-water. Nowadays, within Germany itself, hardly anyone drinks the old ‘lieblich’ style; the country’s younger generation of winemakers has mastered the art of making dry Rieslings without excessive acidity.

What to drink

From the Rheinpfalz– the sun-blessed region that has always, in my view, produced Germany’s best dry Rieslings – try the 2016 Forster Riesling Heinrich Spindler (£12.95 from www.thewinesociety.com). It’s remarkably ripe and peachy, but with superb balancing acidity.

The Nahe valley is one of Germany’s most beautiful and, reflecting its location, produces wines somewhere between Mosel and Rheinpfalz in style. Plaisir Riesling Feinherb 2016 from Wiengut Bamberger (£13.50 from www.leaandsandeman.co.uk) has most attractive peachy freshness on the nose, then tastes appetisingly saline and finishes quite dry.

Wiengut Bamberger have another Riesling well worth trying: Monzinger Frühlingsplätzchen Riesling Trocken 2015 (£15.75 from www.leaandsandeman.co.uk), from a top vineyard site, has more ripeness on the nose than the Plaisir, with the lime and goût de pétrole characters I associate with great dry Riesling from Alsace and the Clare Valley, South Australia.