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New York Wine Diary: Day 25 – Hugel’s New Star Rieslings

It might sound absurd to talk about innovation at a company founded in 1639, but that’s what Jean- Frédéric Hugel (left) and his father Etienne (right) were doing today in New York, and they brought the wines along to prove it. Hugel of Riquewihr in Alsace was already an extremely well established producer around the world when I first visited the family company in 1987, but there was a period when I found their wines extremely dependable (stylistically too – they were always dry wines that worked on the dinning table), but rather seldom inspiring. That has very definitely changed, at the latest since Jean-Frédéric’s generation began exerting some influence on the company, but I am sure that Eteinne’s generation has also done some important rethinking too. Now the fruits of this are reaching the market, most obviously in the form of Hugel’s new star Rieslings.

Before we get to those new wines I have to point out that the Classic range of varietal wines that is the foundation of Hugel’s business has also seen some changes. The 2014 Riesling Classic is made from just over half from Hugel’s own grapes and a bit less than half from bought in grapes, and during the last years some of the weaker sources for the latter were weeded out and replaced. This along with a modest change of emphasis in the cellar towards more fruit make the 2014 vintage of this wine – the aromas range from yellow apple to fresh pineapple, the taste is at once juicy and fresh with a silky finish  –  the best I’ve ever tasted. I feel confident that this joyful wine will switch some consumers who don’t yet know them yet on to dry Riesling, Hugel and Alsace.

The difference between the 2014 Riesling Classic and the 2012 Riesling Estate is very clear, the latter being far more about texture than aroma. There’s a considerable amount of power and weight to it that comes from the just over 50% of this bottling that grew in the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg vineyard site of Riquewihr. Already in 1643 the Swiss cartographer Merian declared this vineyard site to produce the most noble wines of the entire Alsace region. I was glad that Etienne pointed out that at this time Alsace exported more wine than it does today, most of these exports having headed north by boat along the Rhine. The impressive architecture of Riquewihr from that period was paid for with the profits from this business. The top dry Rieslings from Hugel always came from this site, just as the best Gewürztraminers always came from the Grand Cru Sporen site, but since 1945 those names didn’t appear on any of the labels.

You might think that this great tradition would be good reason for Hugel to proudly write those vineyard names on the label, but they weren’t due to the scars left by the Second World War. After what the Nazis put Alsace and the Hugel family through between 1940 and 1945 Germanic names were suspect, although the Alsatian dialect is actually one of German, not French, and Riquewihr was called Reichenweier until 1945! So, it took a long time for the region and the family to find its way back to this tradition. They have done so with the just released the 2010 Riesling Grossi Laüe (“Grosser Lage”, or great site, as pronounced in the Alsatian dialect) and it is so successful with this first vintage I can’t imagine this decision could be reversed. Etienne promised that in time the vineyard names would also appear on the labels of the Grossi Laüe wines, of which there are four: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Please note, that to taste the first three of these in the US you will have to wait until they arrive in April/May.

This wine is the most impressive new dry Riesling from Europe that I’ve tasted in quite a few years. Somehow this 100% Schoenenbourg Riesling manages to marry all the depth and power of this vineyard site (due in good part to the clay-rich marl soil) with a fruit that’s at once rich and subtle. The wine has near-perfect balance and from the first sip it captivated me, but every further sip revealed more nuances of flavor so that I was busy with it for quite some time. It really deserves a large wine glass of the kind you’d normally serve red Burgundy in as I found out when I moved the 2010 Grossi Laüe into that type of glass and the wine instantly expanded to wide-screen format!You should be able to find the Grossi Laüe for  under $100 per bottle. To put this in context, that’s the high end of same price category as the Grosser Gewächs dry Rieslings from the top German producers.

Hugel’s new top dry Riesling, the 2007 Riesling Schoelhammer, needs a big glass and a lot of air even more than the Grossi Laüe! Although it has a rather conventional 13% alcohol for a top dry Riesling this is a massive wine that is still rather austere, although it’s more than eight years old. It really demands both time and space to breathe. If I had some bottles – this one is an extremely limited production wine and it will set you back about $150 – then I would definitely hold on to them for a few years. Both these wines have at least a couple of decades aging potential of them, and the Hugels proved that too by pouring their astonishingly lively 1981 Riesling Reserve (another 100% Schoenenbourg wine) from magnum.

Another thing which has changed are the labels. Although the yellow and red color combination used since 1921 has been retained along with the family crest showing the three hill vineyards of Riquewihr (Hugel means hill in German). However, the company name has been changed to Famille Hugel, and the redesign makes it easier to immediately see exactly which bottle from the Famille Hugel you have in front of you. This is an obvious change that’s easily visible. The more important ones are those of vineyard management, harvesting strategy (most importantly the grapes from every single vineyard parcel are now vinified separately), and vinification. To grasp them you must taste the wines, and I strongly recommend you to experience the new star Rieslings from Hugel.

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New York Riesling Diary: Day 14 – The New Hugel

Maison Hugel of Riquewihr long seemed like the bastion of tradition in Alsace/France, but last night at the tasting dinner they and their US importer Frederick Wildman staged at Zuma Restaurant at 261 Madison Avenue that image cracked, dissolved and began to coalesce in an entirely new form. The agent of this metamorphosis from old to new was Jean Frédéric, 27, son of Etienne Hugel, the Hugel brother in charge of marketing. Two points need to be stressed here to prevent the wrong impression being given: 1) this is a genuine metamorphosis in which the same creature changes from one form to another, 2) it is still in progress.

Jean Frédéric likes saying some radical things like, “the biggest drama of Alsace is that we’re losing our style. 20 years ago people knew they would get a dry Riesling, a dry Pinot Gris an a food friendly Gewürz, but now there are too many easy-drinking sweet wines. This is a terrible mistake.” However, they are all deeply rooted in what it’s fashionable to call the brand DNA. I use this expression, but Jean Frédéric said, “I prefer to say family than brand, because it’s been a family company since 1639.” “You don’t look that old!” somebody heckled. “We’re all getting older!” he quipped back. That’s the sense of humor he displayed all evening, but that joke doesn’t alter the fact that some serious rejuvenation isn’t happening to the Hugel wines and some aspects of the way they are marketed.

One of the biggest changes Hugel are making became apparent when one of the first wines was poured, the 2012 Pinot Gris Classic showed. I could describe the label which features a Ralph Steadman cartoon of an Alsace winegrower in tradition costume (now rarely seen), but it makes way more sense to who it to you, see above. Superficially, the only thing the new Hugel label has in common with the old one is the yellow background color and the company name in that very distinctive red script. However, when the old label was introduced back in 1921 it embodied the very latest thinking in brand marketing, and was based upon the design of the Maggi spicy cooking condiment; a huge brand at the time. Maggi had conducted modern-style consumer testing of alternate designs and found that a red brand name on a yellow background was most easily recognized by them. A member of the Hugel family who worked for Maggi for  a while brought that discovery with him to Riquewihr. Now they are taking a similarly radical step for their Classic range of varietal wines, which will all switch to the label above. By the way, that Pinot Gris is a delicious wine, with the richness and suppleness of the variety when the grapes are picked ripe (and the vines weren’t over-cropped), but properly dry and clean.

It made complete sense staging the tasting at Zuma, because the Asian-fusion cuisine matched the dry Hugel whites beautifully. The excellent sushi and sashimi really lit up the 2013 Riesling Classic, that had seemed a little sullen (too young) when first poured. As you can see from the above image, the affinity of their wines for this kind of food is a card that Hugel is now playing big time and with some panache. No doubt this also aligns with Jean Frédéric’s personal taste, for otherwise he couldn’t have spoken with such enthusiasm about this subject. And this is by no means the end of this story. At the end of the summer Hugel will launch their first wine with a Grand Cru vineyard designation on the label, the 2007 Riesling Grand Cru Schoenenbourg. Watch this space!

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New York Riesling Diary: Day 22 – Too late for BEST WHITE WINE ON EARTH, but still a Riesling Superman!

Almost exactly two years and two months ago I began research for BEST WHITE WINE ON EARTH – The Riesling Story, which Stewart, Tabori & Chang will publish here in New York Wine City (NYWC) in June and the book is just about to go off to the printers. That means there’s no longer any possibility of adding anything more than a couple of words. I’ve long been aware that for certain Riesling regions, most notably the Mosel with its many excellent small producers, I could only present a selection of producers. After all, a book with just over 200 pages cannot be an encyclopedia, and I have to fit the whole of Planet Riesling into that limited space. However, I was hopeful that for most regions I had found and reported on most of the important rising stars. Then, yesterday, I met Vincent Sipp and tasted the wines from his Domain Agapé in Riquewihr/Alsace.

I was at the portfolio tasting of Savio Soares, one of New York’s most innovative and eclectic wine importers. I expect to find interesting French red wines, German Riesling (Hahnmühle in the Nahe!) and Spätburgunder reds (Ziereisen in Baden) at Savio’s tastings, but I was not expecting to bump into an excellent producer from Alsace/France I’d never heard of before. Various branches of the Sipp family have wineries in the Ribeauville area of Alsace, but I wasn’t aware that one of them had moved to Riquewihr and was making innovative wines in that historic town. Riquewihr always struck me as being more of a picture on the lid of a box of chocolates than a real place. It is, of course, the very real home of the house of Hugel, but for me those wines seem to have got stuck in a tradition-laden rut, which is really a shame.

Full of youthful vitality, but also with plenty of acidity and mineral character to balance the full body of good Alsace Rieslings Vincent Sipp’s wines are the opposite of Hugel’s and it’s tempting to declare him to be the “Anti-Hugel”. However, I think it makes more sense to take his wines on their own terms, and if I do that than I have to say that he’s a Riesling Superman! Look out for properly dry, vibrant and charming 2012 Riesling ‘Expression’ and the much more powerful, but still light-footed and elegant 2011 Riesling Grand Cru Osterberg from Domaine Agapé. The latter comes from Ribeauville and is serious competition for that town’s leading Riesling producer, the house of Trimbach which is world-famous for Clos Ste. Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile.

 

 

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New York Riesling Diary: Day 10 – Joelle Thomson on New Zealand’s 3rd National Riesling Tasting

Joelle Thomson (the women with the Riesling back turned to the camera) is a journalist, wine writer and author of 14 books about wine in New Zealand. She was first bitten by the Riesling bug in 1994 and has never looked back. www.joellethomson.com. Here is her report on the current state of NZ Riesling, an underexposed part of Planet Riesling. 

The bus that took New Zealand Riesling devotees up State Highway 1 to this year’s National Riesling Tasting might have been half full but our glasses were over-flowing as we tasted our way through over 100 Rieslings from dawn till dusk – and beyond.

How important is Riesling to New Zealand? It’s a question that’s easy to dismiss, if numbers are all you go by.

On one hand, Riesling is the sixth most planted grape in New Zealand today; on the other, it’s been completely eclipsed by Pinot Gris over the past decade but – the biggest but – Kiwi Riesling has always aged brilliantly and its quality has never been better.

The country’s slow growth of Riesling – just 356 hectares since 2003 compared to Pinot Gris’ rise by 1,448 hectares during the same period (to 1,764 hectares today) in New Zealand.

Marlborough winemaker Andrew Hedley from Framingham Wines is one of the country’s most avowed Riesling devotees and the way he sees it, New Zealand will never compete on volume or price.

“Riesling is not trendy, popular or big volume for New Zealand, but it adds to New Zealand’s high quality image,” says Hedley.

Fellow Riesling maker Mat Donaldson from Pegasus Bay Winery used to think Riesling might one day be the new Sauvignon Blanc but now he thinks the quality is the best it’s ever been and that those who understand it are staunch followers. The wines prove both of them right.

This year is the third that New Zealand has had a National Riesling Tasting and it has been part of the country’s Summer of Riesling movement; picked up and carried from what New York restaurateur Paul Grieco first began. And as importantly, this year was the first in which New Zealand Winegrowers supported the National Riesling Tasting; coordinating logistics, promoting it to New Zealand wineries, collecting information about the wines entered and collating  tasting sheets. If it all sounds functional rather than the romantic Riesling dream, Angela Clifford is not complaining. She is New Zealand’s go-to Riesling organizer for the Summer of Riesling event each year, which she co-founded in New Zealand with winemaker Duncan Forsyth.

Clifford also co-owns Tongue in Groove wines with winemaker Lynnette Hudson while Forsyth is one of the owners and chief winemaker at Mount Edward in Central Otago. The pair both hope to see the support of New Zealand Winegrowers grow.

But there is no profit in Summer of Riesling. It wasn’t designed to be profitable, but to entertain and to champion diversity.

So, what is the future of New Zealand’s Riesling movement?

The lack of profit in the annual Summer of Riesling almost echoes the lack of profitability which has seen so many Kiwi winemakers turn to Pinot Gris instead. Almost. Those who champion Riesling in New Zealand are getting more adept at marketing and selling it, not least because they recognize just how superbly well it ages. Marlborough winemaker Dr John Forrest cracked open a bottle of eight year old low alcohol Doctor’s Riesling with me last month and it blew both of us away. As always with Riesling, it tasted about half its age. Screwcaps help no end, as a long lineup of Pegasus Bay Rieslings tasted this year, which dated back to 1996, showed. This year there were 70 wineries who took part in Summer of Riesling. There were 12 international media at the National Riesling Tasting and two local media (myself and fellow wine writer Jo Burzynska).

“One international journalist told me there was just no way they could write another story about Sauvignon Blanc  because it’s taken up so much airtime and they needed another white wine to write about from New Zealand. That person was hugely supportive of our Riesling,” says Clifford.

There is strong support for Summer of Riesling from those who attend, but as Framingham winemaker and Riesling fanatic Andrew Hedley said, “Riesling doesn’t have to just for   summer. Where would I be in winter without a big, dry, full bodied Riesling with pork belly? That’s my ultimate comfort food.”

Summer of Riesling, autumn of Riesling, Winter of Riesling or spring… I need no convincing; my New Zealand Riesling glass overflows with great choice from an exceptional line-up of top producers; my pick are shared below. No doubt many of their wines are not available internationally but if the chance presents itself to try these wines, leap in.

Joelle Thomson’s top New Zealand Riesling producers

Aurum Wines, Central Otago, winemaker Max Marriott

Babich Wines, Marlborough

Black Estate, North Canterbury

Cloudy Bay Wines, Marlborough

Forrest Estate, Marlborough

Framingham Wines, Marlborough

Fromm, Marlborough

Greenhough, Nelson

Greywacke, Marlborough

Maude, Central Otago

Misha’s Vineyard, Central Otago

Mount Edward, Central Otago

Neudorf Vineyards, Nelson

Nga Waka, Martinborough

Palliser Estate, Martinborough

Pegasus Bay Wines, North Canterbury

Prophet’s Rock, Central Otago

Seifried, Nelson

Terrace Edge, North Canterbury

Tongue in Groove Wines, North Canterbury

Waipara Hills, North Canterbury

Zephyr, Marlborough

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New York Riesling Diary: Day 56 – What can we learn from Riesling? Choosing between Convictions and Truth

Riesling keeps teaching me lessons, keeps showing me how many of my own convictions are just so much baggage, so many boundaries I’ve consciously and unconsciously put up in front of myself. As Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “convictions are greater enemies of truth than lied”. Some lucky moments the wine in my glass just sweeps away all the detritus which has become encrusted on my mind and I feel a wave of joy – freedom! – sweep over me. May the Riesling Force be with you too!

Yesterday evening brought such a moment of joy. Dinner with Robin Schwartz of Garnet Wines and Volker Donabaum from A.I.  Selections seemed like the perfect moment to open the bottle of mature Riesling from Dönnhoff in the Nahe/Germany pictured above. When the wine was young it changed my understanding of what a sweet Riesling Spätlese from Germany could taste like. It was like someone taking an elegant townhouse and adding a huge ballroom at the back. For the first time in my life I uttered the fatal words, “I don’t give a damn what it costs, I want a whole case!”

After mentally trying to extrapolate how it would taste in my 2013 NYC Here and Now I bought some blue cheese (English Stichelton and French Fourme d’Ambert from Formaggio in Essex Street Market) to augment the cheeses I already had in the refrigerator and set off for Robin Schwartz’s apartment. As usual Volker Donabaum came with a couple of bottles and the first, the dry 2011 Ehrenfels Riesling from Proidl in Senftenberg/Kremstal was powerful, but graceful and delicately spicy. Astonishingly its 14% alcoholic content were not a problem! The red Shiraz-Grenache-Mourvèdre blend from a small winery on California’s Central Coast (no names mentioned!) was an example of hi-end winemaking that was completely self-defeating. The wine didn’t taste alcoholic in spite of weighing in at 15.5%, but after just a couple of sips we already started to feel drunk. I thought that was bourbon’s  role in life! Wondering if we could enjoy any more wine after this Californian steamroller had flattened us we gingerly sipped Dönnhoff’s 1998 Riesling Spätlese “Gold Cap” from the Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle site and wave of hugely refreshing Riesling washed over us, invigorating, delighting, tantalizing us. Sure it was a rich and concentrated wine, but the subtlety of flavor which just 8.5% alcohol content helped to accentuate was almost literally breathtaking and the wine tasted amazingly youthful and vibrant for 15 years of age.

As those two Rieslings showed, the wines of the best white wine grape on earth can be so many different things and just when you think you’ve nailed Riesling down with one or more definitions you discover a wine that doesn’t fit them, because the possibilities are  “endless”. Are they really endless? At moments like this they seem to be, and that’s the important thing, for it is this which leads to the unloading of baggage, the breaking down of artificial boundaries, and the resulting feeling of freedom. The cheese also brought some surprises, for as well as the wine went with the blue cheeses it went even better with a “leftover” of Humboldt Fog, a goat’s milk cheese from Cypress Grove in Northern California. The two just seemed to melt into one great joyful whole. Perfect, by which I mean, one of the many, many kinds of Riesling perfection out there.

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New York Riesling Diary: Day 3

This morning I’m seriously KO after the exertion of organizing yesterday evening’s tasting of dry Rieslings from the Rheinhessen region of Germany at Trestle on Tenth (thank you guys for the great support!) But when I think about talented young winegrowers in the region like 21 year old Tobias Knewitz of the Knewitz estate in Appenheim then it was all worth it. They are the future and for them yesterday’s result was excellent, even if we couldn’t show wines from all of them (because they’re simply too large in number!)

We will have to wait a day or two for the statistical analysis to provide us the detail, but what was absolutely clear was how everyone was at least surprised and some tasters were astonished by the quality of the 2011 dry Rieslings from Rheinhessen. Personal favorites varied greatly, some tasters going for the sleeker more racy wines, while others prefered the more opulent and textural wines.

The Zalto wine glasses we used (many thanks to Aldo Sohm for getting us such a huge number of them) were new to many participants and there was some comment about how such “light” dry whites (most of the wines had 13% to 13.5% natural alcohol and a couple were even higher!) not only didn’t get lost in such big bowls, but really blossomed in them. Mature wines like the 2005 Morstein GG from Philipp Wittmann of the Wittmann estate in Westhofen and the 2002 Kirchspiel GG from Klaus-Peter Keller of the Keller estate in Flörsheim-Dalsheim served with dinner after the blind tasting removed any doubts about the wines aging potential.

Sadly we couldn’t accommodate everyone who wanted to come for reasons of space and I have a problem with the image resizing software on my computer, so I can’t post my own photographs of the evening yet. However, I can give you the back story to the tasting as supplied to all the participants. Here it is:

                                   WELCOME TO THE DREAM FACTORY

Why Rheinhessen? As the stats for sales in German supermarkets show, during the last few years the position of Germany’s largest winegrowing region on the domestic market improved with astonishing rapidity. In fact, everything from the quality of the wines to the sociological context within which they’re produced and consumed turned inside out. On several occasions I’ve described this as the transformation from the faded Golden October of Liebfraumilch to the Dream Factory of dry white wines. Though this is certainly true, my formulation ignores the fact that many young German wine consumers are utterly unaware of the region’s cheap ‘n’ sweet past. For them there is only the cool, creative New Rheinhessen!

Exactly what and where is Rheinhessen? With around 26,500 hectares of vineyards planted with a wide range of red and white grape varieties the region is more than three times the size of the Mosel, eight and a half times the size of the Rheingau and way more diverse than either. It is often referred to in Germany as being Hügelland or hill country, though several areas are of it are far more dramatic than those words suggest. Rheinhesen is easy to find on the map of Germany, because X marks the spot, the X being formed by the intersection of the A61 and A63 freeways at Alzey in the heart of Rheinhessen southwest of Frankfurt. Proximity to the Frankfurt conurbation and the region’s easy accessibility from there certainly accelerated change in the region.  This is the point at which a wine region’s story is normally told in a series of “logical” steps – climate, geology, history, grape varieties, etc. – but the thing you really need to grasp about the new Rheinhessen is who the region now is. Nowhere else in Germany have the Jungwinzer, or young winegrowers, had such an enormous influence. Of course, young winegrowers have been around as long as wine growing and can be found everywhere that wine is grown, but at the turn of the century a radical new type emerged in Germany and the word took on an entirely new meaning.

This is best explained by contrasting them with their parents, particularly on the level of group behavior. Before the Jungwinzer appeared on the scene Rheinhessen winegrowers usually viewed each other with suspicion, envy and even mistrust. For this reason they generally kept themselves to themselves, so that colleagues often had no idea what was going on in the neighboring wine cellar just a few yards away. Paradoxically their wines frequently met in huge tanks where they were blended to create cheap generic wines in which all individuality of aroma and flavor was lost in collective anonymity.

For the Jungwinzer it goes without saying that winemaking is a creative profession with possibilities which go far beyond anything their parents dreamt of. For them it goes without saying that grasping those possibilities requires only the right ideas, and the free exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas with colleagues is the fastest way of reaching their goal. Their creed is that we are stronger than I can ever be, this is openness makes us all more successful.

Two Rhienhessen Jungwinzer, Klaus-Peter Keller of the Keller estate in Flörsheim-Dalsheim and Philipp Wittmann of the Wittmann estate in Westhofen, were several years ahead of the main pack. Already a decade ago Keller and Wittmann proved conclusively that if you knew what you were doing in the vineyard, i.e. dropped yields and did a lot of precise canopy management by hand, then “no name” locations in Rheinhessen can give wines that garner the highest praise and sell for healthy prices. This pulled many of their Jungwinzer colleagues on to a steep learning curve, and they in turn have pulled a yet younger generation like Jens Bettenheimer of the eponymous estate in Ingelheim pictured below on to that same upward curve after them.

From the beginning they were sure that this all needed to be celebrated. In spring 2002 Keller, Wittmann and more than a dozen of their Jungwinzer friends who regularly tasted together formed a group called Message in a Bottle. By the third Wein in den Mai, or wine into May, wine party staged by Message in a Bottle on the night of April 31st to May 1st 2004 the group had generated an extraordinary buzz in spite of almost zero marketing budget and shaky organization. That night came the moment I finally realized what was happening in the region. It was about 1:30 am when I left the dance floor and it hit me: for the Jungwinzer wine is part of pop culture! This attitude, no less than the leap in wine quality, was generating the buzz and continues to generate it.

That might sound like a smart marketing concept, but nearly all the promotion of the region (except that undertaken by the highly professional Rheinhessenwein regional promotion body) is guerilla marketing. And for the current 20 plus generation of Rheinhessen Jungwinzer it remains that way. They don’t hesitate before trying things which haven’t been done before like making Sauvignon Blanc-style dry whites from the Scheurebe grape, or doing things which haven’t been done for several generations like making high-end dry Rieslings in forgotten Dittelsheim and Siefersheim. Pop music offered a metaphor for innovation and reinterpretation, but where these were successful a careful analysis of what vine genetics, geology, climate, vineyard and cellar techniques make possible was also there. I think it’s fair to say that the rise of the New Rheinhessen is more about the practical application of wine science, than cool design or sharp PR.

Several people have told me that Generation Riesling was my invention, but when I first said those words I was repeating something I’d heard. For me they express the fact that parallel to the new generation of German winemakers there’s also a new generation of German wine drinkers, and they’re in almost complete agreement with the Jungwinzer that Riesling Rules. The Riesling Spirit of the new generation of wine drinkers is one of openness for the new, even when it is applied to wines light years removed from Riesling’s flavor profile. That might sound like a recipe for one stupid wine fashion after another, but it’s not. These new, predominantly young consumers are what Roger Cohen of the New York Times calls Flexi-Germans and are well aware of their role as co-producers, eagerly participating in the creative process. The wines of the New Rheinhessen, are the result of this conversation between consumers and Jungwinzer.

Riesling in the New Rheinhessen

When I first tasted Riesling wines from Rheinhessen back in the 1980s those from the Rheinfront, the slopes along the left bank of the Rhine at the eastern edge of the region centered on Nierstein and Nackenheim, seemed to form a category of their own in the positive sense. Like many others, I jumped to the assumption that the regions hill country had much heavier and more fertile soils than the Rotliegendes or “red slate” of Nierstein and Nackenheim (actually a type of sandstone), and therefore were ideal for growing sugar beat, but couldn’t produce exciting Rieslings. Thanks to the wines of the Rheinhessen Jungwinzer I now know that this is plain wrong.

They discovered that although a large part of Rheinhessen is covered in fertile loess (which can also give pleasantly fruity dry Rieslings) there’s a great diversity of other soil types ranging from sedimentary limestone to quartzitic slate and volcanic porphyry. That “red slate” isn’t limited to Nierstein and Nackenheim either, but is also be found in several other places in the region. Then there’s the effect of differing vineyard altitudes, from around 50 meters to just over 280 meters above sea level. That alone results in average temperatures differing by almost 2.5° Fahrenheit over the year (the higher the altitude the cooler it is), to which must be added the effect of varying wind exposure. The Jungwinzer proved that Rheinhessen has many excellent Riesling terroirs.

Thanks to the rather warm, dry climate and the resulting high grape ripeness the wines are rather full-bodied with moderate acidity levels, for which reason dry wines are the focus of interest for the Jungwinzer, (although some of the windy high altitude sites are good for the “classic” sweet style wines). In the new climatic situation created by global warming, of which Germany has been one of the main beneficiaries, alcohol levels for dry Rheinhessen Rieslings range from 11 – 11.5% for the simpler quality wines picked at more generous crop-levels up to 13 – 13.5% or slightly more for the late-picked wines from low-yielding vineyards in the top sites.

The last years saw the development of an unofficial classification system for Riesling as well as dry  wines from other grape varieties: regular Gutsweine (“Estate Riesling”) which only give the names of the producer and the grape variety on the label; more sophisticated Ortsweine (“Village Wines”) which additionally bear the name of the commune in whose vineyards the wine grew; high-end Lagenweine (“Grand Crus”) single-vineyard wines with the name of the Lage, or site, declared.  (Those from members of the VDP are also designated Große Gewächs). This system may look like a new-fangled imitation of Burgundy, but a century ago this was very much how the wines of Rheinhessen were marketed.

Winemaking techniques have also changed, incorporating many ideas from before the advent of modern cellar technology. After desteming the grapes for the new high-end dry Rieslings they undergo a Maischestandzeit or period of skin contact lasting between 4 and 48 hours. This extracts aromas, minerals and phenolic substances (tannins) from the skins and definitely makes for bigger wines. Fermentation is often Spontangärung with “wild” or ambient yeast, and after slow fermentation comes extended Hefekontakt or sur-lie ageing. The creaminess this leads to integrates the acidity and tannins, leading to a bolder and richer wine than that associated with the region in recent decades. The result is wines with considerable power and ageing potential that are often still a little closed/reductive at one year of age. You need to be a little bit patient of you want to get the kind of extraordinary terroir experience which wines like the Heerkretz GG of Daniel Wagner of the Wagner-Stempel estate in Siefersheim – pictured below with a geological map of his remote and beautiful area of Rheinhessen – have to offer, but it’s worth the wait !

The New Rheinhessen strictly by numbers

In 1990 Riesling made up just 7.3% of the vineyard area of Rhinhessen, since when it has more than doubled to 14.9% or 3,952 hectares. That is less than the area planted with Riesling in the Mosel or the Pfalz, but far ahead of the Rheingau. Parallel to this the vineyard areas devoted to the Pinot family of grapes grew enormously during the same period. Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) is up from 137 to 1,008 hectares or 3.8%, Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris) from 331 to 1,228 hectares or 4.6% and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) from 420 to 1,387 hectares or 5.2%. Of the traditional mainstay grape varieties of the region Silvaner lost a little ground, falling from 3,488 to 2,451 hectares or 9.3% while the red Portugieser crept up from 1,371 to 1,530 hectares or 5.8% during the same period. All the Neuzüchtungen or new grape varieties lost ground since 1990, many of them dramatically; they’re heyday is long since passed. Look back to 1905 and the region was just 14.052 hectares in size. The dominant grape variety was then Silvaner with fully 64.1%, followed by Riesling with 15.6% of the vineyard area, remarkably close to today’s figure.

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Riesling Think Piece Nr.8: A Man’s got to do what a Man’s got to do (Part 1) + comment by Peter Webster

Many people are still suffering from a deep-seated misconception about Riesling’s personality, though it’s several years since Randall Grahm, then owner of the Riesling-focused Pacific Rim winery in Washington State, said the following oft-quoted words:

I am Riesling, a lioness, the Queen of the Jungle, hear me roar! Riesling is constantly misunderstood as a wine for pussycats, but it is in fact a very big, powerful beast.”

I’ve been thinking about them a lot since talking to Brian Harlan, National Sales Manager of Loosen Bros., sole US importers of the wines of Dr. Loosen, Robert Weil, Maximin Grünhaus and others. Brian’s a very funny guy, but this time what he told me was also dead serious. It was all about a Loosen Bros. event in a fancy restaurant where he was staggered by the chasm separating the reactions of male and female guests. Whereas the women were open to trying Riesling, even if it was sweet, all the men then felt cornered.

“When they saw we had no red wine first they asked for Chardonnay, then Sauvignon Blanc. When they heard it was either Riesling or Riesling they wouldn’t buy it unless was dry,” Brian said, adding that when confronted with the sweetness in some of the wines he was pouring the men, “were terrified by it!” It sounded as if they were frightened of being infected by some terrible and highly contagious disease. Of course, we’re talking about regular guys unaware of the Riesling Somm-Sation, of how for many sommeliers Riesling is the sexiest white grape on Planet Wine.

No doubt many of those guys heap spoonfuls of sugar into their coffee and frequently drink colas and sods which are sweeter than the sweet German Rieslings they so vehemently rejected at the Loosen Bros. event! Some of them undoubtedly also drink branded wines which look like they’re dry, but actually contain some sweetness, like the hugely popular  [yellow tail] from Australia. The supposed dryness of many full-bodied Californian reds and white Chardonnays is also illusory, since their high alcoholic content, low acidity levels and the generous use of oak during their aging makes them smell and taste sweet, even if they’re analytically dry. Even some high-end Californian reds are not even dry in that sense, a dash of syrupy-sweet, deeply-coloured grape juice concentrate called ‘Mega-purple’ having been added to them before bottling to smooth off rough edges and pep up the color. Your refreshing Stop on the Road to Nowhere.

What interests me here though is the sharp divide between the sexs. I think the root of the problem lies in the need many American men clearly feel to publicly demonstrate their masculinity. The dominant female stereotype in America may be as rigid as the male one, but it doesn’t seem to put women under that continual pressure to perform. Are men motivated by the fear of being taken for homosexuals, or the danger of being considered girly-men? Possibly the former, certainly the latter.

Just think about how John Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election, because George W. Bush managed to create the perception of him as an unmanly “flip-flopper” and nurtured the vague, but insidious impression that his opponent was a girly-man. Kerry did loads of manly stuff like wind-surfing for the TV cameras, but he couldn’t shake off that impression. Post 9/11 it was fatal to his chances. Of course, this turned into a boomerang for Bush whose abject failure to “smoke out” Bin Laden as he promised to do in true Wild West style now makes his manliness look seriously suspect.

American myth portrays the nation as having been founded by predominantly male pioneers who braved a sparsely-populated wilderness in order to civilize it. The heroic image of the cowboy in the Wild West myth, likewise set against a vast and almost empty backdrop with just a few Indians riding in the distance to provide some tension, is the next layer of this myth whose basis in fact is shaky at best. Of course, Hollywood Westerns, particularly those staring legendary actors like John Wayne, James Stewart and Clint Eastwood are largely responsible for the cowboy’s grip on the male psyche. Clint is doubly important here, because of his other role as the archetypal urban cop Dirty Harry whose “go ahead, make my day!” is another crucial element defining modern American masculinity. Being a successful businessman is often portrayed in the media as requiring a similarly hard-nosed approach. High-profile sports like football and hockey keep piling the pressure on American men to act tough, or at least avoid doing anything that might look even vaguely girly. All this and a lot more is behind the guys who not only do all the stereotypical male stuff, but also have penis-extensions and take testosterone.

Clearly though you don’t have to be the Ultimate American Guy to feel under massive pressure to demonstrate that you’ve got something in your trousers. Riesling is still widely perceived by both sexs as a sweet wine, because for a long time in America it almost always was. Sweet wine is likewise still perceived by most regular guys as a girly thing, which could, however slightly and fleetingly, cast doubt upon their masculinity; “fatal”!!! That’s why for them the only safe Riesling-scenario is a dry one, though it’s barely acceptable compared with the unmistakable signal of full-throttle-masculinity which a full-bodied red or a big Chardonnay would send: testosterone!!! And for them the worse-case scenario would be sweet Riesling, because that would make them look estrogen-effeminate pussycats.

By the way, after that event Brian Harlan immediately decided to change the labeling of all the dry Dr. Loosen wines imported into the US. Now they all bear a small oval neck label saying DRY. The IRF (International Riesling Foundation, see www.drinkriesling.com) graphic indicating the degree of dryness on the back-labels of millions of bottles of Riesling has undeniably helped push their sales, precisely because it helps remove insecurity about the level of sweetness.These days good quality sweet Rieslings almost always declare their sweetness on the label with designations like Late Harvest, Spätlese, Vendange Tardive and/or the IRF graphic. More importantly, the sweetness of good quality Rieslings is natural, i.e. has not been added in the winery. And from personal experience I can report that the consumption of good quality sweet Riesling doesn’t cause a decline in male potency, in fact rather the opposite!

A man must go where a Man must go! Watch this space for Part 2 coming shortly.

PS Yes, that is my leg and boot in the photo. The piece of dirt underneath my foot is in one of Jeffrey Grossets Riesling vineyards in Clare Valley/South Australia. His wines feature in Part 2 along with many other Bladerunner Rieslings for Real Men.

Peter Webster made an important comment about how far the trend towards  sweet wines pretending to be dry has gone. Chablis in Burgundy/France is supposed to be one of the ultimate dry white wines and William Fevre is one of the top producers:

“Stuart, it was interesting to me discover at a recent trip to burgundy that William Fevre do a seperate batch of grand cru chablis, specifically for the USA market with much higher residual sugar!  Presumably, this us to cater to the “baby taste” of the USA consumers. Just my 2 cents…”

I’d call that BAD NEWS for Burgundy, France, Grand Cru and Chardonnay. No wonder Riesling is doing so well if shit of this kind is going down elsewhere!

 

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“On the Road” mit Stuart Pigott – Weinwunder Deutschland 2 kommt !

Um 15:30 Uhr am Samstag den 7. Januar ist es endlich so weit: die Erstausstrahlung von der 2. Staffel von “Weinwunder Deutschland” fängt in BR3 an. Wie in der 1. Staffel geht es um die dramatische Entwicklung des deutschen Weins seit der Jahrhundertwende. Jeder der 6 Folgen hat einen anderen Thema, aber immer mal stellen wir die gleichen Fragen: Was ist passiert ? Warum? Jedes mal versuchen wir diese ernsthafte Fragen auf möglichst unterhaltsame Weise mit möglichst tollen Bilder zu beantworten.

Das zweite TV-Weinwunder entseht: Jürgen Hofmann von Weingut Hofmann in Appenheim/Rheinhessen, Münchener Weinhändler Guido Walter, mich und Regisseur Alexander Saran (von l. nach r.) auf dem Dreh

“On the road” mit Stuart Pigott:

Ein Erfahrungsbericht von Regisseur und Co-Autor Alexander Saran

Nach zwei Jahren intensivster Zusammenarbeit auf unseren Reisen zum deutschen Weinwunder, bat mich Stuart, ein paar Worte zu den Dreharbeiten aus Regisseurs-Perspektive zu schreiben – was mir als Fernseh-Fritze, der vor zwei Jahren noch nicht mehr vom Wein verstand, als dass man sich auch an ihm berauschen kann, wie die Aufnahme an Pigotts Tafelrunde erschien, der Ritterschlag. Nach Lage der Dinge am Ende der 2. Staffel war es aber wohl nur ein kleiner Schritt vom Fernsehen zum Wein – der Schritt zurück wird ungleich härter sein. Freudlos und trocken.

Als Stuart und ich erstmals im Frühjahr 2010 zum Drehbuchschreiben zusammen saßen und er mir geduldig die Grundprinzipien der Weinerzeugung aufmalte, merkte ich schnell, dass es mehr als genug Wissen und gute Geschichten zum Übermitteln gäbe – Sorgen machte mir eher die Bildebene: im Glas weiß oder rot, im Keller Edelstahl oder Holz, der Berg steil, hügelig oder flach. Mit diesen Grundmustern 6 Sendestunden ohne unendliche Wiederholungen bestreiten zu wollen, erschien mir eine echte Aufgabe.

Während wir uns in der ersten Staffel noch mit Zügen und Stuart-zieht-Rollkoffer-Bildern durchmogelten, haben wir in der 2. Staffel ein englisches Klappfahrrad aus dem Kreativ-Hütchen gezaubert, das einiges verbessert hat. Und bei genauem Hinsehen ist ja auch nicht jeder Keller, Weinberg oder Winzerhof gleich, von deutschen Landschaften ganz zu Schweigen. Als frei schaffender Diener vornehmlich beim Bayerischen Fernsehen ist ja die Tendenz der Reisen klar Richtung Süden: mit ganz großen Augen habe ich dann zum ersten Mal das Moseltal geschaut, oder den Mittelrhein – was für ein schönes deutsches Land! Auch beim Wein muss es ja nicht immer Italien sein.

Florian Bschorr und Alexander Saran, die inzwischen beinm Wein richtig gut durchblicken

Meinen ersten gefühlten Durchbruch bei Stuart hatte ich, als er mir beim Schreiben bescheinigte, mein Humor sei britischer als der Seine. Der zweite Durchbruch ließ dann leider ziemlich auf sich Warten. Bis er die fertigen Filme der ersten Staffel sah: dass da tatsächlich was rauskommt, wofür sich keiner schämen muss. Bis dahin haben wir zwei schon viel miteinander gerungen – richtig unangenehm wurde es meist, wenn er sprachlich ins Englische wechselte, dann war ziemlich schnell klar, ein Tiefausläufer von den Inseln nimmt Kurs auf mein Haupt.

Im Oktober 2010 las beim gemeinsamen Abendessen unser Kamera-Assistent und Allrounder Florian Bschorr vom Mobiltelefon aus „Planet Wine“ vor: Stuart fühle sich zunehmend wie Klaus Kinski und ich erschiene ihm als liebster Feind Werner Herzog. Den Vergleich empfand ich als ziemlich hoch gegriffen, war aber zumindest fassungslos bis Bschorr, vom Phänotypus her einer, mit dem man eher keinen groben Ärger haben will, Stuart darauf hinwies, dass die „Fitzcarraldo-Indianer“ damals Regisseur Herzog angeboten haben, Kinski für ihn zu meucheln. Stuart hat dann gleich noch eine gute Flasche ausgegeben.

Das 2. Jahr lief in allen Belangen besser. Ich hatte mehr Ahnung vom Wein und den Geschichten, die er schafft, wir waren eingespielter, mutiger und hatten dank der Experimentierfreude unserer Produktionsfirma megaherz sogar eine bessere Kamera (Sony F3 mit Festbrennweiten, d.h. eigentlich Full-HD, Kinoqualität; für die Zukunft gemacht), die in den Händen vom dreifachen deutschen Kamerapreisträger Sorin Dragoi ausgezeichnet aufgehoben war. Und wenn Stuart sein Fahrrad aufklappte, flogen uns noch ein paar Bilder fast zu.

Kam

Der geniale Kameraman Sorin Dragoi und der leise Ton-Perfektionist Peter Wuchterl (ja wir haben auch auf dem Klo in der Bahn drehen müssen - was man alles für die Kunst tut!)

Insgesamt darf ich sagen, dass die 2. Staffel in Erzählweise, Optik und Inhalt wesentlich „gereifter“ ist, als unsere Anfänge im Weinwunderland. Und inzwischen hatte sich unser kleines, erlesenes Team so ins Thema eingeschwenkt, dass wir selbst an Abenden ohne Winzer und Stuart am Tisch über Wein geredet haben – man sollte Tonmann Peter Wuchterl mal einen Spätburgunder im Glas beschreiben hören, ein fast erotisches Erlebnis. Wobei auf dem Weg zum halben Weinkenner ja ungezählte Stolpersteine warten, Blamagepotential: hoch. Korkschmecker als Prüfender mit großer Geste und vor versammelter Experten-Runde nicht erkennen; beim Schwenken das benachbarte Abendkleid einnässen; einen Riesling in der Nase für eine Aromasorte halten…

Der mögliche Eindruck, wir hätten uns auf den Drehreisen nur durch die besten Weine des Landes getrunken, ist allerdings nicht die ganze Wahrheit. Drehen bedeutet immer zuallererst: Arbeit. Konzentration. Disziplin. Kampf gegen Müdigkeit, das Wetter, Eitelkeiten, Egos, die Zeit. Sinne auf Hochtouren: Geschichten erkennen, Vertrauen schaffen, Bilder finden. Regie bedeutet: alltags den „Gute-Laune-Kasper“ geben, die vor der Kamera schützen, und minütlich Entscheidungen treffen. Nochmal drehen? Geht es besser? Was, wann, bei welchem Licht? Was braucht der „heilige Ingo“ im Schnitt? Der Gedanke an das volle Glas am Abend hat uns allerdings über so manchen harten Drehtag hinweg getragen.

Der "heilige Ingo" Guski, unseren Cutter, wartet auf flüßige Nachschub

Die herausragendste Erfahrung bei den Drehs zu Weinwunder Deutschland sei zuletzt erwähnt: die Persönlichkeiten unserer Gastgeber und Mitstreiter, der wenigen der unzähligen deutschen Spitzenwinzer, die wir besuchen durften. Ich war nicht nur von den Wahnsinns-Weinen und der Gastfreundschaft von Baden über die Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Mosel (auch Saar und Ruwer) und Franken bis nach Saale-Unstrut beeindruckt, sondern vielmehr auch von der Klugheit, Offenheit und Sensibilität unserer Gastgeber. Wenn mich seitdem jemand fragt, welchen Berufsstand ich besonders schätze, was natürlich eher selten vorkommt, lautet die nachdrückliche Antwort: Winzer. Wundervoller Beruf, sensitiv und erschaffend, öffentlich und verborgen, auch Demut fordernd: die Natur, die alte Wetterhexe, ist einfach größer. Ohr am Wetterdienst, Auge am Himmel. Viele Abende mit Winzern sind in meiner Erinnerung schon legendär.

Erwähnenswert finde ich noch, dass Stuart und ich – zwei ausgewiesene Perfektionisten und Sturschädel – uns nach 100 langen Tagen gemeinsam on the road besser verstehen als je zuvor. Darauf bin ich fast ein wenig stolz.

Vor mir liegt jetzt der harte Schritt wieder weg aus der großen Weinwelt. Ab und an kann wohl ein gebunkerter Riesling oder Spätburgunder über die Wehmut hinweg trösten, aber leicht wird es nicht. Vielleicht kennt ja jemand einen Winzerhof, der dringend einen knackigen Internet-Werbefilm benötigt? Ich bin bereit, Grundkenntnisse sind angeeignet, den Pigott-Stempel habe ich, und die Tagesgage lass ich wahrscheinlich eh gleich im Keller liegen.

In diesem Sinne: hoch die Tassen!

Alexander Saran

Weinwunder Deutschland Co-Author und Regisseur Alexander Saran (links) und Tontechniker Peter Wuchterl "on the road"

Wer die 2. Staffel bei der Erstausstrahlung immer Samstags, beginnend am 7.1. um 15.30 im Bayerischen Fernsehen nicht sehen kann, hat in der Zeit auch die Chance im Netz unter www.br.de und zuletzt in der DVD-Edition, die bereits am 17. Januar erscheint und unbedingt zu empfehlen ist. Die Themen:

7. Januar      Schloss oder Schuppen – woher kommt der gute Wein

14. Januar    Frankens neue Saftigkeit

21. Januar    Jäger der verlorenen Schätze (vergessene Weinbergslagen)

28. Januar   Spätburgunder – drei Farben Rot

4. Februar    Im Osten viel neues

11. Februar   Schaumwein – Kellergeister oder Edelperlen

Am Ender der Arbeit gab es immer Stille für ein "Atmo" (eine Tonaufnahme der Atmosphäre am Drehort)



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Wein Telegramm from America 3

Wine Telegramm from America 3

It was rum, not tea, which made Boston the craddle of the American War of Indepence / es war nicht Tee sondern Rum, der aus Boston/Massachutsettts die Wiege des amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg machte +++ I would never have seen the Phipps Street Burial Ground in Boston-Charlestown if Keith Arbour hadn’t insisted on showing us the city’s oldest graveyard / ich hätte den Phipps Street Friedhof in Boston-Charlestown nie gesehen, wenn Keith Arbour nicht darauf bestanden hätte+++ we had to climb over the gates to reach the grave-clothed hillock sandwiched between suburban housing, Bunker Hill College, the Schrafft’s candy factory and freeway 93 / wir mussten über den Zaun klettern um den grab-bedeckten Hügel zwischen Vorortshäusern, Bunker Hill College, Schrafft’s Bonbon-Fabrik und der Autobahn 93 zu erreichen +++ but after Keith said of Benjamin Franklin, „he sets the ideal which everyone in America thinks they live up to, but nobody does,“ I was willing to look at anything historical he thought would be interesting and it turned out to be the right decision / doch nachdem Keith über Benjamin Franklin sagte, „jeder Amerikaner glaubt diesem Ideal zu entsprechen, aber keiner tut es,“ war ich bereit, alles Historisches anzuschauen, das er für wichtig hielt, was sich als die richtige Entscheidung entpuppte +++ although Phipps Street was established in 1630 it wasn’t until the 1660s that gravestones started to be carved, since the colonists found life in New England much harder than they had expected, many crops failing, so gravestones were a luxury they didn’t have / obwohl Phipps Street 1630 gegründet wurde, datieren die ältesten Grabsteine aufgrund des harten Überlebenskampf in Neuengland (wie etwa die vielen Missernten) aus den1660ern, Grabsteine waren ein Luxus, den sie sich erst nach dreißig Jahren leisten konnten +++ about 1688 the distinctive style of dark slate gravestones carved with death’s heads, flowers and putti appeared which Keith wanted us to see; an early sign of cultural independence / um 1688 tauchen erstmals die mit Totenköpfen, Blumen und Putti verzierten Grabsteine aus dunklem Schiefer auf, die Keith uns zeigen wollte; ein frühes Zeichen kultureller Eigenständigkeit +++ already by then rum was being distilled in Boston from molasses imported from the French West Indies, but by the time the British government passed the Molasses Act in 1733 impossing a heavy duty on the import of molasses to New England from the French colonies, rum accounted for 80% of New England exports / schon zu dieser Zeit wurde Rum aus Melasse aus Französisch-Westindien in Boston destilliert, und als die britische Regierung 1733 das Molasse-Gesetz verabschiedete, stellte Rum 80% der Exporte Neuenglands dar +++ the law was never enforced and the number of Boston distilleries involved in the illegal business grew from eight in 1738 to 63 in 1750 with a correspondingly severe loss of respect for British law; first steps towards American independence +++ das Melasse-Gesetz wurde nie durchgesetzt, und die Anzahl von Destillerien in Boston, die am illegalen Rum-Geschäft beteiligt waren, stieg von acht in 1738 auf 63 in 1750, was zu einem entsprechenden heftigen Verlust an Respekt für britische Gesetze führte; erste Schritte in Richtung amerikanische Unabhängigkeit +++ a perfect example of how an alcoholic beverage can change the world / ein perfektes Beispiel dafür, wie ein alkoholisches Getränk die Welt verändern kann

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Wein des Monats – Juli 2008

Silvaner trocken
2007 Silvaner trocken vom Weingut Seehof/Rheinhessen

Vor langer Zeit in einem Land voller Hügel, nahe dem großen Rheinstrom, das man Rheinhessen nannte, gab es einen hässlichen Konsumwein namens Liebfraumilch. Dieser Unwein war süß, dünn und belanglos, verkaufte sich aber überall auf der Erde zu Dumpingpreisen. Die gute Silvaner-Traube des Landes war unter einen bösen Zauber gefallen und landete zum großen Teil in dieser entsetzlichen Billigbrühe. Ein dunkler Schatten des Unglücks lag über dem gesamten Land.
Doch dann zogen die junge Winzer-Ritter von „Message in a Bottle“ durch das Land. Auf ihren Fahnen stand der Spruch „ehrliche trockene Weine“. Sie waren die Retter der Silvaner-Traube und befreiten sie vom Joch der Massenerzeugung und dem großen Brühen-Verschnitt mit minderwertigen Traubensorten. Einer der Ritter hieß Florian Fauth, und er hat dieses Jahr ein ganz besonders schöne Silvaner, der die ganze unspektakuläre Schönheit dieser Traube zeigen. Saftig, rund, frisch und animierend ist er wie ein Biss in einen perfekten baumgereiften Apfel. Und das für nur 4,30 Euro die Flasche.

Weingut Seehof
Seegasse 20
67593 Westhofen
Tel: +49 (0)6244 / 49 35
E-Mail: weingut-seehof@t-online.de

Weingut: Weingut Seehof

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