Category Archives: GHB

Riesling Ambassador

Riesling is the key!

Photograph by Alexandra Stellwagen

Here is my new autobiographical text explaining what happened to me and my work during the last years. You will also find it if you click on the Riesling Ambassador button above.

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There are no more dramatic vineyards than those in the breathtakingly rugged Middle Nahe Valley in Germany where the vines cling to steep slopes wedged between jagged cliffs of volcanic rock. They are now one of my twin homes. However, before Monday, 5th March 2019, when I became the Riesling Ambassador for the Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) wine estate in Niederhausen on the Nahe, I was deeply committed to freelance journalism for 35 years.

No, it was more than that. I was a free spirit who wrote about wine and anything that was connected to the wines that interested me. This included subjects as diverse as geology, anthropology, military history and rock music. The border between the possible and impossible in winemaking fascinated me and I was frequently a bladerunner on that edge. My gonzo journalist’s life was sometimes exhilarating for other reasons, because I wasn’t afraid of controversy and several times I sailed straight into the heart of a storm. I sometimes got into trouble, but always managed to dodge the bullets fired in my direction. So why switch path?

The truth is that everything has down sides. In my case they begin with the fact that most of the daring things I wrote only appeared in German. That’s the reason most of you have not only never read any of them, you also didn’t realize they existed until this moment. This means that my trilogy about wine and globalization Schöne Neue Weinwelt (2003, Argon Verlag, Berlin), Wilder Wein and Wein Weit Weg (2006 and 2009 both Scherz Verlag, Frankfurt) never appeared in English and therefore failed to achieve their full potential. Regardless whether you consider these works successful together they add up to a revolution in wine journalism. The same basic problem applies to the more conventional Wein Spricht Deutsch (2007, Scherz Verlag, Frankfurt) which I wrote with Ursula Heinzelmann, Chandra Kurt, Manfred Lüer and Stephan Reinhardt, illustrated by Andreas Durst’s photos.

The second downside is that in all those years I never had a single big commercial success. However, if you have plenty of small and some medium-sized successes over half a lifetime, then they stack up and you build quite a reputation. Once when I gave an interview to a journalist from one of Germany’s leading newspapers and she told me that I was, “a B class celebrity, but you dress a lot better than most A class celebrities!”

Lastly, thanks to the Internet and social media most kinds of journalism are shrinking and some of them are dying in front of our eyes. Most of my medium-sized successes were with printed books, but the last of them – Best White Wine on Earth (published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York) aka Planet Riesling (Tre Torri Verlag, Wiesbaden) – appeared in 2014/15. Since then printed wine books have became an endangered species and my attempt to switch to self-published e-books wasn’t commercially successful. In 2012 the third series of my German-language television series Weinwunder Germany (for BR, the BBC/PBS of Bavaria) was another medium-sized success, but it was also my last tv project. In the autumn of 2015 the frequency of my wine column in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany’s equivalent of the New York Times) was halved and with it my income from that source.

Perhaps this sounds like I have a negative attitude. However, it was my rapidly shrinking bank balance that pushed me to begin a radical rethink in the spring of 2016. Then, suddenly, in September 2016, James Suckling asked me to become a member of the tasting team for, one of the world’s few really successful Internet wine publications. I coped with the considerable stress of that position for two and a half years, but my health started suffering and my wife wasn’t happy about me being on the road most of the time. That set me rethinking once again.

I came to the conclusion I needed a job that connected me directly with concrete products incapable of digitalization. You can post a picture of a wine bottle and describe its smell taste in words, but you can’t post its smell and taste. I also wanted to have get both feet on the ground: one foot in Eppstein in the hills above the Rheingau wine region where my wife has lived for twenty years, the other in some special vineyards that needed a voice.

That I, an “outsider”, could become the voice of GHB’s remarkable collection of vineyards – all 30 hectares are classified Grosse Lage / “Grand Cru” by the VDP – isn’t as ridiculous as it looks at first glance. I’ve been following the wines from there since the spring of 1984, through my entire career as a wine journalist. I’ve known estate director Achim Kirchner since 1999 and winemaker Karsten Peter since 2002. It was therefore rather easy to integrate into the GHB team although I’m a very different creature to anyone else who works at estate. One door has closed and another has opened. Riesling was the key!

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GHB Diary 4/2019 – The 35th Anniversary of My New Life: Part 1

This is the first posting on my blog under my new masthead and this is Part 1 of the most important story I have to tell. / Es tut mir leid aber Sie müssen eine Weile auf die deutsche Übersetzung von Teil 1 der ersten Story auf meinem Blog unter dem neuen Logo warten. Ich arbeite dran!

As I walked into the Hindenburg Raum of the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne Niederhausen-Schlossböckelheim/Nahe State Domaine, today Gut Hermannsberg (GHB), on the sunny morning of Wednesday, 26th April 1984 I was a 23 years old art student and had no idea that it would change my life several times over. Today is the 35th anniversary of that day and it seems like a good opportunity to start telling that story properly.

It was the fifth wine tasting during a weeklong tour of top Riesling producers in Germany by English gentleman and wine merchant Philip Eyres (1926 – 2012) of Henry Townsend Wines based just outside my home town of London. I was both surprised and extremely grateful when, a couple of months earlier, he’d asked me to join him, his wife Jennifer and their son for the whole of this buying trip. It was my first professional wine tasting trip and, in spite of all I’ve learned and experienced since then, when I visit producers somewhere on Planet Wine I am basically continuing to do what I started doing that week. My first article about wine had just been published in Decanter magazine in England, and I also owed that connection to Philip Eyres! At the time those developments were so exciting that I barely gave this situation a second thought and never asked myself why he did all those things for me.

Although the atmosphere on that trip was extremely friendly, during the wine tastings it was also serious as we focused on the wines in near-silence. However, for Philip Eyres the entire undertaking was deadly serious, and without me realizing it at the time that made it serious for me too. It was many years before that all this started becoming clear to me and I may still not have reached the end of that process of discovery.

I remember the scene that greeted us in the tasting room very well. On a table in the Hindenburg Room stood a long row of tall brown wine bottles. Estate Director Dr. Werner Hofäcker had prepared every single Riesling they’d produced in the 1983 vintage for us to taste. None of the other producer we visited did that for us! It showed both Dr. Hofäcker’s thoroughness and that Philip Eyres must have made a very good impression upon him during his previous visits. The fact that it was my very first encounter with the wines from this producer resulted in an element of surprise that turned out to be of crucial importance.

Right from the moment when I tasted first wine in the row it was clear to me these wines were very different to those we’d tasted during the previous two days in the Mosel Valley, but that didn’t prepare me for the shock of the third of fourth wine in the tasting. It was a 1983 vintage dry Riesling from the Kupfergrube vineyard site and it stopped me dead in my tracks. “What the hell is that?” I remember silently saying to myself as I stood there and struggled to make sense of the smell and taste I’d just experienced. It was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced in the world of wine, or anywhere else for that matter. It instantly redefined what wine could be. In retrospect, I would say it was my first compelling experience of “terroir”. Although I understood this was the French word for the taste of the place, I thought it only applied to French wine and cheese.

Unfortunately, I lost the notes I made that day soon after, but the notes from my second experience of these wines in London on the 22nd November 1984 show that already I’d started describing the aroma of the Kupfergrube wines as “pungent”. This adjective usually has negative connotations in English, because it suggests a stink of some kind. I meant it positively though and stuck with it, because nothing else seemed adequate to conveying how intense and radical those wines tasted to me. I’m still struggling to find better words for the Kupfergrube wines. How do you combine “warm and spicy” with “firm and linear” then add “driving and primeval” plus “grapefruit zest and smoke” – my contemporary descriptors for them – and compress all that into just a couple words?

Although I had almost no disposable income when we I returned home I invested what for me was a gigantic sum of money in purchasing almost two dozen bottles of the best 1983 German Rieslings I tasted on that trip. The largest part of my expenditure was for 10 bottles from the Nahe State Domaine and a couple more bottles of their 1983 wines were added to that over the following years. I still have one of those bottles in my cellar!

I must make clear that back then none of this was due to any “Pro-German” feelings on my part. It was all about my very particular experience of discovery and revelation, and such moments were not limited to German wines, as my first taste of the red 1981 Château Cheval Blanc from St. Emilion in Bordeaux almost exactly three years before proves. However, during the next years the wine tastings of that week came to look like a turning point. Slowly, I realized I could better trust the leading winemakers of Germany to tell me the truth than I could their French colleagues. And I found I could sell stories about German wines more easily than those about France, because almost nobody else was writing about the subject in English. Thanks to Philip Eyres and my moment of revelation in the Hindenburg Room I’d found the path I follow to this day.


To be continued…


GHB Diary 3/2019: Lieber Nahe als Ferne / Love the Nahe

Niederhäuser WeinfrühlingDie Wettervorhersage für Sonntag, den 7. April ist 17° C mit Sonne und ich habe ein Vorschlag für den Tagesprogramm: Niederhäuser Weinfrühling an der Nahe  / The weather forecast for Sunday, 7th April is 17° C with sunshine. I suggest you visit the Niederhäuser Weinfrühling in the Nahe. For the English language story please scroll down.   

Seit ich Anfang März 2019 angefangen habe für Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) als Riesling Ambassador zu arbeiten, haben mir zahlreiche Menschen zwei bohrende Fragen gestellt. Erstens: Warum haben sie plötzlich den freischaffenden Weinjournalismus gegen die Arbeit für ein Weingut gewechselt? Zweitens: Warum ausgerechnet die Nahe? Die erste Frage verdient eine ausführliche Antwort und ich bitte um etwas Geduld. Die kurze Antwort darauf ist, dass ich wenig Zukunft in der Art von Journalismus, die ich die letzten zwanzig Jahre gepflegt habe, gesehen habe. Die zweite Frage können Sie selber beantworten, indem Sie am kommenden Sonntag, den 7. April den Niederhäuser Weinfrühling besuchen und diesen Teil der Nahe persönlich kennenlernen.

Meine persönliche Antwort auf die zweite Frage ist Liebe. Als ich 1984-86 anfing die Nahe zu besuchen, habe ich mich hoffnungslos in dieses Gebiet verliebt. Schnell habe ich einen Draht zu den damals bedeutenden Figuren an der Nahe, wie Hans and Dr. Peter Crusius von Weingut Crusius in Traisen, Armin Diel von Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen, Helmut Dönnhoff von Weingut Dönnhoff in Oberhausen und Dr. Werner Hofäcker, den Direktor der Staatlichen Weinbaudomäne in Niederhausen (heute GHB) gefunden. Sie haben mich immer wieder zurück an die Nahe gezogen und schrittweise habe ich entdeckt, was diese Gegend so besonders macht. Die Nahe hat nur 4.205 Hektar Weinberge, ist aber ein ziemlich komplexes Gebiet mit einer erstaunlichen klimatischen und geologischen Vielfalt. Diese Komplexität wäre vielleicht frustrierend, wenn es nicht zu solch einer großen Vielzahl von sagenhaften trockenen wie auch natürlichsüßen Weißweinen, Schaumweinen und auch Rotweinen führen würde. Zweifelsohne wird die Mehrheit der genialen Naheweinen aus der Riesling-Traube (28,6% der Gesamtrebfläche) gewonnen, aber Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) und Chardonnay spielen auch eine bedeutende Rolle an der Nahe.

Für mich ist GHB ein besonderer Teil dieser Welt des Weins und nicht nur weil 100% des 30 Hektar großen Weinbergsbesitzes des Hauses als VDP Grosse Lage klassifiziert sind. Das Gutshaus und seine Nebengebäude stehen zwischen GHBs 12,5 Hektar der Lage Kupfergrube und seiner 5,5 Hektar großen Monopollage Hermannsberg fast direkt oberhalb des Flusses. Drum herum liegen die Felsen und steilen bewaldeten Hänge in diesem wildromantischen Abschnitt des Tals. Aber sie müssen mir nicht glauben, kommen Sie einfach am nächsten Sonntag oder ein anderen Mal und schauen Sie sich das ganze von unserer Terrasse aus an. Dann sind Sie das Juwel in unserer Krone!

Das Beste an meiner neuen Rolle bei GHB ist die frappierende Weise, wie jeder der trockenen Rieslinge seine besondere Herkunft geschmacklich widerspiegelt. Das hat viel mit der harten Arbeit und Zielstrebigkeit von Winemaker Karsten Peter und dem Weinbergsverwalter Philipp Wolf zu tun, aber auch mit dem Wirken des ganzen Teams, unter Direktor Achim Kirchner und Jasper Reidel von der Besitzerfamilie. Wie Warren Winiarski, der Gründer von Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley/Kalifornien mir einmal gesagt hat: „Terroir ist taub bis jemand es entdeckt und einen Weg herausarbeitet über den es zum Ausdruck kommt.“ Jedes der führenden Weingüter der Nahe hat eine eigene Geschichte, wie ihnen das gelungen ist. Lernen sie das am kommenden Sonntag, den 7. April in Niederhausen und auf GHB kennen! (Fotos: Nathalie Schwartz)

#GHBistmeinDRC #7Terroirs #LieberNahealsFerne #Nahe #Riesling

Niederhäuser Weinfrühling

Since I started work for the Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) estate in Niederhausen/Nahe as Riesling Ambassador at the begining of March 2019 many people asked me two questions: Why switch from wine journalism to working for a wine producer? Why the Nahe? The first of these will require a lengthy answer at some point in the near future, but the quick version is that I don’t see a long-term future for the kind of wine journalism I dedicated myself to for the last twenty years. The second question is much easier to answer and you don’t even need to read the following to do so, just come to the Niederhäuser Weinfrühling next Sunday, 7th April in Niederhausen/Nahe and experience it for yourself.

My own answer to that second question is love. During my first trips to the Nahe in 1984 – 1986 I fell head over heels in love with this dramatic region and rapidly connected with several of the leading producers there. My contact with Hans and Dr. Peter Crusius of the Crusius estate in Traisen, Armin Diel of Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen, Helmut Dönnhoff of the Dönnhoff estate in Oberhausen and Dr. Werner Hofäcker of the Staatliche Weinbaudomäne in Niederhausen (GHB today) pulled me back again and again to find out ever more about what makes the Nahe so special. The fact is that although it only has 4,205 hectares of vineyards it is geologically and climatically diverse is crucial. That might be frustrating if it wasn’t for the fact that it leads to an astonishing diversity of wonderful dry white, sweet, sparkling and red wines. Yes, the Riesling grape (28.6% of the total vineyard area) gives the majority of the great wines of the Nahe, but Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) and Chardonnay all play important roles.

For me, GHB is a special part of this world of wine, and not only because 100% of its 30 hectares of vineyards are classified as VDP Grosse Lagen. GHB’s 12.5 hectares in the Kupfergrube site on two side of most of them lie directly around the complex of estate buildings, and the 5.5 hectare monopole Hermannsberg site lied on the other, the river Nahe forming the forth side. Beyond those vineyards lie the volcanic cliffs, and forested sleeps that make this section of the river valley breathtakingly beautiful. But don’t take my word for it. Come along to GHB on Sunday and experience for yourself the view from our terrace. Then you’ll be the jewel in our crown!

The best thing about my new role for GHB is the arresting way each of the wines dramatically reflects its place of origin. That has a great deal to do with the hard yet thoughtful work of winemaker Karsten Peter and vineyard manager Philipp Wolf, supported by the entire GHB team under director Achim Kirchner and including Jasper Reidel of the owning family. As the great Californian winemaker Warren Winiarski of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley said to me many years ago, „Terroir is mute until someone recognizes it and enables it to express itself.” Each of the leading producers of the Nahe has their own story of how they did that. Come and experience this for yourself on Sunday, 7th April in Niederhausen and at GHB! (Photos: Nathalie Schwartz)

#GHBismyDRC #7Terroirs #LoveNahe #Nahe #Riesling



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GHB Diary 2/2019 – Revolutionary „7 Terroirs“ Wine from Gut Hermannsberg Launched at 2019 ProWein Trade Fair


The revolutionary white wine 7 Terroirs from Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) estate winery in Niederhausen/Nahe is launched on the 17th-19th March, 2019 at the ProWein trade fair in Düsseldorf/Germany. The dry Riesling from the 2018 vintage redefines and reinvents the Estate Riesling category so crucial for Germany. Each of those wines is named after the estate winery that produced it and they are normally blends of wines from several different vineyard sites. Since the category was launched with the 1985 vintage they have introducing an entire generation of global wine drinkers to German Riesling by simplifying labels and offering attractive and harmonious flavours (usually in a dry style). With 7 Terroirs the next stage in their development begins. For a first taste go to ProWein hall 14, stand E46

Ein revolutionärer Wein namens „7 Terroirs“ von Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) in Niederhausen/Nahe feiert am 17.-19. März 2019 auf der ProWein in Düsseldorf Premiere. Der 2018er Riesling trocken definiert die wichtige Kategorie Gutsweine neu. Gutsweine sind meistens trockene, rebsortenreine Weine, die Cuvées aus verschiedenen Weinbergslagen sind. Es gibt sie in Deutschland seit dem Jahrgang 1985 und sie haben seitdem enorm geholfen gute deutsche Weine einem neuen Publikum zugänglich und attraktiv zu machen. Jetzt geht ihre Entwicklung in die nächste Phase und die Qualität wird dabei nochmals gesteigert. Erste Verkostung: ProWein Halle 14, Stand 46 

Many Estate Rieslings from leading German producers contain some wine from top vineyard sites, but which of them comes 100% from top vineyard sites? Until recently that wasn’t the idea behind the category, but that’s exactly what the 2018 7 Terroirs from GHB is! As the name says, it is a blend of dry Riesling from the 7 VDP Grosse Lage (or “Grand Cru”) vineyard sites in which GHB has holdings. In fact, 100% of the estate’s 30 hectares of vineyards holdings are in these top sites: Hermannsberg (Monopoly), Steinberg und Klamm in Niederhausen; Kupfergrube (12 hectares!) und Felsenberg in Schlossböckelheim; Bastei in Traisen; Rotenberg in Altenbamberg.

Viele Gutrieslinge von führenden deutschen Weingütern enthalten etwas Wein aus Spitzenlagen aber welcher stammt zu 100% aus Spitzenlagen? Bisher war das nicht die Idee hinter dieser Kategorie, aber genau das ist der 2018 „7 Terroirs“ Riesling trocken von GHB! Wie der Name schon sagt, handelt es sich um einen Cuvée aus den 7 VDP Große Lagen, (oder auch „Grand Crus“) wo GHB Weinberge besitzt. 100% des 30 Hektar großen Weinbergbesitzes des Hauses liegt in folgenden Lagen: Hermannsberg (Monopol), Steinberg und Klamm in Niederhausen; Kupfergrube (12 Hektar!) und Felsenberg in Schlossböckelheim; Bastei in Traisen; Rotenberg in Altenbamberg.

It is frequently claimed that certain wines have a mineral taste, but often consumers find it hard figuring out just what that special taste is. The steep vineyards of GHB all have stony soils that were weathered from volcanic melaphry and rhyolite, of from metamorphic slate. Since generations experts have talked about the special taste of the Riesling wines from these sites. 7 Terroirs is an excellent example of this, offering intense smoky minerality, racy acidity and juicy grapefruit character for a friendly price: just Euro 11,90 to private customers in Germany. The 100% wild-fermented (without cultured yeast added) wine will be bottled shortly and interest is already great.

Häufig wird behauptet, dass bestimmte Weine „mineralisch“ sind, doch allzu oft suchen die Konsumenten vergeblich nach dem sogenannten besonderen Geschmack. Die Hang- und Steillagenweinberge von GHB haben ausnahmslos steinige Böden, die aus verwittertem vulkanischen Melaphyr und Rhyolith, sowie metamorphischen Schiefergestein bestehen. Schon vor Generationen wurde der besondere Geschmack der Riesling-Weine aus diesen Lagen von Fachleuten gefeiert und genau das findet man im „7 Terroirs“ wieder. Der 100% spontanvergorene (ohne Zusatz gezüchteter Hefen) Wein hat eine sehr ausgeprägte rauchig-mineralische Note, viel Rasse und eine wunderbare Saftigkeit für den freundlichen Endverbraucherpreis von Euro 11,90. Die Abfüllung folgt im späten März aber das Interesse ist schon sehr groß.

Stuart Pigott

#GHBismyDRC / #GHBistmeinDRC



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GHB Diary 1/2019 – The Lost World of the Rotenberg – Die verlorene Welt des Rotenbergs


I just started as Riesling Ambassador for the Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) estate in Niederhausen/Nahe and, of course, I spent some time getting to know my new desk, where I wrote and translated a row of texts for the fast approaching ProWein trade fair in Düsseldorf. However, I also discovered lost world of wine.

Vor wenigen Tagen habe ich angefangen als Riesling Ambassador für Gut Hermannsberg (GHB) in Niederhausen/Nahe zu arbeiten. Ich habe natürlich einige Zeit an meinem neuen Schreibtisch verbracht, wo ich Texte für die bevorstehende ProWein-Messe geschrieben und übersetzt habe. Ich habe aber auch eine verlorene Welt für mich entdeckt.

It started during an extensive tasting of the current range of GHB wines, plus fast approaching additions to that range from the exceptional 2018 vintage. “Rotenberg,” said winemaker Karsten Peter softly as he poured me the first of the 2017 GGs, a dry Rieslings from the Rotenberg site. It was not the most breath-taking wine of the tasting, but it was extremely striking thanks to its smoked bacon character. Smoke is what I associate with the red Syrah grape and I never tasted a Riesling like this before! It was married to ripe peach aroma that the intense mineral character and strident acidity were beautifully balanced.

Das fing bei einer Verkostung der aktuellen Weine an, sowie auch die bald dazu kommenden Gewächse des herausragenden Jahrgangs 2018. “Rotenberg” sagte mir Winemaker Karsten Peter leise, als er mir der erste von den 2017er GGs des Hauses, einen trockenen Riesling aus der Lage Rotenberg. Es war nicht der atemberaubendste Wein der Verkostung aber er stach heraus mit seiner Räucherspecknote. Dieses Aroma assoziiere ich normalerweise mit Rotweinen der Traubensorte Syrah. So was habe ich bei einem Riesling noch nie erlebt! Und es war mit genug Pfirsichfrucht gepaart um die mineralische Note und betonte Säure wunderbar zu balancieren.

GHB has a reputation for charging rather serious prices for their top wines, at least within the moderately priced context of the Nahe region that is. However, the 2017 Rotenberg GG is just Euro 26 to private customers direct from the estate, or just over half of the Euro 48 that the breath-taking 2016 Kupfergrube GG costs. This is because the Rotenberg is nowhere near as famous as the legendary Kupfergrube, and this remarkable wine therefore sometimes get’s overlooked. I’d always liked the Rotenberg wines, but never really “got” them before. Now I really do, and the fact they’re underdogs also makes them appeal to me!

GHB hat der Ruf, recht hohe Preise für seine Spitzenweine zu verlangen – zumindest innerhalb des eher günstigen Kontexts der Nahe. Mit Euro 26 für Privatkunden ab Hof kostet der 2017er Rotenberg GG nur etwas mehr als die Hälfte des großartigen 2016er Kupfergrube GGs (Euro 48). Die Lage Rotenberg ist unbekannt in Vergleich mit der legendären Kupfergrube und deswegen wird sie manchmal übersehen. Ich habe die Rotenberg-Weine immer gemocht aber erst vor wenigen Tagen richtig geschnallt. Ihr Underdog-Status macht sie für mich auch anziehend!


Then, Karsten Peter took me on a long vineyard tour that ended in the Rotenberg. Suddenly, Karsten’s jeep pulled up at the edge of the hill country into which the Alsenz Valley is deeply cut. With not quite 30 hectares of vineyards it is composed of a series of steep and rugged islands of vines surrounded by woodland and scrub, the later on the slopes where vineyards used to be. No doubt the season accentuated the wildness of the place and it reminded me of a painting by Bruegel. On a distant hill stood a castle. Of course, we’re in The Real Germany!

Dann nahm mich Karsten Peter mit auf eine lange Weinbergstour, dessen Endziel der Rotenberg war. Plötzlich hielt sein Jeep an der oberen Kante des engen Alsenztals in das wir hinab blickten. Nicht ganz 30 Hektar Weinbau gibt es noch hier. Es gibt eine Reihe von steilen und schroffen Rebinseln, umgegeben von Wald und Gestrüpp (letzteres auf den Hängen wo es mal Weinberge gegeben hat). Zweifelsohne hat die Jahreszeit die Wildheit dieser Landschaft betont. Es erinnerte mich an ein Landschaftsgemälde von Bruegel. Auf einem Berg in der Ferne stand eine Burg. Selbstverständlich! Wir sind doch im wahren unverbrauchten Deutschland!


We climbed out of the jeep and as I vainly tried to get a sharp photograph of him in the blustering wind Karsten showed me bedrock where it was exposed at the side of the road. It is composed of red volcanic rhyolite with a small amount of what local winemakers call Tonschiefer, or clay slate. It made me think of the surface of Mars! Together with this precipitous south-facing slope, it surely leads to that special personality of the wines. GHB has almost 3 hectares of Riesling planted in the Rotenberg and the ground has been cleared and prepared to plant another 1 hectare, because we believe in it. Considering I never had a bottle of Rotenberg Riesling in my extensive cellar I’d say it counts as a lost world of wine!

Wir stiegen aus dem Jeep und als ich vergeblich versuchte ein scharfes Bild von Karsten, trotz heftigem Wind zu knipsen, zeigte er mir den Fels, wo er an der Straßenkante freigelegt ist. Er besteht vorwiegend aus rötlichem vulkanischen Rhyolit mit etwas Tonschiefer. Es hat mich an die Marsoberfläche erinnert! Zusammen mit diesem nach Süden exponierten Steilsthang, führt es zu diesem besonderen Wesen des Weins. GHB besitzt fast 3 Hektar Reben hier und wird bald noch 1 Hektar dazu pflanzen, weil wir daran glauben. In Anbetracht der Tatsache, dass ich nie eine Flasche Rotheberg in meinem weitläufigen Weinkeller hatte, würde ich sagen, es ist eine wahre verlorene Welt des Weins!




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