Friday, March 22, 2019

Tour and Tasting (including from Barrel) at Tertre Rôteboeuf, Saint Emilion, with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile, France – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2018)

Pictures: Tour and Tasting (including from Barrel) at Tertre Rôteboeuf, with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile, France – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2018)

Following a wonderful Wine-pairing Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland, GM Benoit Prévot and Chef Frédéric Bozzo - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France, we drove back to Saint Emilion of a visit of Tertre Rôteboeuf with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile.

Tertre Rôteboeuf Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile is a maverick, whose wines have become very expensive; unusually in this price category, he does not sell his wines through the “Place de Bordeaux” system.

Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile was our host at Tertre Rôteboeuf.

Pictures: Major Article about François Mitjavile in a Recent Vigneron Issue

Tour and Tasting

We started the tour in the garden of Tertre Rôteboeuf, with a magnificient view of the vineyards of Tertre Rôteboeuf, before going into the cellar to taste from bottle and from barrel.

We met a very articulate and eloquent winemaker, a very cultivated person and a passionate communicator, who likes to illustrate what he wants to say about his wine with parallels from music, art and philosophy.

Pictures: Welcome

Tertre Rôteboeuf

Tertre Rôteboeuf is one of the finest châteaux in Saint-Emilion. Yet, relatively unknown. Why? First, it is not in the prestigious group of classified châteaux, although its wines are clearly in the same league as those wines that are made by châteauxx that are classified. And, François Mitjavile does not sell his wines through the Place de Bordeaux, but has his own distribution channels. Nor is he a member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux (UGCB). This is as far as I know unique for a Bordeaux producer who is able to sell his wines at a price level at which François Mitjavile does. Obviously, François Mitjavile is far away from St. Emilion mainstream. He does not bother to be included in the prestigious Saint-Emilion classification, he does not sell his wines through the Place de Bordeaux nor does he care about a UGCB membership.

25 years ago, Tertre Rôteboeuf was unknown. But since then, Tertre Rôteboeuf has become a cult wine producer in St. Emilion and the price of Tertre Rôteboeuf has gone up significantly.

Tertre Rôteboeuf looks a bit garagiste - a small estate with a vigneron house build in the 18th century lovingly tended by Miloute and François Mitjavile, two kilometers south-east of the village of Saint-Emilion, not far from Château Troplong Mondot and Château Larcis Ducasse.

Pictures: Talking about the Tertre Rôteboeuf Vineyards

History

The origins of Tertre Rôteboeuf lie with a vineyard named Le Tertre that was owned by François Mitjavile's late father-in-law. After he passed away in 1961, the property was inherited by his daughter Miloute. She leased it to her cousins, who owned Château Bellefond-Belcier.

Meanwhile, François Mitjavile was working at his family's successful haulage business. He decided to change course in life and try his hand at winemaking.

Between 1975 and 1977, he went through the school of Château Figeac. When he returned to Le Tertre after the 2 year apprenticeship, he suffixed Rôteboeuf (its literal translation is the unsavory "hill of the belching beef").

1978 was the first vintage that François Mitjavile made entirely by himself. His breakthrough on the wine scene was with the 1985 vintage. Since the 1994 vintage, he removed the word “Châteaux” from the label of his wines.

Pictures: In the Cellar

The Wines

The limestone based vineyards of Tertre Rôteboeuf (5.7 ha) are planted with 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The Merlot vines are on average 45 years old, while the Cabernet Franc ones are 5 years older.

François Mitjavile's winemaking approach: He picks the grapes as late as possible and maintains low yields. The wine stays on the skins for a long time and is aged in 100% new oak barrels for 18 to 24 months. The very late harvest combined with long alcoholic fermentation and extraction at 35°C results in a voluptuous, full-bodied, and very complex wine. Super-ripe Merlot is the key.

The estate does not produce a second wine.

Wine Searcher Average Prices: Tertre Rôteboeuf

2015 US$229
2010 US$277
2005 US$368
2000 US$342

Roc des Cambes in Cotes de Bourg

Roc de Cambes is a Côtes de Bourg estate and one of the finest producer in the appellation today. François Mitjavile bought it in 1988.

There are 12 hectares of vines, planted with 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. The soil is a blend of chalk and clay. Vines are on average 50 years old. The grapes are harvested as late as possible, and are then vinified in temperature controlled cement vats.

When François Mitjavile bought Roc de Cambes, it was in quite bad shape. But in just a few years, François Mitjavile made Roc de Cambes one of the top producers of the Côtes de Bourg. The second wine labeled - Domaine de Combes - comes under the basic Bordeaux appellation.

Domaine de l’Aurage

Domaine de l’Aurage is the most recent addition of the Mitjavile family. Francois’s son Louis Mitjavile is completely in charge (with his wife Caroline Mitjavile) of the estate. The vineyard area totals 18 hectares, with 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Annual production is around 7,500 cases.

What we Tasted in the Wine Cellar

2017 Tertre Rôteboeuf (from barrel)
2016 Tertre Rôteboeuf (from barrel)
2015 Tertre Rôteboeuf (from bottle)
1999 Roc des Cambes (from bottle)

Pictures: Tasting with François Mitjavile in the Cellar of Tertre Rôteboeuf

Bye-bye

Thank you very much François Mitjavile for a phantastic event.

Picture: Bye-bye

Total Immersion in Bordeaux: World Class Wines and Exquisite French Gourmet Cuisine - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France (Published and Forthcoming Postings)

Total Immersion in Bordeaux: World Class Wines and Exquisite French Gourmet Cuisine - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Total Immersion in Bordeaux: World Class Wines and Exquisite French Gourmet Cuisine - Bordeaux Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Tour and Tasting at Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Cru Classé de Grave - Bordeaux Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Dinner with a View: At Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City - An Update

Schiller’s Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France - An Update

Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction

How Does the Negociant System in Bordeaux Work? Tour and Tasting at Millésima - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

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Lunch at Restaurant La Terrasse Rouge, Château La Dominique, Appellation Saimt-Emilion, Grand Cru Classé - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Tour and tasting at Château Clos Fourtet, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France

Tour and Tasting at Château La Conseillante, Appellation Pomerol, with General Manager/ Winemaker Marielle Cazaux - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Wine-pairing Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland, GM Benoit Prévot and Chef Frédéric Bozzo - Bordeaux Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Visit and Tasting (including from Barrel) at Château Tertre-Rôteboeuf, Appellation Saint-Emilion, with Owner/ Winemaker François Mitjavile

Visit of an Ultra-premium Non-mainstream Bordeaux Producer: Tertre Rôteboeuf, with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile, France – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tour and Lunch at Château Climens, Appellation Barsac-Sauterne, Première Grand Cru Classé, with Owner/ Winemaker Bérénice Lurton

Visiting and Tasting at Château Climens, Barsac-Sauternes, Première Grand Cru Classé en 1855 - Bordeaux Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours, France

Visit and Tasting: Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Wine pairing lunch at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion

Tour, Tasting and Wine Lunch at a Petit Château and Organic Producer: Château Beauséjour – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

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Schiller's Favorite Seafood Restaurants in Arcachon and Cap Ferret (Bassin d'Arcachon/ Bordeaux)

Oysters in Bordeaux: Visiting the Oyster Farmer Raphael Doerfler and his Earl Ostrea Chanca Oyster Farm in Grand Piquey/ Bassin d'Arcachon - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017, France

Lunch at Pinasse Café, Cap Ferret, Bassin d'Arcachon - Bordeaux Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours, France

The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France

What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France

Visit and Tasting at Château La Tour de Bessan, Appellation Margaux, Cru Bourgois, with Owner/ Winemaker Marie-Laure Lurton

Tour and Tasting at Château Durfort-Vivens, Appellation Margaux, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, with Pauline Lurton

Tour and Tasting at Château Pichon Longueville Baron in Pauillac - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017 France

Wine-Pairing Lunch at Château Pichon Longueville Baron in Pauillac - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017 France

Visit and Tasting at Château Ormez de Pez, Appellation Saint-Estèphe

How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017, France

Tour and Tasting, including from Barrel, at Château Lafon-Rochet, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Basile Tesseron

Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, 4ème Grand Cru Classé St-Estèphe, with Vineyard Manager Anaïs Maillet - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017, France

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Tour and Family-style Dinner at Château Le Reysse and Château Lassus, Vignobles Paeffgen, Appellation Médoc, Owner/ Winemaker Stefan Paeffgen and Heike Paeffgen

Tour, Barrel Tasting and Family Dinner with Stefan and Heike Paeffgen, Château Le Reysse and Château Lassus, Vignobles Paeffgen, Appellation Médoc - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017, France

Tour and Tasting at Château Léoville-Barton, Appellation Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, and Château Langoa-Barton,Appellation Saint-Julien, 3ème Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Pique-nique Style Lunch at Château Lascombes, Appellation Margaux, 2ième Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Gourmet Dinner with Wine-pairing at Château Haut-Bailly, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin

Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2017, France&nbs

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Riesling & Friends: Massive German Wine Tasting with the Derek Vinnicombe Group at Arrowine in Arlington, USA

Pictures: Riesling & Friends: Massive German Wine Tasting with the Derek Vinnicombe Group at Arrowine in Arlington, USA

Derek Vinnicombe, wine broker and US importer of German wine, was back in town with a group of about a dozen winemakers belonging to his portfolio. He comes every year in March for a tour of the USA. This year, a massive portfolio tasting took place at Arrowine of Doug Rosen in Arlington/ Virginia.

Pictures: Arrowine in Arlington and Owner Doug Rosen

Immediately following the event, I released a series of pictures on facebook. Here is Derek Vinnicombe's comment:

"A big thanks to our US Ambassador for "Riesling & friends", Christian Schiller. It was a great Sunday event with Doug Rosen and his team at Arrowine. A full house and indeed a "massive" interest for fine estate wines from Germany, be it red or white, dry or fuity-style. Although... the interest for dry wines from Germany has increased significantly. All dry wines sold out that day in the store! More coming... #Riesling2019"

Thanks Derek for these kind words.

Derek Vinnicombe's Group in 2019 in Washington DC

This year, Derek came with the following winemakers to Washington DC:

Owner Paul Christian Anheuser of Weingut Paul Anheuser #nahe
Winemaker Achim Eberle of Weingut Fitz-Ritter & Sektkellerei Fitz KG #pfalz
Owner Ulrich Allendorf Weingut Allendorf #rheingau
General Manager Maximilian Ferger of Weingut Dr. Thanisch, Erben Müller-Burggraef
Owner/ Winemaker Tilbert Nägler of Weingut Dr. Heinrich Nägler #rheingau
Owner/ Winemaker Frank Heyden of Weingut Dr. Heyden, Oppenheim #rheinhessen
Owner/ Winemaker Jobst Karp of Weingut Karp-Schreiber #mosel
Owner/ Winemaker Volker Schäfer of Weingut Schäfer in Mettenheim #rheinhessen

Derek Vinnicombe

Derek Vinnicombe was, as he puts it, raised “on the bottle”, and thus followed the family tradition. William Frederick Vinnicombe, his great-great-grandfather, established a wine merchants company in Torquay (England) back in 1857. After completing college, studying German, Chemistry and French, Derek joined the Landes Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Weinbau und Kellerwirtschaft in Veitshöchheim near the city of Würzburg in Germany. The appreciation of fine German wines began. Following practical experience in Germany and Switzerland, he became a wine-broker and later established his own company in 1985, concentrating on the finer wines from Germany.

Picture: Derrek Vinnicombe Pouring at Arrowine

The winemakers spend about 10 days in the USA annually and visit the large cities to promote their wine. Tastings at wine stores, wine dinners, shows with sales representatives and so on takes this group from Washington DC to New York, Chicago and to other centers.

In previous years in the Washington DC area, there were several tastings as well as winemaker dinners. As far as I know, the tasting at Arrowine was the only event in the Washington DC area this year. Following the tasting, they all went to the airport to fly back home.

Picture: Annette Schiller and Derek Vinnicombe in Mainz/ Germany. See: Rheinhessen Cru Wines (Lagenweine) 2014 Tasting in Mainz, Germany

The Estates

Owner Paul Christian Anheuser of Weingut Paul Anheuser #nahe

2017 Weingut Paul Anheuser Kreuznacher Hinkelstein Riesling Kabinett Trocken US$16.99
2017 Weingut Paul Anheuser Blanc de Noir Pinot Noir  US$15.99

Pictures: Owner Paul Christian Anheuser of Weingut Paul Anheuser #nahe

The Anheuser's family tree dates back to the year 1627 when an Anheuser lived in Kreuznach and was known as an owner of vineyards. At the end of the 19th Century, Rudolf Anheuser extended the vineyards of the estate beyond the boundaries of the town of Bad Kreuznach (Bad being the designation for a spa town, famous for its waters and healthy climate) and was the first grower in the Nahe region to start the cultivation of vineyards planted just with Riesling. Indeed, one of the Anheusers immigrated to the States to start brewing beer in St.Louis, meeting with moderate success... Rudolf's son Paul continued the family wine tradition in Bad Kreuznach, and today Rudolf and Paul are the 14th generation to own and manage the estate. They are ably assisted by their mother, Dorothee. The estate is small enough to be worked and kept under complete control of the family.

The vineyards, spread out along the Nahe valley, offer a wide variety of characteristic wines, reflecting the influence of the different soil structures, such as porphyr or red sandstone, and the varying macroclimates, especially on the upper Nahe with its steep rocky formations and cooler macroclimate. In fact, two of these single sites are solely owned by the Anheusers, namely Pfingstweide in Niederhausen and in den Felsen (in the rocks!) in Schlossboeckelheim. 80% of the vines are planted on steep or sloping sites which means plenty of manual labour throughout the year, apart from the vintage time itself with hand-picking.The wines mature in old oak casks in cool underground vaulted cellars. Recent vintages typify the regional charming character of Nahe wines, marked by fine crisp acidity, mineral flavours and plenty of concentration; fuller bodied than Mosel and livelier than Rheinhessen wines. Despite old traditions, new innovative wines have been recently introduced, with a larger percentage of dry-style wines, such as the dry Blanc de Noir, classified as white wine and produced 100% from Pinot Noir. The Stelvin closure has been introduced for most of the wines, including Spätlese.

Winemaker Achim Eberle of Weingut Fitz-Ritter & Sektkellerei Fitz KG #pfalz

2017 Weingut Fitz-Ritter Gewürztraminer Spätlese US$24.99
NV Fitz-Ritter Sekt b.A. Extra Trocken US$19.99

Pictures: Winemaker Achim Eberle of Weingut Fitz-Ritter & Sektkellerei Fitz KG #pfalz

The Spa (english for Bad) town of Dürkheim, embedded into the foothills of the Palatinate forest, marks the heart of the fertile Middle Haardt region of the Pfalz. The area is especially favoured by a warm macroclimate in the broad Rhine valley, protected from cold winds by the bordering Pfalz hillsideforests. Countless almond trees can thus flourish between the vineyards, their delicate pink blossom heralding the end of the winter.

The Fitz-Ritter family estate dates back to 1785 and is today owned and managed by the 9th generation in succession, Johann Fitz. Konrad Fitz and his wife Alice, have now retired, but are still actively involved. Konrad's predecessors made names for themselves in theirera, one being a member of the first German Parliament in the Pauls Church in Frankfurt, while another was the spokesman for the vintners at the Hambach Festival of 1832, which is accredited as being the first hour of German democracy. The old estate mansion with its courtyard, underground cellars and surrounding garden (rare trees include the oldest and largest Ginkgo Biloba in Germany) provide a suitable birthplace for fine wines. The Abtsfronhof vineyard, formerly belonging to the Abbey, is indeed solely owned by the estate and is situated near the Spa town park and salines. The long period of vegetation and fertile soil in thisarea enable the grapes to fully ripen, even in lesser years. Yields are kept moderately low at the estate to produce aromatic, full-bodied and well-structured rich wines with good concentration of taste.

Picture: Owner Alice Fitz of Weingut Fitz Ritter with Board Members of the German Wine Society in Washington DC in 2010. See: Wine Caravan from Germany Visiting the US East Coast: Dr. Fischer, Fitz Ritter, Bollig-Lehnert, Schneider, Dr. Thanisch

Johann has turned the entire estate to organic farming since the 2008 vintage with European certification due for the 2012 crop. The yields have thus decreased considerably with a higher benchmark quality. Ideal conditions in the vineyards for the spicy and full-bodied Gewürztraminer withits delicate rosebud aroma, but also for Riesling, producing wines with less tartness and more body than the comparatively light Mosel Riesling wines. The estate also houses one of the oldest sparkling wine producers in Germany. It was founded as the Dürkheim Champagne Factory in 1837 by Johann Fitz, who after being forced into exile following his outspoken involvement at the Hambach Festival in 1832, spent time in Reims/Champagne before returning home

Owner Ulrich Allendorf of Weingut Allendorf #rheingau

2017 Weingut Allendorf Kabinett Riesling US$21.99
2015 Weingut Allendorf Jesuitengarten Riesling GG Trocken US$49.99

Pictures: Owner Ulrich Allendorf of Weingut Allendorf #rheingau

Weingut Allendorf is a well-respected wine estate in Oestrich Winkel in the heart of the Rheingau. Producing wine has a long tradition in the family: Knight Kraft von Allendorf was mentioned in 1222. In 1773, Philipp Anton von Allendorf married a daughter of a local wine grower and the family started making wine. Notwithstanding the long tradition, in 1955, Fritz Allendorf, the father of Ulrich Allendorf, owned only 1,5 hectares of vineyard.

Today, the family owns 60 hectares and is one of the largest family-owned wineries in Germany. Weingut Allendorf is led by Ulrich Allendorf and his sister Christel Schönleber; her husband Josef Schönleber and their son Max Shönleber are the winemakers.

Picture: Christian Schiller with Ulrich Allendorf at Weingut Allendorf. See: Lighting and the Flavor of Wine - With Winemaker Ulrich Allendorf in his Aroma Vineyard and Color Room at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel, Rheingau, Germany

Weingut Allendorf’s vinyards include Hinterkirch and Höllenberg (Assmannshausen), Mäuerchen, Mönchspfad (Geisenheim), Klosterberg and Lenchen (Oestrich), Berg Roseneck, Berg Rottland (Rüdesheim), as well as Hasensprung and Jesuitengarten (Winkel). Annual production is around 500.000 bottles. The grape varieties are Riesling (75%), Chardonnay and Spätburgunder.

Weingut Allendorf is a member of the VDP, the association of elite winemakers in Germany.

General Manager Maximilian Ferger of Weingut Dr. Thanisch, Erben Müller-Burggraef

2015 Weingut Dr. Thanisch Erben Müller-Burggraef Spätlese Trocken US$34.99
2017 Weingut Dr. Thanisch Erben Müller-Burggraef Riesling Feinherb US$16.99
2017 Weingut Dr. Thanisch Erben Müller-Burggraef Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett US$26.99

Pictures: General Manager Maximilian Ferger of Weingut Dr. Thanisch, Erben Müller-Burggraef

The wine-growing tradition of the Thanisch family can be traced back more than 350 years. In 1636, the namewas mentioned for the first time in the registers of Bernkastel. The quality of the family ́s wines soon extended their excellent reputation far beyond the Mosel valley. At the end of the 18th Century, the Thanisch family acquired the Berncasteler Doctor vineyard, a very steep site with deep devon slate structure, situated behind and overlooking the rooftops of the quaint old town of Bernkastel. A vineyard that is still today planted with ungrafted original Riesling vines.

Picture: Derek Vinnicombe, Barbara Rundquist, Owner, Weingut Dr. H. Thanisch - Erben Mueller-Burggraef, and Christian Schiller at Lyon Hall, Washington DC/ Arlington in 2018. See: Winemaker Dinner with the Wines of World Renowned Weingut Wwe. Dr. H. Thanisch - Erben Mueller-Burggraef and the Food of Executive Chef Paul Stearman at Lyon Hall, Washington DC/ Arlington

The Doctor name originated from a legend about Prince Boemond II of Trier who fell sick and then was cured by a wine from this vineyard, after his physicians had failed to find a remedy. Without doubt, the Doctor vineyard is the mostv aluable and most famous German site, not only due to its apparent medicinal powers. The Dr. Thanisch estate (the heirs Müller-Burggraef) includes 16 hectares (40 acres) of best sites in the middle Mosel valley.International reputation was gained in the mid-19th Century under the management of Dr Hugo Thanisch, and his widow continued the tradition, whereby the estate has kept the name, Witwe ( = widow of) Dr. H. (Hugo) Thanisch. From that time on, Thanisch wines fetched spectacular prices at international auctions. In 1986 abottle of 1921 Berncasteler Doctor fetched the incredible sum of 11200 DM. This was a bottle of the first Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese ever produced in the Mosel valley. The bottles had been hidden, together withother rarities, during WW2, and found by chance in 1959: a former employee, who knew about the hiding place, approached the estate manager of that time and asked about these wines. The bottles were found behind a double wall. This unique and rare treasure can still be viewed today in the Doctor cellar, but is not available for tasting!

Picture: Christian Schiller at the Doctorkeller in Bernkastel-Kues. See: The Wines of the Bernkasteler Doctor, Bernkastel-Kues in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Striving for the highest quality is still the standard philosophy at the Dr.Thanisch estate. Barbara Rundquist (née Müller), who had inherited the estate from her aunt, has retired in 2018, and the Willkomm family is dedicated to continue the tradition. A part of this quality is due to the Doctor Cellar which is hewn deep into the rocks beneath the vineyard. Here the Doctor Rieslings are matured in tradional old oak Fuder casks at a constant year-round temperature of 8 C (45 F).

Sustainable agriculture, avoiding insecticides and herbicides with careful vineyard management, strict pruning and hand-selecting grapes add to the quality picture. A new modern facility was built in Bernkastel-Andel, just in time to process and cellar the 2017 harvest. The gentle production process is not rushed, and wines are not bottled until sufficient maturity has been reached. The dry-style estate Riesling and standard Kabinett are sealed with Stelvin, but best natural corks are still used for Spätlese &Auslese, as also for the Doctor wines

Owner/ Winemaker Tilbert Nägler of Weingut Dr. Heinrich Nägler #rheingau

2015 Weingut Dr. Nägler Rüdesheimer Steinkaut Riesling Trocken US$19.99
2017 Weingut Dr. Nägler Rüdesheimer Bischofsberg Riesling Kabinett US$21.99

Pictures: Owner/ Winemaker Tilbert Nägler of Weingut Dr. Heinrich Nägler #rheingau

It is the South-facing slope, rising steeply from the bank of the Rhine up into the Taunus hillside where viticulture is most demanding in the Rheingau. Protected by both the river and the forests at the top of the hillside, the stony quartzite and slate soil is an ideal environment for vines. First plantings can be traced back to 1031 on this hillside, and it is here that Friedrich Nägler began cultivating vines in 1826. The reknowned Berg (mountain) in Rüdesheim is split into three single vineyards, Rottland, Schlossberg and Roseneck.

The Nägler estate has ownership in all three parts of this outstanding, steep vineyard slope. A total of 21 acres are today cultivated by Tilbert Nägler who inherited the estate from Dr Heinrich Nägler. Modern technology has found its way into the ancient vaulted cellar, and the hand-crafted Riesling wines are now fermented and matured in stainless steel, combining if necessary with old oak. In relation to the large estates in the Rheingau, this small, family-run estate can focus on producing individual wines with pronounced character, to fully reflect their heritage and terroir. The yields are low on that steep slope, leading to wines with great concentration of flavours, and fine maturing potential.

Pictures: Touring the Rüdesheimer Berg. See: Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir

The emphasis is on the individual wine as in former times, and not the designated predicate level which is printed on the back label, i.e. the label specimen below refers to his dry Spätlese from the Schlossberg site, or the Kabinett from the Bischofsberg. Although many of the wines are fermented dry, or feinherb (dry-style) with just a hint of background natural residual sugar to be versatile with fine cuisine, Tilbert Nägler also produces traditional fruity-style wines, as well as selected late-harvest Spätlese and Auslese. Berry-selected Beerenauslese also produced in great vintages, and his first Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese in 2011. Apart from Riesling, Pinot Noir (Spätburgunder) is cultivated in his Drachenstein (dragonstone) vineyard and produced by traditional mash fermentation, followed by maturing in old oak.

Owner/ Winemaker Frank Heyden of Weingut Dr. Heyden, Oppenheim #rheinhessen

2017 Weingut Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Sackträger Spätlese US19.99
2017 Weingut Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Sackträger Auslese US24.99

Pictures: Owner/ Winemaker Frank Heyden of Weingut Dr. Heyden, Oppenheim #rheinhessen

This is an exciting new estate, which has been established with the vineyards and assistance of Friedrich Baumann, who retired. The long-established Baumann estate had owned some of the best vineyards in Oppenheim. Dr Karl Heyden thus founded his estate in 1999 with his wife, Anita and their two sons, Frank and Harry. Frank completed his studies at the famous Geisenheim viticultural institute, and has already convinced the German critics. This young talented generation is already crafting great wines from these highly rated vineyards. Sadly, Karl Heyden died in 2005.

Traditional and meticulously detailed, sustainable cultivation of the vines with strict pruning, careful soil & foliage management, low yields and selective harvesting, are coupled with modern technology in the cellars, fermentation taking place in stainless steel under controlled temperature conditions. The terroir of the Oppenheim vineyard slope is limestone, and this is reflected in the character of the wines, giving a fine chalky minerality, especially with Riesling. The proximity to the river and the amphi-theatre slope on the edge of the Rhine valley, facing SSE, provide a great macroclimate.

The Sackträger is rated as one of the best sites in Rheinhessen. Although dry-style in taste, the Oppenheimer Riesling Kabinett (sourced from the Herrenberg & Kreuz) shows a fine, smooth balance with appealing peachy flavours. The Sackträger wines are even more complex with pronounced sweetness, as well as these typical juicy peach and apricot flavours from the rich limestone soil. Apart from fruity-style wines, Frank also produces a high percentage of dry wines, especially Silvaner from old vines. The Pinot Gris is harvested at a high Spätlese benchmark without Botrytis, fermented dry, but released as QbA. The Pinot Noirs are also harvested at similar high physiological ripeness, fermented traditionally on the mash, and matured in new and old oak for 12+ months. The free-run juice is also used in the cuvée with Portugieser to produce their appealing dry rosé. The majority of the wines are sealed with the Stelvin closure

Owner/ Winemaker Jobst Karp of Weingut Karp-Schreiber #mosel

2018 Weingut Karb Schreiber Brauneberg Juffer Riesling Kabinett Trocken US$18.99
2018 Weingut Karb Schreiber my Karp Riesling US$16.99

Pitures: Owner/ Winemaker Jobst Karp of Weingut Karp-Schreiber #mosel

The estate has been family-owned since 1664, and is today owned and managed by “JJ” Jobst-Julius Karp sincethe recent retirement of his father Alwin. “JJ” had completed viticultural studies and experience abroad, andsoon developed a passion to produce fine wines, having taken a responsible position at the estate since the2008 harvest. Riesling is cultivated on 15 acres of slate terroir, mostly steeply sloping, and including the “grandcru” Juffer-Sonnenuhr, the best part of the Juffer slope beneath the rock-face with its sundial (“Sonnenuhr”).Manual labour is the only alternative on that hillside, with selective hand-harvesting. Even the Romans discovered that this was one of the best sites to cultivate vines with its special macroclimate.Whilst excavating to replant, remanants of an old Roman pressing house and storage cellars were discovered atthe foot of the hillside.

Picture: In the Brauneberger Juffer-Sonnenuhr. See: Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir

The village of Brauneberg (“brown hillside”) is on the opposite bank of the Mosel, and the name Juffer dates from the 18th Century, said to relate to daughters of a vintner who never married, remaining virgins (Jungfer in German, or as dialect Jufe). The Karps maintain a very high benchmark quality, and the wines are very expressive, mineral-driven,concentrated, with a crisp structure and fine fruit. A high percentage of the production is bottled dry, wherebythe Auslese wines are harvested at Beerenauslese ripeness. The new label with a slate-coloured backgrounddepicts a carp fish (German for Karp) and a quill (German for Schreiber).

Owner/ Winemaker Volker Schäfer of Weingut Schäfer in Mettenheim #rheinhessen

2016 Weingut Schäfer Riesling US$15.99
2016 Weingut Schäfer Redsheep US$14.99

Pictures: Owner/ Winemaker Volker Schäfer of Weingut Schäfer in Mettenheim #rheinhessen

When travelling South along the Rhine, a short distance from Nierstein, it would be easy to miss thesmall, but quaint, old village of Mettenheim, on the edge of the broad Rhine valley, at the foot of therising slopes. The warm soil structure of loam, with underlayers of clay, in the Schlossberg slope, andsandy soil of the Goldberg offer excellent conditions for viticulture. It is here that the Schäfer family have been cultivating vines since 1709. Karl-Ludwig Schäfer, Volker’s father, was the first Pinot Noirenthousiast, and his son has followed this passion, introducing other classic red varietals to the estate,apart from Dornfelder. Volker, the young generation winemaker (vintage 1970), today manages the estate together with his father, ably assisted by his wife Frederike, and with the next generation, thetwo sons Phillip & Felix, the family tradition can continue into the future. New and spacious productionand cellar facilities have been built in 2015, completed “just in time” for the 2015 harvest.

A total of 9.5 hectares (24 acres) are cultivated, with main emphasis on red wines, which are maturedin old oak or to a small extent in new French or German barriques. Apart from traditional dry reds which have also undergone malolactic fermentation, the Schäfers also produce Pinot Noir in old oakwith a touch of residual sweetness; softer Pinots with low tannins and delicious, ripe strawberry flavours, ideal also with some of today’s modern cuisine. There is no rush at the estate, and the Pinotsare usually given at least 12 months to mature in wood before bottling. The white varietals, with a high percentage of Riesling, are produced in stainless steel tanks, fermented cool. The ripe fruit acidity is ideal for the production of crisp, dry whites. Volker also produces a delicious dry and aromatic whitecuvée from his Kanzler grapes, naming it Chancellor, the English for Kanzler.

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