Friday, August 31, 2012

Drinking RS Rheinhessen Silvaner - and other Wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz - with Alwin Schmitz - and other Members of the Mainzer Weingilde - at Weingut Alwin Schmitz in Mainz, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller, Alwin Schmitz and Bertram Verch, President of Weingilde Mainz

A few weeks ago, when I was in Germany, I was able to participate in one of the monthly or so events of the Weingilde Mainz, which is a wine brotherhood in Mainz, Germany. This time, we did a vineyard walk and then stopped at Weingut Alwin Schmitz, where we had dinner, with wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz. One of the wines we had was RS Rheinhessen Silvaner.

Weinrallye #54 Region im Glass – Region in the Glass

This posting is being published as part of the Weinrallye, a monthly blog event in Germany. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in Germany - are all releasing postings today under the heading “Region im Glass – Region in the Glass”. Weinrallye is the brainchild of Thomas Lippert, a winemaker and wine blogger based in Heidelberg, Germany. The first wine rally took place in 2007. Thomas Lippert is the author of the wine blog Winzerblog.

This month's wine rally is organized by the Weinreich Blog, which is run by the Rheinland-Pfalz Tourismus GmbH,  an institution that is charged with promoting the wine “Land” Rheinland-Pfalz. Six of Germany’s 13 wine regions are located in this State: Pfalz, Rheinhessen, Nahe, Mittelrhein, Mosel and Ahr, which combined account for 70 percent of German wine production.


Rheinhessen is the largest viticultural region in Germany. Every fourth bottle of German wine comes from Rheinhessen. About one third of Rheinhessen’s agricultural area is cultivated with vines, more than 26000 hectares. The high-yielder Mueller-Thurgau accounts for about 1/5 of the vineyards, and Silvaner and Dornfelder both for 1/10. Riesling is on the backburner. Unlike in other German wine regions, where monoculture of the vine is the norm, here the many rolling hills are host to a wide variety of crops grown alongside the grape. Rheinhessen also has the rather dubious honor of being considered the birthplace of Liebfraumilch.

Pictures: In the Vineyards of Rheinhessen with Bertram Verch, where the Weingilde Mainz has its own vineyard, which is under the supervision of Eva Vollmer. See:"Winemaker Eva Vollmer is Germany’s Discovery of the Year 2010" and "International Women's Day 2012: Meeting the Wine Amazones Tina Huff, Mirjam Schneider and Eva Vollmer of Mainz, Germany"

At the same time, Rheinhessen is at this time among Germany’s most interesting wine regions. A lot is happening there. This is not because of the terroir, but because of the people. There is an increasing group of young, ambitious and dynamic winemakers who want to produce and indeed do produce outstanding wine and not wines in large quantities.


The absolute classic among Rheinhessen's white wine varieties has been cultivated in Germany for over 350 years. Silvaner is a cross between Traminer x Österreich-Weiß. The first Silvaner vines in Germany were planted in Castell am Steigerwald. Not long after that they were found all throughout the country, and in the middle of the last century every second vine was a Silvaner - owing to its secure yields and reliability. For more than a century Rheinhessen has been the largest cultivation area for Silvaner in the world, with around 2,500 hectares.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Alwin Schmitz 

There is no „typical“ Silvaner, but rather a lot of room for innovation with various styles: fine filigree variations from stainless steel tanks and full-bodied, aromatic-creamy wines from large wooden barrels. Silvaner is a part of Rheinhessen's identity and is being increasingly taken up by its young and innovative vintners. With reduced yields and careful winemaking it really brings out the individual characteristics of whatever soil it grows in.

The RS Rheinhessen Silvaner

The RS Rheinhessen Silvaner is a kind of a brand that was created in the mid 1980 with a view of promoting Silvaner and Rheinhessen. It is supposed to be an expression of a Silvaner made in Rheinhessen. The wine has a clearly defined taste profile – it is a 100% Silvaner QbA with no more than 4 grams/liter residual sugar and a minimum acidity of 5 grams/liter. The RS Rheinessen Silvaner production is subject to strict quality controls.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller, Alwin Schmitz, another member of the Weingilde Mainz and Bertram Verch, President of Weingilde Mainz

The following wine producers currently make RS Rheinhessen Silvaner. They all use the same labels.

Arndt F. Werner – Ingelheim
Hubert Schreiber – Gundheim
Stefan Leber – Mainz-Hechtsheim
Anton Escher – Gau-Bischofsheim
Thorsten Eller – Oppenheim
Albert Ackermann – Harxheim
Roland Doll – Stadecken-Elsheim
Dominik Merl – Großwinternheim
Matthias Bungert – Ockenheim
Manuel Engelhard – Hillesheim
Hans-Jürgen Dexheimer – Saulheim
Alwin Schmitz – Mainz-Ebersheim
Simone Schmitt-Rieth – Mainz-Hechtsheim

Weingut Alwin Schmitz

Weingut Alwin Schmitz is a small, family-owned winery in Mainz-Ebersheim. Alwin’s Great Grandfather started to make wine in the 1890s. Weingut Alwin Schmitz is not one of the 1000 or so wineries that make it to the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland, but one of the say remaining 40.000 producers of very good wines in Germany at reasonable prices. The wine is all sold at the winery to wine drinkers who live in the area and buy their wines at local producers. Weingut Alwin Schmitz has a very nice tasting room.

Pictures: Weingut Alwin Schmitz

The vineyard area totals 3.9 hectares. Annual production stands at about 4000 cases. The top vineyard of Weingut Alwin Schmitz is the Zornheimer Mönchbäumchen

Wine Portfolio

The Wine Portfolio of Weingut Alwin Schmitz comprises about 36 items. Most of the wines are around 4 to 5 Euros. The 2010 RS Silvaner costs Euro 5,50. A 2010 Riesling Spaetlese trocken is available for Euro 4,50. About one third of the Portfolio is accounted for by white wines, another third by red wines and the final tjhird by sparklers and, brandies and juice. The wine list contains a number of interesting barrel-aged red wines, which are in the Euro 5 to 8 range.

Pictures: The Wines of Weingut Alwin Schmitz, including RS Rheinhessen Silvaner


Weingut Alwin Schmitz

Dalbergstraße 29 (Harxheimerweg 17)
55129 Mainz-Ebersheim

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Weinfest im Kirchenstueck: Meeting the Winemakers of Mainz-Hechtsheim and Tasting Their Wines, Germany 

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