Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meeting Winemaker/Owner Desiree Eser, Weingut August Eser, on the Banks of the Rhein River in the Rheingau in Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Desiree Eser at the Euro Cup Public Viewing on the Banks of the Rhein River

Weingut August Eser is a small, family owned winery in Oestrich in the Rheingau, producing 6000 cases of first class Riesling and Spaetburgunder annually. 

The first time I tasted the wines of Weingut August Eser was many years ago in Duesseldorf; my cousin was a big fan of the wines of Weingut August Eser and always served them when he invited.

Pictures: Desiree Eser at the Euro Cup Public Viewing on the Banks of the Rhein River

I was very happy to meet Desiree Eser, the current proprietor and granddaughter of August Eser, a few months ago in Winkel in the Rheingau (Germany) at a gathering of a small group of wine lovers, where everyone brought a bottle and presented it to the group.

Then, a few weeks ago, I met Desiree Eser again, at a EURO CUP public viewing of the Germany – Denmark match at the banks of the Rhein River in the Rheingau. We had a chance to talk a bit about her winery, herself and her wines, including the wines she had assembled in special EURO CUP case, for just under Euro 100, including shipping, which I had just ordered, as I was expecting my cousin to visit me and I wanted to impress him with a selection of Weingut August Eser wines.

The Rheingau

It is remarkable: For its entire length of nearly 560 miles, the Rhine flows north with one exception – a 28-mile stretch where the river changes its course. Here, it flows to the west, thereby enabling both the river and the vineyards facing it to bask in the warmth of the sun all day long. This is the Rheingau, one of the medium-size German wine regions. It is a quietly beautiful region, rich in tradition. Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for Hochheim's wines contributed to their popularity in England, where they, and ultimately, Rhine wines in general, were referred to as Hock.

Picture: The Rheingau

The third President of the USA - and notable bon viveur - Thomas Jefferson visited the Rheingau in 1788 and wrote that the wine of the "Abbaye of Johnsberg is the best made on the Rhine without comparison … That of the year 1775 is the best." He also referred to the Rheingau’s Riesling as the "small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim". Impressed by the quality of the Rheingau Riesling wines, he bought 100 grapevines to take back to his estate in Virginia.

Weingut August Eser

Desiree Eser: “Our family-winery in the heart of the German wine growing region Rheingau has 10 hectares of 90% Riesling and 10% Pinot Noir grapes. Our cellar dates back to 1650 and it is here that our wines mature and develop their lively aromatic character which is fruity and floral. Our wines are made in both dry and balanced sweet styles. As a member of the VDP, our goal is to produce top quality, distinctive wines. 95% of our production is sold in Germany. I have justed started to export to the US – through “The Varietal” in California and AP Wines in New York.”

Désirée Eser

Desiree is the granddaughter of August Eser (she is the youngest of his grandchildren), after whom the winery is named. Desiree took over from her parents Joachim and Renee Eser, who remain very active in the winery, in 2007. She is the first Eser woman at the helm of Weingut August Eser, in the 10th generation.

Pictures: Desiree Eser

Desiree has a distinguished educational background. She got the “Abitur” (the highest high school degree in Germany), did a 3 years apprenticeship at Weingut Dr. Bürklin-Wolf /Pfalz, spent a year at UC Davis in California and finished with a Masters Degree from the University of Geisenheim (Diplom Ingenieurin für Weinbau und Önologie).

Dirk Wuertz, one of Germany’s leading wine bloggers and himself a distinguished winemaker, says: “Desirée Eser is a figurehead of the new winemaker generation in the Rheingau. With a distinguished education and international experience, she very successfully leads this traditional winery in the heart of Oestrich in the Rheingau. Her wines are true Rheingau classics, true and honest expressions of the terroir they come from. The vineyard portfolio of Weingut Eser is amazing, including the best sites all over the Rheingau.”

The Weingut August Eser Grand Cru Vineyards

Desiree Eser: “Our vineyards are spread over 17different single sites in eight different villages along the Rheingau region. This is quite unusual, however it offers you the opportunity to enjoy the Rheingau region in its whole diversity. Seven of the vineyards belong to the group of Germany’s absolute finest vineyards. This top level category of vineyards has just been renamed to Grosse Lage (Grand Cru in Bourgogne).

Oestricher Lenchen   
Oestrich Doosberg   
Erbacher Siegelsberg   
Winkeler Jesuitengarten   
Hattenheimer Nußbrunnen   
Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen   
Rauenthaler Rothenberg   
Winkel Hasensprung"

For more on Erste Lage, Grosse Lage, Erstes Gewaechs and Grosses Gewaechs, see:

The VDP - the Powerful Group of German Elite Winemakers - Refines its Classification System, Germany

The Weingut August Eser Wine Portfolio

Desiree took me briefly through the Weingut August Eser wine portfolio. She started out by the essentials in terms of their winemaking philosophy:

“- selective harvesting by hand
- several selections of the grapes on the vine
- limited yield
- sensitive crushing and processing of the grapes
- slow and controlled fermentation for a better flavour development
- fermentation in wood barrels in combination with stainless steel tanks
- red wines in traditional wood barrels and barriques."

Picures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Desiree Eser

The Weingut August Eser wine portfolio consists of 7 different groups:

Trockene Rieslinge – Dry Riesling wines: A dozen or so Kabinett and Spaetlese wines, which are fermented in a dry style.

Grosses Gewaechs Weine – Grand Cru Wines: The Grosses Gewaechs wines from the 7 Grosse Lage vineyards, all fermented in a dry style, for example. For example: 2007 Rauenthal ROTHENBERG Riesling Erstes Gewächs. Fine Wine Review said: “The Rothenberg is tightly wound with nice acidity and stoniness. The wine is impressive, but needs five-six years to reach its peak."

Steillagen Rieslinge – Steep Slope Rieslings: A group of wines from steep slope vineyards.

Feinherbe Rieslinge – Off-dry Rieslings: About 10 Kabinett and Spaetlese Rieslings fermented in an off-dry style. It includes: 2010 Riesling 10. Generation "My way" Riesling Kabinett, which is a very personal wine of Desiree.

Vollmundige Rieslinge – Fruity Sweet Rieslings: This groups comprises 2 wines – a Kabinett and a Spaetlese – fermented in a fruity-sweet style.

Auslesen, Eiswein bis Trockenbeerenauslese vom Riesling: About 10 noble-sweet Rieslings.

Hier ist der Schaum ein Traum...  - Sparklers: Ranging from 2011 Rheingauer Leichtsinn Qualitätsperlwein, trocken, to 2009 Riesling Sekt, extra brut, aus klassischer Flaschengärung (method champenoise).

Spätburgunder – Pinot Noir: About half a dozen Pinot Noir wines, ranging from a 2011 BLANC DE NOIR, trocken, to a 2009 Spätburgunder Barrique Rotwein, trocken, Mittelheimer St. Nikolaus.

Guts-Rieslinge: 2 entry-level wines, in the liter bottle, one dry and one off-dry.

The Euro Soccer Cup Case

To conclude, here is the content of my Euro Soccer Cup Case.

2011    Blanc de Noir 6,60 €
2011    Hattenheim ENGELMANNSBERG Riesling Kab. trocken 7,20 €
2010    Winkel HASENSPRUNG Riesling Kabinett trocken 7,40 €
2011    Winkeler HASENSPRUNG Riesling Kabinett trocken 7,40 €
2011    Winkeler JESUITENGARTEN Riesling Kabinett trocken 7,60 €

2011    Hattenheim WISSELBRUNNEN Riesling Kab. trocken 7,40 €
2010    Oestrich LENCHEN Riesling Kabinett trocken 7,60 €
2010    Oestrich DOOSBERG Riesling Spätlese trocken 9,70 €

2011    Rauenthal ROTHENBERG Steillage Riesling Spätl. trock. 8,60 €
2011    Hattenheim NUSSBRUNNEN Riesling Spätlese trocken 10,20 €
2010    Oestrich LENCHEN Riesling Spätlese trocken 9,90 €
2010    Riesling 10. Generation "my way"Riesling Kab. feinherb 7,60 €

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Celebrating Riesling, but not only Riesling in the Rheingau: The Grand Rheingau Wine Convention Days 2012, Germany

A Wine Feast in the Rheingau, Germany: The Grand Wine Convention 2010

1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

Impressions from the Riesling and Co World Tour 2010 in New York

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

The Focus on Dry German Riesling – Daniel Hubbard Presents the German DSWE Portfolio to the German Wine Society (Washington DC Chapter)

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

The VDP - the Powerful Group of German Elite Winemakers - Refines its Classification System, Germany 

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