Friday, December 21, 2012

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

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Ulrich Allendorf at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

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.

Pictures: Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

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.

Pictures: Ulrich Allendorf at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

Weingut Allendorf is led by Ulrich Allendorf and his sister Christel Schönleber; her husband Josef Schönleber is the winemaker.

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

Pictures: Allendorf Wines

Searching for Traces in the Aroma Vineyard

Two very special features of the Weingut Allendorf are the Aroma Vineyard and the Color Room.

The Color Room

Ulrich Allendorf first led us to specially designed, windowless tasting room to show us how wine can taste different when you change the color of the room.  We tasted the same wine under 4 different lightening and found it, for example, much fruitier, when we drank it under red light. In blue and green light, the wine tasted spicier than in white light. Blue light made the wine taste more bitter.
Ambient lighting clearly influences how wine tastes.

Pictures: In the Color Room

The Aroma Vineyard

The Aroma Vineyard is a room in the winery where you can discover the most important aromas that are found in Riesling and Spätburgunder. In the room are 18 small glasses with a cover on it. If you lift the cover, you can smell the 18 most important aromas in the Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Pictures: In the Aroma Vineyard

Ulrich Allendorf: “Tasting and enjoying wine always involve a search for traces of aromas that is really not difficult. That’s because everyone is familiar with the most important aromas and tastes that are contained in wines. However, we are unable to immediately discover and taste these; some hide themselves, others are fleeting or only appear after a certain amount of time.”

The aromas in wine have different origins:

•    Primary aromas come from the grape type, climate and soil.
•    Secondary aromas are produced during fermentation.
•    Tertiary aromas are generated during the ripening process and ageing.

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