Friday, October 18, 2013

Weingut Dautel in Wuerttemberg – A Profile, Germany

Pictures: Ernst Dautel, Christian Dautel and Christian Schiller at Weingut Dautel in Wuerttemberg

I visited Weingut Dautel in Wuerttemberg and tasted wines with Ernst and Christian Dautel. The visit was part of a Wuerttemberg trip organized by the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim.

Touring (and Visiting 4 Wineries in) the Württemberg Wine Region (Zabergäu), Germany

The German Wine Guide Eichelmann lists Weingut Dautel in the top group of 25 wineries with 5 stars. Since 2005, the Gault Millau WeinGuide lists Weingut Dautel in the group with 4 grapes (with 5 grapes being the maximum).

See also:
Germany’s Best Winemakers (5 Stars) - Eichelmann WeinGuide 2013

Wine Region Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 German states that make up Germany. Baden-Wuerttemberg is one of the growth centers of Germany due to its booming export industries. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are prime examples. Baden-Württemberg comprises two wine growing areas, Baden and Württemberg.

Wine from Württemberg is mainly red wine. The main production area is along the Neckar River between Stuttgart and Heilbronn. There are also vineyards on Lake Constance that belong to Württemberg.

Pictures: Weingut Dautel

More wine is consumed here (per capita) than anywhere else in Germany - actually twice as much as in the rest of Germany. The German poet Friedrich von Schiller wrote already several centuries ago: “A Württemberger without wine--is that a real Württemberger?”

The Trollinger is the most popular variety, which is grown almost exclusively in Württemberg. It is a nice table wine that goes well with the local food. If you are looking for a premium wine, Lemberger (known as Blaufränkisch in Austria and Kékfrankos in its Hungarian homeland) is the grape variety to go for. The Lemberger made by Weingut Dautel and Weingut Wachstetter, which we had during the tour, can compete with the best red wines in the world.

With 11,000 hectares under vine, Württemberg is Germany's fourth largest wine region. Winemaking cooperatives are very common in Württemberg, number around 70, and are responsible for almost 75% of the region's production.

Pictures: Ernst Dautel

Wines from Württemberg are hard to find in the US. This is partly explained by the production structure, which is dominated by co-operatives. These co-operatives are known for producing top class wines. But they tend to be less aggressive in terms of penetrating new markets.

See also:
Wine region: Baden and Württemberg, Germany
A “Viertele” of Schillerwein at Weinhaus Stetter in Stuttgart, Wuerttemberg, Germany

Weingut Dautel

Weingut Dautel is in Bönnigheim and run by Ernst and Christian Dautel. Ernst Dautel is in his mid-60s. He just transferred formal ownership of the winery to his son Christian, who studied at Geisenheim Collegue and after a number of internships around the world is ready to take over. Ernst Dautel also studied at Geisenheim in the 1970s and then took over from his parents, who had previously delivered their grapes to the local cooperative. In the 1970s, it was a very small operation with just 1 hectare of vines. Since then, Ernst Dautel has expanded to 10.5 hectares of vineyards, all on the eastern extension of the Stromberg hill.

Pictures: Ernst and Hannelore Dautel and Annette and Christian Schiller

Right from the beginning, Ernst Dautel went his own way. He was one of the first in Germany to ferment and age his red wine in barriques. Also, in the 1990s, he was one of the first winemakers to produce premium blends in Germany, such as the „Kreation Rot“, while Wuerttemberg was and still is dominated by single variety wines. Also, in 1988 he started to plant Chardonnay and other international grape varieties in Germany, which was very rare at the time.

Today, red grapes account for 60%, including Lemberger, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Samtrot, and white grapes account for 40%, including Riesling, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. This represent - compared with the rest of Wuerttemberg - a high share of white wines.

As a member of the VDP, Weingut Dautel is classifying its wines according to the new VDP classification (Gutswein, Ortswein, Erste Lage Wein and Grosse Lage Wein). But there are still elements of his previous classification (1 to 4 stars). Four star wines were wines aged for 2 years in barrique.

Pictures: Ernst Dautel with Annette and Christian Schiller


In the vineyard, Ernst Dautel explained, he is moving to organic vine growing. He has gone a long way but is not yet there. He practices natural vegetation and integrated use of beneficial insects for pest control.

Pictures: The 2 Christians - Dautel and Schiller

The Bönnigheim Sonnenberg: About 1200 years ago the vineyards of Bönnigheim were officially denoted for very nutrient trassic formations in the soil. The grounds are made up of pied clay, red sandstone, and gipsum trassic. Mainly grapes for fully developed vines are maturating here. These rich grapes guarantee great maturating capabilities with a long durability.

The Besigheimer Wurmberg: The shell lime terrace grounds at the southern slope of the Wurberg lay at the shore of the river Enz. With dryly set off supporting walls it was possible to build nearly horizontally leveled terraces. They provide an advantageous microclimate, which saves up a lot of humidity for a long time and releases the heat absorbed during day in the night. The rich in minerals shell lime ground generates very finess enriched and filigree wines.


In the cellar, Weingut Dautel follows a minimal intervention approach. Pumping and filtratings is kept to a minimum. The wine is made in stainless steel tanks, large wood casks (“Stueckfaesser”) and small barrique barrels, depending on the wine.

Pictures: Ernst Dautel with Helmut Seufert and Christian Schiller

Ernst Dautel: “The basis for our strong and characterful red wines is a long, classic maceration. Because of their nice tannic structure, our red wines age very well. For our 4 star wines, the maceration is followed by barrel aging for almost two years, which contributes to a harmonious integration of the oak note. As for the white wines, preserving the flavors and the fine acidity are important for us. A long aging on the lees provides the finesse that characterizes our white wines. You can discover the art of "assemblage in our two white wine blends and their two red wine cuvée partners. A perfect combination of the individual notes of the different grape varieties in the blend is the secret of these great wines.”

Picture: Ernst Dautel

Wine Portfolio

Estate Wines (Gutsweine)
2012 Rose trocken
2012 Charmeur Weißweincuvée, trocken
2012 Riesling trocken
2012 Weißburgunder trocken
2011 Trollinger Terrassenlage trocken
2012 Spätburgunder trocken
2011 Lemberger trocken
2011 Jakob D. Rotweincuvée, trocken
2011 Riesling Sekt Brut

2012 Riesling Gipskeuper trocken
2012 Weissburgunder Gipskeuper trocken
2011 Spätburgunder Schilfsandstein trocken
2011 Lemberger Gipskeuper trocken

Lagen- und Selektionsweine
2012 Kreation Weiss -S- trocken
2012 Riesling Besigheimer Wurmberg trocken
2011 Riesling GG "Grübenstein" trocken
2011 Chardonnay -S- trocken
2011 Weißburgunder -S- trocken
2010 Spätburgunder Bönnigheimer Sonnenberg **** trocken
2009 Lemberger trocken
2009 Zweigelt -S- trocken
2009 Merlot -S- trocken
2009 Lemberger -S- trocken
2010 Spätburgunder GG "Kalkschupen" trocken
2010 Lemberger GG "St. Michaelsfeder" trocken
2009 Kreation Rot -S- trocken
2012 Gewürztraminer Auslese Bönnigheimer Sonnenberg

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Wine region: Baden and Württemberg, Germany

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Schillerwein---a German Speciality

Touring (and Visiting 4 Wineries in) the Württemberg Wine Region (Zabergäu), Germany

In the Steinberg, Eberbach Abbey, Rheingau, Germany 

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