Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Weingut Gunderloch – The New Generation: Owner Johannes Hasselbach in Washington DC, US

Picture: Johannes Hasselbach and Christian G.E. Schiller in Washington DC

Johannes Hasselbach from Weingut Gunderloch in Rheinhessen, Germany, was in town (Washington DC). He came with Alwin Jurtschitsch, Weingut Jurtschitsch in the Kamptal region, Austria and Max von Kunow, Weingut von Hoevel, Germany, to (1) present his winery and his wines to a selected group of sommeliers and wine writers over lunch and (2) to present with Johannes and Max their Wurzelwerk project. The lunch took place at B Too, the up and coming restaurant of Bart M. Vandaele.

Picture: BToo

Both events were organized by Rudi Wiest Selections and Annette Schiller, ombiasy PR and WineTours. The upcoming Germany South Tour by ombiasy will include a visit of Johannes Hasselbach and Weingut Gunderloch in the Rheinhessen region. For more information, see:

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux
ombiasy Public Relations

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Max von Kunow and Johannes Hasselbach

This is the third posting in a mini-series of postings covering Wurzelwerk and the 3 wineries behind the project:

Special Wine Event on March 18, 2014, in Washington DC with "Wurzelwerk": 3 Terroirs, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines
"Wurzelwerk" Goes America: 3 Vineyards, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines
Weingut Gunderloch – The New Generation: Owner Johannes Hasselbach in Washington DC, US
The Wines of Stefanie and Alwin Jurtschitsch, Weingut Jurtschitsch, Kamptal, Austria
Weingut von Hoevel – The New Generation: Max von Kunow in Washington DC, US

Johannes Hasselbach and Weingut Gunderloch

It all started in 1890, when the banker Carl Gunderloch purchased the Gunderloch manor house in Nackenheim. As the story goes, he used to trek from Gundersblum, his place of birth, to his bank in Mainz. On these journeys he carefully observed how the sun played off the hills along the Rhein Terrace. Based on these observations he purchased vineyard property that appeared to collect sunlight most efficiently and founded the Gunderloch Estate. Today, the Estate is still in the hands of the Gunderloch family, with Johannes Hasselbach in charge. He just took over from his parents Agnes Hasselbach-Usinger, a descendent of Carl Gunderloch, and her winemaker husband Fritz Hasselbach.

Pictures: Johannes Hasselbach at BToo

The Gunderloch Estate also has an interesting tie to the German dramatist Carl Zuckmaier. Zuckmaier, who became a Hollywood screenwriter, was born in Nackenheim and a friend of Carl Gunderloch. Zuckmaier not only wrote the screenplay for the film "The Blue Angel", but also the plays "The Captain from Koepenick" and "The Devils General". He also used the Gunderloch estate for the setting, and Carl Gunderloch as the main character for his very first play "Der froehliche Weinberg" (the jolly vineyard). In this play Zuckmaier renamed Carl Gunderloch "Jean Baptiste" which is where the brand name used on the Gunderloch "Jean Baptiste" Kabinett is borrowed from.

The Estate has over 18 hectares of vineyards. In Nackenheim, there are holdings in the Rothenberg (Riesling), the Engelsberg (Riesling, Silvaner, Ruländer and Gewürztraminer) and the Schmitts Kapellchen (Scheurebe and Müller-Thurgau). In Nierstein, there are holdings in the Pettenthal and Hipping both planted with Riesling and the Paterberg with Ruländer and Müller-Thurgau.

Picture: Lunch and Tasting at BToo

Overall the vines on the estate have an average age of 25 years, and Riesling predominates as all but 20% of Gunderloch's vines are of this variety. The remainder is mainly Pinot Blanc (5%) and Pinot Gris (5%).

Weingut Gunderloch is very export-oriented and well known in the US, with more than 50% of the production sold abroad. “We use screw caps now from ordinary table wine to super premium noble sweet wines” says Fritz Hasselbach. The Gunderloch Estate is a member of the Rheinhessen VDP.

Picture: Andrew Myers, Sommelier, CityZen, Kathy Morgan, MS, Consultant and Johannes Hasselbach

The property and vineyards have remained in family ownership since the days of Carl Gunderloch, who died in 1935, the estate passing first to Gunderloch's granddaughter Elizabeth Usinger and her husband. They remained at the helm until 1965, when their son Carl Otto took on the management of the estate. Until very recently, his eldest daughter, Agnes Hasselbach-Usinger and her husband, Fritz Hasselbach, a highly accredited winemaker, were in charge. Now, their only son Johannes is at the helm.

See also:
Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, German
Riesling Lounge Goes Lomo, Germany

Picture: Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim

Chef Bart M. Vandaele, Belga Café and B Too

With his European flare, Belgium native Bart M. Vandaele has taken Washington DC by storm since opening his Belga Café in the historical Barracks Row area near the Capitol a few years ago. Now he has opened a second restaurant, B Too on 14th Street NW. It is much larger and bit more casual than the Belga Café, but the food is also excellent and the set-up also very appealing.

Picture: Chef Bart M. Vandaele

What We Ate

Oyster on the Half Shell

Lobster Waffle
Bisque oil/ arugula/ tomato


Steak Tartare
Capers/ crispy onions/ frisee

Josper Grilled Hanger Steak
Roasted vegetables/ Belgian frites/ garlic butter


Potato Crusted Salmon Filet
Quince puree/ yoghurt/ lime/ salsify

Cheese Plate

The Gunderloch Wines

2012 Estate Dry Riesling

Johannes Hasselbach: Created from exclusively first rate red slate stone sites, this represents an extraordinary value and demonstrates precisely what a dry German Riesling should be. The aromas show the red chalky iron slate soil and citrus, herb and smoked nuts. The clarity and length of flavors on the palate, vivid smoky mineral notes and sappy juicy citrus and peach fruit on the palate are quite impressive and refreshing.

2012 Gunderloch Riesling Dry GG, Pettenthal

One of Weingut Gunderloch’s flagship dry wines. Notes of ripe yellow fruits, coupled with some herbal notes on the nose, dense, with a racy acidity on the palate, very long and enjoyable finish.

Picture: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Max von Kunow, Johannes Hasselbach, Alwin Jurtschitsch and Christian G.E. Schiller at BToo

Todd M. Godbout (Wine Compass Blog): We then moved to the two Rieslings from Gunderloch, with Johannes describing the winery's three vineyards sites situated above the Rhine river and the 120 year family history operating the winery. An interesting story is that the harvest help has traditionally come from Poland, and as that country has become wealthier, the Polish workers still arrive for harvest, now using their vacation time to pick grapes.

The first Riesling was the "entry" level 2012 Estate Dry Riesling ($15), but there was nothing entry level about this wine. It's a blend of grapes from the three vineyard sites and starts with green apples finishing in firm acidity. Very tasty and refreshing. The second wine was my favorite of the lunch, the 2012 Gunderloch Riesling Dry GG, Pettenthal ($42). The Pettenthal is the only site on the Rhine with red clay soil and this single vineyard wine is equally fruity and acidic. But it's the creamy texture that allows the wine to melt in your mouth.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Special Wine Event on March 18, 2014, in Washington DC with "Wurzelwerk": 3 Terroirs, 3 Winemakers and 9 Wines 

Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, German

Riesling Lounge Goes Lomo, Germany

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region - A Profile, Germany

Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany

Impromptu Winetasting with Alexander Jung, Weingut Jakob Jung, Erbach, Rheingau, Germany

A Tasting at Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn, Rheingau, with Angela and Peter Jakob Kühn, Germany

Tasting with Rita Busch at Weingut Clemens Busch in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Ernst Loosen Presented his Wines at Weingut Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel Valley, Germany

Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch with Georg Rumpf, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, Nahe Valley, Germany

An Afternoon with Riesling Star Winemaker Helmut Doennhoff at Weingut Doennhoff in Oberhausen in the Nahe Valley, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

Tasting with Johannes and Christoph Thoerle, Weingut Thoerle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

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