Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Weingut Schloss Neuweier – Robert Schaetzle, Baden, Germany

Picture: Annette and Christian G.E. Schiller with Robert Schaetzle

The first winery we will visit on the Sun-kissed German South (Germany-South) Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours from September 14 – September 20, 2014, is Weingut Schloss Neuweier – Robert Schaetzle, in Baden. For more on the Sun-kissed German South (Germany-South) Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTour, see:

Upcoming in September 2014: Germany Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasyPR - The Sun-kissed German South (Germany-South)
or
ombiasy PR and WineTours 

This tour is one of 3 tours by ombiasyPR coming up in 2014:
3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux

Weingut Schloss Neuweier - Robert Schaetzle

Weingut Schloss Neuweier, although not well known in the US, is a very special, premium wine producer in Baden, with a long history:

Picture: Arriving at Weingut Schloss Neuweier

(1) The winery is part of the wonderfully restored, historic castle Schloss Neuweier, where wine has been made for centuries.

(2) Schloss Neuweier also includes a top notch restaurant, where we will have lunch during our visit. The restaurant is in the first floor of the castle. It is owned and run by Chef Armin Roettle and his wife and since 2006 in the 1 star Michelin category.

(3) Weingut Schloss Neuweier focuses on Riesling wines, which are outstanding. You would expect that in the Mosel or the Rheingau region, but not in Baden. Reflecting the special soil of the vineyards surrounding the castle and the special micro-climate there as well as a long-standing Riesling tradition and passion, Weingut Schloss Neuweier produces world class Rieslings.

(4) The export share of Weingut Schloss Neuweier is negligible, which is typical for the Baden region. But this may change for Weingut Schloss Neuweier in the future and was not like this in the past. Its Mauerwein (Wall wine – from a terraced vineyard on the hill behind the castle) was one of Queen Victoria’s favorites. It had won an award at the International Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876 and was on the airship Graf Zeppelin’s maiden flight.

(5) Until recently, the driving force behind Schloss Neuweier, including Weingut Schloss Neuweier, was Gisela Joos. She and her husband, a well-known architect from Frankfurt am Main, took over the castle, including the winery, in 1992 and invested around Euro 50 million in the castle, including the winery. What you see today is essentially due to their efforts and money. In 1999, Weingut Neuweier was admitted to the prestigious VDP association, when Gisela Joos was in charge.

(6) Today, the “Schlossherr” (owner) of Schloss Neuweier and the winemaker at Weingut Schloss Neuweier is Robert Schaetzle. His family acquired the estate in 2012. The senior management of the winery of course changed with Robert taking over. The already high quality level of the wines was definitely maintained if not increased by Robert Schaetzle. The Joos family is still living in the castle, but on a lease basis. Also, the lease of the 1 star restaurant was not affected by the change in ownership.

History

When we arrived, Robert suggested to walk over to the vineyards first. While walking there, he introduced us to the rich history of Schloss Neuweier.

The castle belongs to the few historic buildings from the 12th century that still exist. Die Ritter von Bach were the first who started planting vines and producing wine. All subsequent owners showed interested in winemaking.

Its current shape took the castle, when it was owned by Philipp Kämmerer von Worms, called von Dalberg. During 1548 to 1549, this gentleman created the castle as you can see it today. To remind everyone of his creation he put in the entry portal: Zeyt bryngt Rosen – Time brings Roses.

In 1615, the castle was passed onto the second daughter of Philipp von Dalberg, whose husband was Wolf von Eltz and Knebel von Katzenellenbogen. Katzenellenbogen was a high ranking knight who fought under the rule of the Archbishop of Mainz. He also was an important person in terms of winemaking at Weingut Schloss Neuweier. He brought his knowledge from the Franken area, the Bocksbeutel bottles and the Niersteiner and the Laubenheimer grape varities, which replaced the traditional Elblinger and Ortlieber.

During the 19th century the castle changed its owners quiet frequently. From 1869, the Rößler family from Baden-Baden became the owner of the castle. The Rößler family is responsible for the Mauerberg vineyard gaining international recognition.

The Joos family bought the estate including all the buildings and the vineyard in 1992. With great enthusiasm and financial investments they brought the castle and all the attached buildings back to the full bloom, which you can still admire today. The renovations were completed in 2009.

In 2012, the estate was sold to the family of Robert Schaetzle; they come from a traditional vintners background in the Kaiserstuhl area near Freiburg.

The Vineyards

The heart of the vineyard area (15 hectares) of Weingut Schloss Neuweier are two very steep monopoly sites: Schlossberg and Goldenes Loch.

Pictures: In the Vineyard

Robert Schaetzle: Schlossberg - This is a monopoly site of 3 hectares of south-facing slopes with up to 55°incline, entirely Riesling. The soil is very special, made up of ground granite, schist, shale and slate. Due to being close to an extinct volcano you also find quartz crystals on the surface. The climate is defined by being on the lower slopes of the Black Forrest Mountains and close to the Rhine plateau and in combination with the soil is ideal growing grounds for Riesling. The Riesling grown here gets a lot of sun during the day and at night the release of the heat that was accumulated during the day in the soil.

Goldenes Loch - Another monopoly site of 1 hectare south-west facing cauldron between the Schlossberg and the Mauerberg. The name was established because of the foliage glowing golden in the autumn sun due to the concave mirror effect caused by the cauldron, catching the last rays of the day. The extreme incline of 60° or more was the main reason it was left alone but in 1993 the land was reclaimed by using small diagonal terraces. The grapes grown here produce exquisite Riesling wines.

Mauerberg: This is a south facing site. Historically, 60% of the Mauerberg was terraced, with each terrace large enough for one or two vines. The man-high natural stone walls contribute to the micro climate for the vines by keeping the warmth during the day as well as being dried be the wind from the Black Forest.

Heiligenstein: The name seems to originate from the Celtic culture stating a magical powerful place, which it is still today. The foundation is full of granite being enjoyed by our young Pinot Noir vines. Here is where we get our very clean, clear classical red wines from.

Wine Cellar

Robert showed us the wine cellar.

Pictures: In the Winecellar

Robert Schaetzle

Robert Schaetzle is a very interesting and charming fellow, with curly, almost Afro-style hair and a strong regional southern Baden accent. He lives at the castle with his French wife and one son, if I remember correctly.

Pictures: Robert Schaetzle

Robert has not appeared out of nowhere. He has put in time at serious wineries over the years – at Franz Keller and Dr. Heger in Baden, across the Rhine in Alsace with Zind-Humbrecht and Marc Kreydenweiss, and in Bordeaux at La Tour de By. Before turning to wine, Robert was in academia. He studied at Université Bordeaux Segalen in France.

Classification

In terms of classification, Robert Schaetzle follows strictly the VDP approach. In sharp contrast with the standard classification system, the VDP classification system is based on the terroir principle. The VDP classification now consists of the following 4 layers. (In brackets, the equivalent quality classes in the classification system of the Bourgogne):

• VDP.Grosse Lage (Grand Cru in Burgundy)
• VDP.Erste Lage (Premier Cru in Burgundy)
• VDP.Ortswein (Village level in Burgundy)
• VDP.Gutswein (Bourgogne régional in Burgundy)

Portfolio

We then went to the tasting room. Robert had prepared a little tasting, which took us through his portfolio. Here is an overview of his portfolio, with the ex-winery prices in Euro:

Picture: Tasting

GUTSWEINE WEISS 750 ml

2012 Riesling trocken 7,90
2012 CUVÉE BLANC Riesling x Weißer Burg. x Chardonnay trocken 9,30
2012 Blanc de Noir trocken 9,30

GUTSWEINE ROSÉ 750 ml

2012 Rosé trocken 8,50

GUTSWEINE ROT 750 ml

2011 Spätburgunder trocken 8,50

ORTSWEINE WEISS 750 ml

2012 Neuweierer Riesling "ALTE REBEN" trocken 11,90
2012 Neuweierer Riesling "RS" trocken 11,90
2012 Neuweierer Riesling trocken 11,90
2012 Neuweierer Weißer Burgunder "RS" trocken 12,00
2012 Neuweierer Chardonnay "JUNGE REBEN" trocken 11,00

ORTSWEINE ROT 750 ml

2012 Neuweier Spätburgunder trocken 8,50

Pictures: Tasting

ERSTE LAGE WEISS 750 ml

2012 Schlossberg Riesling mild (BB) 15,00
2012 Schlossberg Riesling trocken 15,00
2012 Mauerberg Riesling trocken 15,00
2012 Neuweier Schlossberg Muskateller Spätlese 14,00

ERSTE LAGE ROT 750 ml

2012 Neuweier Heiligenstein Spätburgunder trocken 14,00

GROSSE GEWÄCHSE 750 ml

2012 Goldenes Loch GG 23,00
2012 Mauerwein GG 23,00

EDELSÜSSE WEINE 500 ml

2010 Riesling Beerenauslese 64,00
2010 Riesling Auslese 22,00
2010 Scheurebe Auslese 22,00
2012 GRAND CUVÉE Riesling x Gewürztraminer Auslese 22,00

Pictures: Tasting

SEKTSPEZIALITÄTEN 750 ml

2011 Riesling brut 15,00
2011 Spätburgunder Rosé extra trocken 15,00

WEINE IN LITERFLASCHEN

2012 Riesling trocken 7,00

Weingut Schloss Neuweier

Vineyard area (hectare): 18 ha
Varietal in %: 88 % Riesling 8 % Spätburgunder 3 % Weißburgunder 1 % Gewürztraminer
Output per year: 98.000 Flaschen

Röttele’s Restaurant and Residence at Schloss Neuweier 

During the time of Jacoba Stoltenberg Rössler, the last owner of the Baden-Baden family, who died in 1984, a “Besenwirtschaft” (basic wine tavern, where the winemaker sells his own wine) was opened that over time developed into a fine dining restaurant. Today, Röttele’s Restaurant and Residence at Schloss Neuweier is a restaurant well-known in Germany.

Picture: Röttele’s Restaurant and Residence at Schloss Neuweier

Robert Schaetzle: We were very lucky that in the year 2005 the family Röttele took on the restaurant on the ground floor of the castle. Mr. Röttele is a very inspiring and inventive Chef whose creations leaves your mouth watering. Mr. Röttele’s talent was internationally recognized so it was not surprise that he gained 1 Star from the Michelin in 2006.

See you in September

Thanks Robert and see you again in September 2014 on the The Sun-kissed German South (Germany-South) Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours.


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