Monday, December 8, 2014

In the Vineyard and the Wine Cellar (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Picture: In the Vineyard with Owner and Winemaker Robert Schätzle at Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden

The first stop of the Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, which took place from September 14 – 20, 2014, was at Schloss Neuweier in the small village of Neuweier in Baden, close to the spa-town Baden Baden. We had a wine tasting luncheon at the 1-star Michelin restaurant of Chef Armin Röttele with the owner and winemaker of Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Robert Schätzle. Before lunch, Robert showed us around in the vineyards and the cellar. This posting focusses on the initial part of the visit, i.e. the vineyard and cellar tour with Robert. A second posting focusses on the luncheon at Röttele's Restaurant.

See also:
Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Schloss Neuweier

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

Picture: Arriving at Weingut Schloss Neuweier

(2) Schloss Neuweier also includes a top notch restaurant, where we had 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.

Pictures: Welcome!

(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.

See also:
Weingut Schloss Neuweier – Robert Schaetzle, Baden, Germany


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.

Pictures: Walking Over to the Vineyards

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.

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.

Pictures: In the Vineyards

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

After the viniyard tour, we visited the wine cellar of Weingut Schloss Neuweier.

Pictures: In the Cellar

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.

Robert did 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.

Weingut Schloss Neuweier

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

Pictures: Schloss Neuweier

Lunch and Wine Pairing at Röttele's Restaurant im Schlossweier

After the vineyard and cellar tour, we walked over to the Michelin-starred Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier and had a spectacular wine tasting luncheon with Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier wines. I will report about the luncheon in a separate posting. Here are already some pictures.

Pictures: Lunch at Michelin-starred Rötteles Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier, with Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines


Thanks Robert for a wonderful visit.

Picture: Good-bye

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Schloss Neuweier – Robert Schaetzle, Baden, Germany

Visiting Winemaker and Web 2.0 Guru Patrick Johner - Weingut Karl Heinz Johner and Johner Estate - in Baden, Germany

In the Glass: A 2007 Pinot Noir from the Gault Millau Shooting Star of the Year - Estate of Baron Gleichenstein

One of the Fathers of the German Red Wine Revolution: Weingut Huber in Baden

Joachim Heger, Weingut Dr. Heger: Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2013, Germany

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace (2011)

Steffen Christmann (Weingut A. Christmann) and Wilhelm Weil (Weingut Robert Weil) Presented the New Wine Classification of the VDP, Germany

The World Meets at Weingut Weegmueller, Pfalz, Germany

The Wines Chancelor Merkel Served President Obama and Michelle Obama in Berlin (and the Wines she did not Serve), Germany

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

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