Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden: Tour and Tasting with Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014), Germany

Picture: Vintage 2014 Grapes Just Harvested

The Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014) took us to 4 exceptional winemakers in the Kaiserstuhl region. One of them was Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein, owned by Baron (Freiherr) Johannes and Baroness Christina von Gleichenstein. Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein toured with us the winery and led a tasting of his outstanding wines.

See also:
4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux
Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014
German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein

Since 1634, this estate has been in the hands of the family of the Baron von Gleichenstein. The estate comprises 75 acres of the finest vineyards exclusively planted with the classic Burgundy grapes. Baron Johannes and Baroness Christina von Gleichenstein manage the estate in the 11th generation. They aim at producing top level wines, as Johannes explained to us: through consistent yield reduction and other measures to optimize quality, they produce wines that have won several awards, in particular the spectacular Pinot Noir.

Pictures: Welcome at Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein

In recent years, Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein has seen a remarkable rise, under the leadership of Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein. In 2010, Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein was named Germany’s Rising Star of the Year (Gault Millau). "Increasingly, he uses the great potential of the prime locations in Oberrotweil for excellent Burgundy,” Editor Joel Payne of the Gault Millau praised his wines.

Soils: Volcanic Rocks and Lösslehmboden

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein is located in the Kaiserstuhl region in Baden, the most southerly German wine-growing area, across Rhine River from Alsace.

The Vocanic Rocks

On the western side of the Kaiserstuhl the loess layer of the volcanic rock is no longer available, particularly on the steeper slopes, so that the vines are rooted right in the volcanic rock. It is usually reddish brown, or the weathered gray rock in the topsoil is visible. Volcanic rock heats up quickly, is well-ventilated, and subsequently an optimum delivery of plant nutrients, which is an advantage over the loess soil. However, the volcanic rock barely saves water.

The Loesslehmboden

The Kaiserstuhl is largely covered by a loess clay layer. Loess is an unconsolidated sediment that evolves from the erosion of other rocks and is transported by wind to its deposition site. Loess was built up in the entire peripheral region of the upper Rhine Plain during the last vegetation-less glacial period through deflation out of Rhine muds. At the Kaiserstuhl the thickness of the loess layer is between 10 and 40 meters, but there are also places in the southwest, where no loess was sedimented. Especially the loess soil of the Kaiserstuhl is intensively used for agriculture because of good ventilation, high water holding capacity and good mechanical properties. Additionally, in the course of agricultural use, so-called “Loesshohlwege” emerged.

Pictures: In the Cellar


On 50 hectares of vineyard classic Burgundy varieties, such as Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir are being grown as well as Muscat, Chardonnay and Müller-Thurgau.

Oberrotweiler Eichberg

This is the home mountain of the winery. In German "Eichberg" is a traditional name for vineyard locations that had oak tress standing on the top of the hills. The vineyards face southwest over a “Südkessel” to the southeast allowing these slopes to be in a completely sun-exposed position with gradients up to 45%. The ground consists of weathered volcanic rocks. In this special ash- and tuff-holding soil and rocky earth the vines roots grow very deep thereby providing the wine with a soft body.

Oberrotweiler Henkenberg

The Henkenberg is like a paradise for the Pinot Gris late harvest, because it has the best conditions to produce complex and dense white wines. The name is derived from the former site of the manorial gallows. A small section of it is called Galgenbuck. Henkenberg is settled between “Burkheim” and “Oberrotweil”. The south-east facing vineyard area has a total of 53 hectares of vineyards on volcanic weathering soils (ash and tuff) with basalt layers.

Pictures: Processing the Just Harvested Grapes

Oberbergener Bassgeige

From a bird’s perspective the mountain looks like a double bass therefor giving this well-known location in Oberbergen its name. The mostly layered volcanic stone, overlaid with a powerful loess layer, produces well-matured and noble vineyard wines on its terraces.

Ihringer Winklerberg

Ihringer Winklerberg is one of the most famous and above all warmest vineyards in all of Germany with its almost subtropical climate. The volcanic rock and high support walls of the small terraces retain the suns heat during the day and cool quickly again through the night. It receives the optimal amount of sunlight and great ventilation. This vineyard area produces top German wines that are elegant with complimenting mineral notes.


Pictures: Tasting with Baron von Gleichenstein

2013 Pinot Blanc & Chardonnay, Hofgarten, dry Euro 8
2013 Pinot Blanc, Hofgarten, dry Euro 8
2013 Pinot Gris, Hofgarten, dry Euro 8
2011 Pinot Gris Baron Louis, Henkenberg, dry Euro 30
2012 Pinot Noir, Eichberg, dry Euro 30
2008 Pinot Noir Baron Philipp, Eichberg, dry Euro 50

The first 3 wines were very pleasant easy drinking wines, while the last 3 wines showed what Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein is able to produce in terms of premium wines. In particular the 2008 Pinot Noir Baron Philipp, Eichberg, reminded us of Bourgogne Pinot Noir wines that easily couldcost Euro 100 or more.


Many thanks for a wonderful event.

Picture: The Next Generation

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 

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)

Wine Tasting Luncheon at 1 Star Michelin Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier in Baden, with Winemaker Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Zähringer in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Winemaker Paulin Köpfer – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombasy (2014)

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