Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Visit of Weingut Klaus Zimmerling: The Wines of Klaus Zimmerling and the Art of his Wife Malgorzata Chodakoska - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Annette Schiller: This is a very special place, hard to describe – you have to feel it - where art and wine is intimately intertwined. Two people, two passions, a heart warming experience: Klaus Zimmerling, the grape whisperer, who sees his vineyard, the perfectly shaped, southern facing Rysselkuppe as a gift and natural wonder, which imposes on him the duty to go the extra mile to produce extraordinary wine; Malgorzata Chodakoska, his wife, who sculptures graceful feminine figures in her studio, which sits in the middle of the vines. Every year one of her sculptures will serve as model for the bottle label of that particular vintage. With only 4 hectares under vine, output is small.
Weingut Zimmerling was the last stop on the Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours in Sachsen. We were received by Klaus Zimmerling and Malgorzata Chodakoska.
Sachsen, located in the former GDR, is the easternmost German wine region and extends some 35 miles north and south of Dresden along the Elbe River. Most of the region’s vines are planted on terraces along the River Elbe, and being at such a gradient, a lot of the work is done by hand. For 8 centuries, vintners here have mostly planted Müller-Thurgau and Riesling, earning a well-deserved reputation for excellent dry whites.
Meissen porcelain, known locally as “white gold,” is one of the things Sachsen is best known for, being the first place in Europe to make china in the early 18th century.
Anette Schiller: This region tickles all your senses with its unique voluptuous baroque architecture, a rich history, its wealth of art, and love of all the good things in life.
Weingut Klaus Zimmerling
In 1992, shortly after reunification, Klaus Zimmerling founded Weingut Klaus Zimmerling. He took the plunge into self-employment with 1.5 hectares of vineyards, after having worked for many years in a factory for kitchen appliances. Klaus Zimmerling was borne in Leipzig and is a mechanical engineer by training.
Before creating Weingut Klaus Zimmerling, Klaus Zimmerling had devoted himself to wine already in his spare time. Also, he apprenticed for 12 months at a winery in Austria. He does not have a formal education as winemaker and is essentially self-thought.
Today, the vineyard area totals 4 hectares, as a peach plantation has given way to a vineyard expansion of the vineyard. Still, not much. The vineyard (Rysselkuppe) is a steep slope monopoly vineyard above Pillnitz and dates back to King August der Starke (August the Strong). It once belonged to the Saxon court.
When Klaus Zimmerling bought the vineyard, it was planted with lesser varieties such as Müller-Thurgau and Bacchus. The most he cut out and planted instead Riesling and Pinot.
Klaus Zimmerling: The extreme geological conditions, the weathered granite and gneiss, in conjunction with the southern exposure of the slopes is particularly favorable for the cultivation of high-quality wines To that, add the very low yields.
Portfolio: Riesling (40%), Grauer Burgunder (30%), Gewürztraminer (15%), Weißburgunder (10%), Traminer (5%).
The use of modern technology is minimal. Klaus Zimmerling told us that the cooling takes place by means of a wet bed sheet and he measures the temperature by hand. Initially, the fermentation is spontaneous, but Klaus Zimmerling adds selected yeast later in the fermentation process. All the wines are fermented in stainless steel vats. Since 2009, Klaus Zimmerling uses Stelvin screw tops.
Until not so long ago, Klaus Zimmerling marketed his wines all as Landwein, the lowest quality level in the Law of 1971 German quality pyramid. He did not want to bother to go through the administrative classification procedure and his clients did not care either. This has changed since Klaus Zimmerling joined the prestigious VDP, the association of about 200 elite winemakers in Germany.
A New Wine Cellar
In the beginning, Klaus Zimmerling used to make his wine in the vaults of the famous castle Pillnitz. Twice he experienced flood. For nearly half a million euros he had digged a tunnel into Rysselkuppe and construced a new winery.
The new winery opened in 2008. The graceful entrance of the winery is adorned by impressive female figures of Malgorzata Chodakowska. More sculptures of his wife can be admired in the winery.
Hallmark: 0.5 Liter Bottles with Woman Sculpture Label
Klaus Zimmerling’s bottles are very special. First, he fills all his wine in 0.5 liter bottles. Second, the bottles are not only small, but also a visual delight as the front label of the bottles carry a picture of a sculpture of Malgorzata Chodakowska. The sculpture changes from vintage to vintage. Every year one of her sculptures will serve as model for the bottle label of that particular vintage.
Annual production is a bit more than 1000 cases. Interestingly, Klaus Zimmerling reports the Öchsle level for all of his wines on the price list. We tasted the following wines.
NV Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Spätburgunder Brut Deutscher Sekt Traditionelle Flaschengärung
2013 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Grauburgunder VDP.Grosse Lage, Königlicher Weinberg, 98 Öchsle
2013 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Kerner R 97 Öchsle
2012 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Kerner A 103 Öchsle
2013 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Riesling R 93 Öchsle
2012 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Rieling VDP.Grosse Lage, Königlicher Weinberg 97 Öchsle
2013 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Traminer 101 Öchsle
2013 Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Gewürztraminer VDP.Grosse Lage, Königlicher Weinberg, 105 Öchsle
NV Weingut Klaus Zimmerling Balsamessig von unseren Gewürztraminer Trauben
Thank you very much for a very memorable visit.
Postings: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Published and Forthcoming)
Preview: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
The Art Marketer: OMBIASY PR & WINE TOURS - Germany-East
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