Saturday, October 31, 2015
Tour and Wine Tasting with Lunch, with Mark Barth at Wein- und Sektgut Barth in Hattenheim, Rheingau – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
The Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours, organized and led by Annette Schiller, took place from September 6 – 12, 2015. The group was small - there were 7 of us, including Annette and Christian Schiller.
The tour took us to the Rheingau, Mittelrhein, Ahr, Mosel and Nahe. In the Rheingau, we visited 5 producers: Baron Knyphausen, Barth, Spreitzer, Bardong and Schloss Johannisberg.
This posting covers the visit of Wein- and Sektgut Barth. We also had lunch at Wein- and Sektgut Barth. Mark P. Barth was our host.
Wein- und Sektgut Barth
Wein- und Sektgut Barth is located in Hattenheim in the Rheingau. It overlooks the Rhein River and was founded in 1948 by Johann Barth. Originally a mixed agricultural facility, the property was transformed by Norbert Barth, the son of Johann Barth, in 1973 to a fully operational winery. In 2010, Norbert’s daughter Christine Barth and her husband Mark P. Barth took over; although both are trained winemakers, Mark takes the lead in the vineyard and the cellar today.
Since being in charge, Mark and Christine have re-built a state of the art cellar, tasting room (where we had our tasting luncheon) and modernized facility that is über contemporary. They have nearly doubled their production and today own 18 hectares. Production is about 135000 bottles per year. Mark Barth was recently recognized by Handelsblatt (the Financial Times of Germany) among the best young winemakers in Germany.
Hattenheim in the Rheingau
It is remarkable: For its entire length of nearly 560 miles, the Rhine flows north with one exception – a 28-mile stretch where the river changes its course. Here, it flows to the west, thereby enabling both the river and the vineyards facing it to bask in the warmth of the sun all day long. This is the Rheingau, one of the medium-size German wine regions. Hattenheim lies about in the middle of the Rheingau wine region, close to the famous Eberbach Abbey. Eberbach Abbey dates back to the 12th century, was erected by monks of the Zisterzienser order from Clairvaux in Burgundy and is known for its Steinberger Vineyard.
Sekt in Germany
Besides excellent (still) wines, from early on Barth produced sparkling wines – Sekt – and in 1992 a Sekt manufactory was completed to be able to produce the Sekts entirely at the premises.
Germany is one of the largest sparkling wine markets in the world, which is not well known around the world. Germans drink a lot of sparkling wines, although in general less quality-conscious than the French. One out of four bottles of sparkling wine is consumed in Germany, roughly 500 million bottles. Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method. There are three groups of Sekt makers: (i) large and (ii) smaller Sekt houses, who only make Sekt and (iii) winemakers, who make predominantly wine, but complement their wine selection by a few Sekts. The Sekts produced by large Sekt estates tend to be in the demy-sweet and sweet range, while the Sekts of smaller estates and the wine makers, like Wein- und Sektgut Barth, are mostly in the brut and extra brut range.
Sekt at Wein- und Sektgut Barth
At Wein- und Sektgut Barth, all Sekts are bottle fermented in the méthod traditionelle starting with base wine production, subsequent bottling, bottle fermentation, hand-riddling, and disgorging. All Barth Sekts remain on the lease between 24 and 36 months. In 2010, Wein- und Sektgut Barth released the first ever German sparkler made from a grand cru base wine. The novelty was named Barth Primus, and put Barth on the map for the serious Sekt lover.
Although the Barth Primus is an extremely successful sparkler, Wein- and Sektgut Barth has stopped to label this Sekt as Primus but instead put the vineyard name on the label. Accordingly, in the tasting with Mark Barth, the top sparkler we had was the 2011 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Hassel Riesling brut – an ultra-premium Sekt from the Hassel vineyard, a VDP.Grosse Lage vineyard.
Today, Wein- and Sektgut Barth is recognized among Germany’s preeminent traditional method Sekt producers and they have had their products featured in Michelin star properties as well as with Lufthansa Airlines.
The Wine & Vineyards
Wein- und Sektgut Barth produces mostly Riesling (83%), followed by Pinot Noir (12%) and a few other varieties (Pinot Blanc, and Cabernet among others) on vineyards of clay, black loess, marl and slate soil, creating elegant and well-structured wines.
Environmentally friendly viticulture is of utmost importance to the Barth family, who shows great care towards the vine, soil and nature. Time-consuming vineyard work like harvest reduction and the harvest itself are all selectively done by hand for optimum ripeness and flavor. The estate was certified organic by BioWein in 2013.
The top sites comprise Wisselbrunnen, Schönhell and Hassel, all VDP.Grosse Lage and Schützenhaus, a VDP.Erste Lage. And of course, Wein- and Sektgut Barth also produce wines at the Ortswein level and at the Gutswein level.
The production of wine is done with natural yeasts and most whites are aged in stainless steel vats. Reds see a variety of wood treatment, both large Holzfass (wood) and small oak barrique barrels.
Lunch with Wine and Sekt Tasting
We had a traditional Rheingau "Schlachtplatte" for lunch and went through a series of Sekt and Wine tasting with Mark P. Barth.
Here are the sparkling and still wines that Mark P. Barth served:
NV Wein- und Sektgut Barth Riesling Sekt extra brut
NV Wein- und Sektgut Barth Pinot Rose Sekt brut
NV Wein- und Sektgut Barth Ultra Pinot brut nature
2011 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Hassel Riesling brut
2013 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Riesling trocken VDP.Gutswein
2014 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Hallgartner Riesling trocken VDP.Ortswein
2013 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Schützenhaus Riesling trocken VDP.Erste Lage
2013 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Wisselbrunn Riesling trocken GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2013 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Schönhell Riesling trocken GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2011 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Singularis Riesling
2013 Wein- und Sektgut Barth Hassel Riesling Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage
Thanks Norbert and Mark P. Barth!
Postings on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Posted and Forthcoming)
4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux
Fall Tours by ombiasy WineTours 2015 - A Very Special Treat: Experience Harvest Time !
Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
Tour and Tasting at Weingut Baron Knyphausen in Erbach, Rheingau - Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
Wine and Music at Eberbach Abbey in the Rheingau - Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Wein- und Sektgut Barth in Hattenheim, Rheingau
Tour and Tasting at Weingut Josef Spreitzer in Oestrich, Rheigau
Wine Tasting at Weingut Toni Jost in Bacharach, Mittelrhein
Cruise on the Rhine River from Bacharach to Boppard, Mittelrhein
Wine Tasting at Weingut J.J.Adeneuer in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Ahr
Vineyard Walk and Tasting at Weingut Meyer-Näkel in Dernau, Ahr
Wine Tasting at Weingut Dr. Loosen in Bernkastel-Kues, Mosel
Wine Tasting at Weingut St. Urbans-Hof in Leiwen, Mosel
Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Weingut Van Volxem in Wiltingen, Saar, Mosel
Wine Tasting at Weingut Hexamer, in Monzingen, Nahe
Tour and Tasting at Weingut Gut Hermannsberg, in Niederhausen, Nahe
Tour and Wine Dinner at Weingut Kruger-Rumpf in Münster-Sarmsheim, Nahe
Tour and Tasting at Sektmanufaktur Bardong in Geisenheim, Rheingau
Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Domaine Schloss Johannisberg in Geisenheim, Rheingau