Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Tour, Tasting (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)

Picture: In the Cellar with Robert Schätzle, Weingut Schloss Neuweier

The first stop of the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours, which took place from August 30 – September 5, 2015, was at Schloss Neuweier in the small village of Neuweier in Baden, close to the spa-town Baden Baden. We had a wine luncheon at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant of Chef Armin Röttele with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker of Weingut Schloss Neuweier. Before the luncheon, Robert showed us around in the vineyards and the cellar and poured his Vintage 2014 releases for us. This posting focusses on the initial part of the visit, i.e. the vineyard and cellar tour and the wine tasting with Robert. A second posting focusses on the luncheon at Röttele's Restaurant.

Schloss Neuweier

(1) Weingut Schloss Neuweier 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 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.

Pictures: Robert Schätzle Welcoming the Group

(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.

Picture: Schloss Neuweier


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: Robert Schätzle also Produces Premium Sekts

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 Vineyard with Robert Schätzle

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

Pictures: In the Cellar with Robert Schätzle

Robert Schätzle

Robert Schätzle 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

Wine Tasting

We then walked over to Röttele's Restaurant im Schlossweier for a wine tasting, followed by a spectacular wine lunch. I will report about the luncheon in a separate posting. Robert poured the following wines, all Vintage 2014, and all Erste Lage or Grosse Lage (premier cru or grand cru) wines before the lunch.

Pictures: Wine Tasting with Robert Schätzle

2014 Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Neuweierer Mauerberg Riesling trocken VDP.Erste Lage
2014 Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Neuweierer Schlossberg Riesling trocken VDP.Erste Lage
2014 Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Umweger Stich den Buben Riesling trocken VDP.Erste Lage
2014 Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Goldenes Loch GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2014 Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Mauerwein Riesling GG VDP.Grosse Lage


Following the tasting, we had lunch with more of Robert's wines and the outstanding food of 1 star Michelin Chef Armin Röttele. See following posting.

Pictures: Wine Lunch at Röttele's Restaurant

Postings on the Germany-South 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-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tour, Tasting (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)

Wine Pairing Lunch at Röttele’s 1 Restaurant (1 Star Michelin) at Schloss Neuweier, with Owner and Winemaker Robert Schätzle, Weingut Schloss Neuweier

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Salwey (VDP) in Baden with Benno Salwey

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Franz Keller (VDP) in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

Wine Paring Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler (1 Star Michelin) in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

Schiller's Favorite Wine Taverns of Freiburg

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber (VDP) in Baden, with Yquem Viehauser

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger (VDP) in Baden.

Tour and Tasting at Maison Léon Beyer in Eguisheim, Alsace, France, with Marc Beyer

Tour and Tasting at Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg, Alsace, with Catharine Faller

Wine Pairing Lunch at Wine Tavern Jülg, Weingut Jülg, in Schweigen, with Johannes Jülg

Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz (VDP) in Siebeldingen, Pfalz

Schiller's Favorite Wine Taverns in Deidesheim

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Müller-Catoir in Neustadt-Haardt, Pfalz

Tour and Tasting at Weingut A. Christmann (VDP) in Gimmeldingen, Pfalz, with Steffen Christmann

Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Winning (VDP) in Deidesheim, Pfalz

Tour and Tsting at Weingut Josef Biffar in Deidesheim, with Owner and Winemaker Fumiko Tokuoka

Wine Pairing Dinner at Restaurant FUMI at Weingut Josef Biffar in Deidesheim, with Owner and Winemaker Fumiko Tokuoka

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Markus Schneider in Ellerstadt, Pfalz, with Markus Schneider

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Koehler-Ruprecht in Kallstadt, Pfalz, with Franziska Schmitt

Tasting at Weingut Dreissigacker in Bechtheim, Rheinhessen, with Ute Dreissigacker

Tour and Wine Pairing Lunch at Weingut Eva Vollmer in Mainz-Ebersheim, Rheinhessen, with Eva Vollmer

1 comment:

  1. Robert Schätzle: nice report, Christian. We first encountered the wines at the Mainzer VDP-Weinbörse, now available through our distributor Northwest Wines in CA.