Thursday, January 28, 2016
Wine Lunch at Weingut Jülg with Johannes Jülg – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Following our short detour into France (Maison Léon Beyer in Eguisheim, see: Tour and Tasting at Maison Léon Beyer in Eguisheim, Alsace, France, with Marc Beyer – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France and Domaine Weinbach in Kayersberg, see: At Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg, Alsace, with Catherine Faller: Tasting and Tour – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France) we continued our journey north on the Alsatian side of the Rhine River and stayed on the French side to cross into the Pfalz region of Germany in Wissembourg. This was a pretty drive, since we followed the Alsatian wine trail for some miles before we continued on the autoroute.
Just across the border in Schweigen, you find Weingut Jülg. Unusually, their vineyards are in Germany as well as in France. Karin Jülg runs the wine tavern which is known for outstanding traditional Pfälzer cuisine. In the mid 1980s Werner Jülg converted the family winery from a low-end mass producing winery -so typical for the Pfalz in those days- into a wine estate that produces outstanding wines of the highest quality. He is also known for his excellent Sekt making: the Blanc de Noir produced in the Method Champenoise with traditional Champagne grapes is absolutely delicious. Weingut Jülg produces only dry wines mostly with traditional Burgundy grapes. After finishing his studies in oenology son Johannes is now also working in the winery to continue with the family tradition.
We were greeted by Karin and Werner Jülg. Johannes Jülg joined us for the lunch and guided us through the wine pairings.
Weingut Jülg is in Schweigen, the southernmost village in the Pfalz region, right at the border to France. The winery was founded in 1961. Today, Werner Jülg is in charge of the overall management of the winery. Since 2010, his oldest son Johannes has been responsible for the winemaking.
The vineyard area totals 18 hectares in the Einzellage (single vineyard) Sonnenberg (of which 40% is in France) and the Gewanne (lieu-dit) Springberg, Pfarrwingert, St. Paul und Wormberg.
White grape varieties account for 70% of the production, with Riesling, Weißburgunder and Grauburgunder dominating. Red grape varities account for 30% of the production, with Pinot Noir and St. Laurent in the lead.
Total production is 9.000 cases. Most of the wine is sold at the estate – in the wine tavern, the garden restaurant and directly to consumers. 20% of the wine is exported, including to the USA (5%).
The Jülg Family
Weingut Jülg is a traditional family winery cum wine tavern and garden restaurant, with 3 generations involved.
Werner and Karin Jülg – in their 50s I would guess - are the generation in the middle. Werner took over the winery several years ago from his father Oskar, while his brother Peter fell in love with a French girl from a village just 10 kilometers away in Alsace and established Maison Jülg in France. For the last 20 or 30 years ago, until handing over to his son Johannes, Werner was in charge of winemaking. Karin runs the wine tavern and the lovely garden restaurant.
Werner’s mother Erika is still in the kitchen, while her husband Oskar passed away.
Werner and Karin Jülg have three sons: Johannes, Friedrich and Moritz. Johannes Jülg is now responsible for winemaking at Weingut Jülg. Before coming back home to Schweigen in 2010, he looked around in the world of fine wine, including at Theo Minges, Weegmüller, Keller, Stodden and Clemens Busch in Germany and at Domaine des Lambrays in the Bourgogne.
His brother Friedrich graduated with a Masters in Winemaking from Geisenheim University last year. Following his graduation he spent 6 months in New York City with the US importer of Weingut Jülg, Bonhomie Wine Imports. We had the pleasure of receiving im at Evo Bistro in McLean, Virginia, where he presented the Jülg wines. See here: Winemaker Dinner with Friedrich Jülg, Weingut Jülg, Pfalz, Germany, at Evo Bistro in McLean, Washington DC, USA
Moritz got a degree in Marketing and International Business in January 2015.
Lunch and Wine Tasting with Johannes Jülg
When you enter the courtyard of Weingut Jülg through the main gate, as we did, you have in front of you a large space, which - when the weather is fine - invites you to sit down and relax, with the food and the wines of the Jülg family. To the right is the cosy wine tavern for cooler days and in front of you is the winery, where the wine is made and aged in small barrique barrels, traditional wood barrels and stainless steel tanks.
Of course, people come here because of the fine wines. But they also come because of the traditional food. Leberknödel, Saumagen, Wurst, Schnitzel and Rippchen are all home-made as is the cheese.
The Wines we Tasted
Weingut Jülg has 2 grapes (out of 5 grapes) in the Gault Millau: We are very happy with the performance of Johannes Jülg. He likes to add a French touch to his wines and does this very successfully. This means that the fruit components are moved to the backburner. Instead, character and a long aging potential dominate. This approach shows best in the Riesling wines from St. Paul and Springberg – luscious notes of yellow fruit, with good concentration and minerality. Equally, his Pinot Noir is a wine for the true connoisseur – Pinot pure.
Weingut Jülg classifies its wines into 4 groups: Sekt, Gutsweine, Terroirweine, Lagenweine, Sekt. We had wines from each of these 4 groups.
Johannes Jülg: Our sparkling wines are made in the traditional bottle fermentation method. Hand-harvested, exclusively healthy grapes. At least 1 year bottle-aged.
2012 Weingut Jülg blanc de noir extra brut
Excellent sparkler. Weingut Jülg has quite a selection of sparklers in its portfolio, all made in the traditional method. We liked the Jülg Sekt so much that we order a couple of cases for the anniversary party of my mother.
Johannes Jülg: Our entry-level wines from the Schweigen-Rechtenbach and the French Wissembourg areas. Fresh, uncomplicated.
2014 Weingut Jülg Riesling trocken
2014 Weingut Jülg Spätburgunder trocken
Johannes Jülg: We have 2 dominant soil types: lime stone and red sand stone. Wines that mirror the distinct characteristics of the soil.
2014 Weingut Jülg Riesling trocken Kalkmergel
2014 Weingut Jülg Riesling trocken Buntsandstein
2013 Weingut Jülg Spätburgunder trocken Kalkmergel
Johannes Jülg: Our top wines. From the best plots of our vineyards in Germany and Frence.
2014 Weingut Jülg Riesling Springberg trocken
2014 Weingut Jülg Riesling Sonnenberg trocken
2013 Weingut Jülg Spätburgunder R trocken
2013 Weingut Jülg Spätburgunder Sonnenberg trocken
Jülg Wines in the USA: Bonhomie Wine Imports
Jülg wines are available in the USA through Bonhomie Wine Imports: From the southernmost village in the Pfalz, Schweigen, we bring you the wines of Weingut Jülg. In fact it’s so close to the border that the top vineyard site, the Sonnenburg is actually 2/3s in France! Johannes Jülg has recently taken the reins here from his father Werner, and continues a tradition of growing with respect for nature, using green manure only for fertilization and hand harvesting. Soils are complex here and there is great diversity from site to site. In 2012 the Buntsandstein Riesling provides the right balance, with lifted aromatics and tangy passionfruit. From the Sonnenburg comes a lushly fruited Scheurebe that has the crisp cut of grapefruit-like citrusy tartness and also, a racy and vibrant dry Muskateller laced with spice and mineral notes that linger in the finish. Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc are also important grapes here, look for them later on this year.
Thank you very much Erika, Werner and Johannes for a wonderful wine lunch.
Deutsches Weintor (German Wine Gate)
Before leaving Schweigen, we stopped at the Deutsches Weintor, a landmark built in 1936 which greets the traveler when coming from France. It also marks the beginning of the German Wine Trail. You can climb 18 meters to the top and enjoy the view over the breathtakingly beautiful landscape south towards the Alsace and north towards the Pfalz.
Postings on the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Posted and Forthcoming)
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