Thursday, February 18, 2016
The New Germany (from an American Perspective): Dry, Red and Sparkling – Tasting at the American Wine Society with Annette Schiller, USA/ Germany
Annette Schiller presented 10 German wines at the American Wine Society (Northern Virginia Chapter). It excluded the delicious fruity-sweet and nobles-sweet wines, Germany has become so famous for around the world.
Instead, Annette started with 3 red wines; Germany is increasingly becoming known around the world as a serious red wine producer.
She then poured a Sekt (German expression for sparkling wine); few people outside of Germany know that the Germans drink (and produce) a lot of sparkling wine: 1 out of 4 sparklers produced in the world is consumed in Germany.
The remainder of the tasting were 6 dry German white wines, including 2 Grosses Gewächs wines, the new category of ultra-premium drý German wines, and including a wine from the Saale Unstrut region in the eastern part of Germany that was cut off from the world market for decades.
Germany has 13 wine regions and we had wines from 9 of them. All important wine regions were briefly presented by Annette, including Baden and Württemberg, which are very little known outside of Germany. From Baden, we had a Spätburgunder from Weingut Dr. Heger und from Württemberg a Lemberger from Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann.
All producers presented are members of the VDP, the German association of 200 or so elite winemakers. Annette also briefly talked about the new, terroir-based classification for German wines, which is being pushed by the VDP.
All presented winemakers, we know personally. We have already visited almost all of them on one of the wine tours to Germany (Germany-East, Germany-South and Germany-Nord); Annette shared memories from these visits.
The selection of wines was also determined by budgetary considerations. 40 people attended and were charged US$20 per person, which had to cover the wine purchases as well as the food served, rent for the room and other minor expenditures. Annette bought 2 bottles of each wine in the local and internet market and handcarried one wine from Germany.
3 German Red Wines
2012 Vitus Spätburgunder Weinhaus Heger (Weingut Dr. Heger), Baden
An excellent Pinot Noir from the Kaiserstuhl area in the southern part of Baden from one of the leading producers in Baden, Weingut Dr. Heger. We visited Weingut Dr. Heger on the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), see: Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
2012 Pinot Noir II, Weingut Von Winning, Pfalz
While Baden is located east of Alsace in France, the Pfalz is north of Alsace. Weingut vn Winning is a leading producer in Deidesheim. We visited Weingut Von Winning on the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), see: Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
2008 Lemberger, Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann, Württemberg
Württemberg has the highest per-capita wine consumption ration in Germany, but its mainly red wines are virtually unknown out side of Germany. This is changing also thanks to Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann, which is well represented in the US. Lemberger is the German name for Blaufränkisch, which has gained some popularity in the US recently.
We visited Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann on the Germany-East Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), see: Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Red Wine Revolution
There is a red wine revolution going on in Germany and the world increasingly takes note of it. Of course, given its location, the red wines of Germany tend to be not like the fruity red wines we know from warmer countries, but lean and more elegant, with a lot of finesse. 30 years ago, the share of red wine in total German wine output was not more than 10 percent; in the international wine scene, people would not talk about German red wine. But this is changing. Germany now produces red wines that can compete with the best of the world; the share of red wines in terms of production has increased to about 35 percent now in Germany and increasingly the international market takes note of what is happening in Germany.
NV Dr. Deinhard Riesling Sekt Extra Brut, Pfalz
When Weingut Von Winning was founded more than a century ago, its original name was Weingut Dr. Deinhard. Today, a number of its wines are marketed under the Dr. Deinhard name, including this Sekt Extra Brut.
Sekt in Germany
Germany is one of the largest sparkling wine markets in the world. One out of four bottles of sparkling wine is consumed in Germany. Sparkling wine produced in Germany is called Sekt.
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 that only make Sekt and (iii) wine makers, who make predominantly wine, but complement their wine selection by a few Sekts. The Sekts produced by large Sekt Houses tend to be in the demy-sweet and sweet range, while the Sekts of smaller estates and the wine makers are mostly in the brut and extra brut range.
There is a dozen or so large Sekt Houses in Germany, most of them established in the 1800s at the same time as the French Champagne Houses. At that time, there was only one method known to produce Sekt, the méthode traditionnelle. But in contrast to the Champagne Houses, the large German Sekt Houses all moved to the charmat method (in a tank) as main method of the second fermentation after World War II. Like the Champagne Houses, Sekt Houses do not own vineyards, but purchase the base wine from wine makers. More than three quarters of the base wine used to make Sekt is imported from other EU countries, essentially Italy, France and Spain. Sekt can only be labeled as Deutscher Sekt if it is made exclusively from German grapes, which is rare in the case of the large and the smaller Sekt Houses. Most of the Sekt Houses have beautiful chateau-type facilities with old underground cellars for the second fermentation and storage. Overall, these Sekts are reasonably priced, are of good quality, but with the introduction of the charmat method are no longer in the same class as their counterparts in the champagne region.
Like the large Sekt Houses, the smaller Sekt Houses do not own vineyards, but also buy the base wine from wine makers. They also tend to have a long history and often links to the champagne region, beautiful facilities and old cellars for the second fermentation and storage. The big difference is that they typically have not gone the route of tank fermentation but continue to ferment in the méthode traditionnelle.
Finally, there is a number of top quality winemakers, who, in addition, to their still wines, have started to include Sekts in their portfolio. These Sekts are typically vintage Sekts, from a specified vineyard, made of specific grapes, often Riesling, in the méthode champenoise and with little dosage (brut or extra but). While the first fermentation typically takes place at the winery, the second fermentation is often not in the cellar of the wine maker but in the cellar of a Sekt House that bottle-ferments for other wineries.
6 Dry Wines
2014 Iphöfer Silvaner, Weingut Hans Wirsching, Franken
Silvaner is the signature grape of the Franken region, which east of Frankfurt. Most of the Franken wines ware bottled in the traditional Bocksbeutel bottle. This is a bone-dry wine, which goes very well with asparagus. Indeed, Silvaner is the preferred wine for the Germans during the asparagus season.
We visited Weingut Hans Wirsching on the Germany-East Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), see: Tour and Tasting at Weingut Wirsching in Iphofen in Franken with General Manager Uwe Matheus – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
2013 Grauer Burgunder Freiburger Edelacker, GG, Weingut Bernhard Pawis, Saale-Unstrut
This was a very special wine for several reasons. It is not available in the US: we hand-carried it to the US. It is from a wine region in the former GDR, a wine region that was cut off from the world market for some time. And, finally, it is a GG, a Grosses Gewächs, an ultra-premium dry wine in the new German wine classification pushed by the VDP.
We visited Weingut Bernhard Pawis on the Germany-East Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), see: Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Markus Pawis – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
2014 Riesling, Von Unserem, Weingut Balthasar Ress, Rheingau
The Von Unserem was the first of four dry Rieslings. This was an entry-level wine of a top producer from the Rheingau, widely available in the US.
We visited Weingut Balthasar Ress on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014), see: Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany
2012 Riesling Weingut Dönnhoff, Nahe
Hellmut Dönnhoff is one of the world’s Riesling top stars. He recently pulled a bit back an let his son Cornelius Dönnhoff take over. This is an entry-level wine.
We visited Weingut Dönnhoff on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014), see: Wine Tasting and Cellar Tour at Weingut Dönnhoff with Christina Dönnhoff – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)
2012 Riesling, Weingut Klaus-Peter Keller, Rheinhessen
Ever heard of G-Max, a German ultra-premium dry Riesling that sells for several hundred Dollars the bottle? This wine is the entry-level wine of cult wine maker Klaus Peter Keller.
We are booked to see him on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2016), see: Announcement: 5 Exciting ombiasy WineTours in 2016 - BURGUNDY BORDEAUX GERMANY
2011 Riesling, Pündericher Marienburg, GG, Weingut Clemens Busch, Mosel
Finally, another GG, from the Mosel. Yes, the Mosel not only produces super top fruity sweet and noble sweet wines, but also super top dry premium wines, like this one of Clemens Busch.
We visited Weingut Clemens Busch on the Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014), see: Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Clemens Busch – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)
Germany Drinks Dry
Many wine drinkers, in particular outside of Europe, when they see a German wine in the shelves, have the association of a sweet-style wine. This is however misguided. German wines as a rule are dry wines. Let me quote Terry Theise: … What I myself see, from the growers I visit and the restaurants I go to, and the stories I am told, Germany is not only a dry-wine culture, it is militantly and obsessively so. How many letters have I gotten from travelers to Germany who were promptly dismayed to find the utter hegemony of the Trocken style? I did not set these people up. They saw what I see. … If you were dropped from the sky and landed in Germany you would conclude it is a dry wine culture.
Steffen Christmann, the President of the VDP, the German elite wine maker association, estimates that 95% of German wine beyond a price point of Euro 15 is dry. Christian Witte, Domain Administrator of Schloss Johannisberg, says that 85% of the wines he exports to the US are sweet-style. This was 95% 10 years ago. Thus, German dry wine is still a niche market in the US, but a rapidly expanding niche as the world discovers German dry wine.
Germany by ombiasy PR WineTours 2016
The husband and wife team Annette and Christian Schiller will personally guide the tours throughout the trip. Through our friendships with winemakers and owners of estates, all tours will become a very personal experience for everyone in our small group.
GERMANY EAST (May 12 - May 20)
This 9 day tour allows wine lovers and aficionados of the arts to experience what the statement “wine is a form of art” entails. Wine, music, dance, visual arts, kaleidoscope of European and German history. We experience all this in Germany’s beautiful wine regions in the East, which is also the cradle of German intellect and culture. We will visit 19 wineries, among them wineries that embody the wine and art approach, and attend 4 performances at world-renowned theater houses.
GERMANY NORTH (May 05 - May 11)
This 7 day tour lets us explore the regions that are quintessential to understand “Riesling”, and the concept of “terroir”. We will visit many picturesque wine towns and will do a cruise on the romantic Rhine River with its castle- and vine-ribboned bank; the Mosel valley with its dizzying steep vineyards; delving into 2000 years of history and tasting premium wines at world-class wine estates.
GERMANY SOUTH / ALSACE (Aug 28 - Sep 03)
This 7 day tour takes us to the southernmost German wine regions and we will experience the German red wine revolution - gorgeous Pinot-Noirs. We will visit Germany’s unconventional, but exceptionally gifted winemakers as well as top estates in Alsace to compare the very different approaches of winemaking philosophies. We will dine at Michelin starred restaurants reflecting southern Germany's affinity with Haute Cuisine, and proximity to culinary Alsace in France across the Rhine river.
For more details: www.ombiasypr.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
schiller-wine - Related Postings
Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Announcement: 5 Exciting ombiasy WineTours in 2016 - BURGUNDY BORDEAUX GERMANY
Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Tasting at Weingut Wirsching in Iphofen in Franken with General Manager Uwe Matheus – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Markus Pawis – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Tasting at Weingut Balthasar Ress, Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Stefan Ress, Germany
Wine Tasting and Cellar Tour at Weingut Dönnhoff with Christina Dönnhoff – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)
Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Clemens Busch – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)