Saturday, February 13, 2016
Tour and Tasting at Schloss Johannisberg, Rheingau, with Christian Witte, Domaine Director – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
This visit was a fitting finale and a highlight of our tour through the northern German wine regions. It is the world’s oldest Riesling wine estate going back 900 years and it was here that the “Spätlese” (Late Harvest) wine was accidently discovered.
“Domänenverwalter” (Domaine Director) Christian Witte was our host. He showed us around, including the historical casks cellar from 1721 and the former monastery cellar built nine centuries ago, and conducted a tasting.
Weingut Schloss Johannisberg
Wine making in the Schloss Johannisberg vineyards started long before the castle was build, during the reign of Charlemagne. The hill became known as Johannisberg (John's mountain) in the 1100s, when a Romanesque basilica in honor of John the Baptist was built on the hill. The Chateau that we see today was built in the 1700s by the Prince-Abbot of Fulda. In 1720 he planted Riesling vines, making it the oldest Riesling vineyard in the world.
For many centuries the estate was owned by the Prince-Abbot of Fulda, but changed hands several times during the Napoleonic wars and subsequent secularization. In 1816, Austrian Emperor Francis II, gave the estate to his Foreign Minister, Prince von Metternich, as a thank you for his successful negotiations in the reorganization of Europe during the “Congress of Vienna”. The last resident of the Metternich family at Schloss Johannisberg, Tatjana Princess von Metternich was a patron of the arts in the Rheingau and beyond and revived the castle to its former glory after the destructions during World War II. After her death in 2006, the Oetker family (yes, that's the one that produces baking helpers and puddings) bought the estate.
Current estate manager is Christian Witte who fabulously manages the domaine and honors the long traditions at Schloss Johannisberg by focusing rigorously on quality.
The vineyard Schloss Johannisberg is also a single vineyard designation (Einzellage) in its own right. Like the Steinberg, it is one of a handful historic German vineyards which do not have to display a village name on the label. Thus, the vineyard designation on the label is Schloß Johannisberger. There are currently about 35 hectares of vineyard.
The Oetker family also owns the renowned Weingut G.H. von Mumm, also in Johannisberg. Weingut G.H. von Mumm is jointly managed with Weingut Schloss Johannisberg by Christian Witte and his team.
Weingut Schloss Johannisberg has been making wine for over 900 years. The winery is most noted for its claim to have "discovered" the Spätlese wine, late harvest wine. (This, however, is contested by the Hungarians; they claim that the late harvest was discovered in the Tokaji region.)
Long before printed labels were common practice, Schloss Johannisberg had its own system of distinguishing among its bottlings through the use of colored seals. Introduced by Fürst von Metternich in 1820 and in use to this day, the quality of a wine can be identified according to color.
Furthermore, in accordance with an edict issued by Fürst von Metternich - Winneburg in 1830, all labels still bear the signature of the current Domaine Director.
Gelblack (yellow seal): QbA
Rotlack (red seal): Kabinett
Grünlack (green seal): Spätlese
Silberlack (silver seal): Großes Gewächs
Rosalack (pink seal): Auslese
Rosa-Goldlack (pink-gold seal): Beerenauslese
Goldlack (gold seal): Trockenbeerenauslese
Blaulack (blue seal): Eiswein
2014 50 Degree Riesling
2014 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Gelblack feinherb Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2014 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Rotlack Kabinett feinherb Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2014 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Silberlack GG Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2013 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Silberlack GG Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2013 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Grünlack Spätlese Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2014 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Grünlack Spätlese Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2012 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Rosalack Auslese Domain Schloss Johannisberg
2011 Schloss Johannisberger Riesling Rosa-Goldlack Beerenauslese Domain Schloss Johannisberg
Thanks Christian for a wonderful tour and tasting.
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
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Announcement: 5 Exciting ombiasy WineTours in 2016 - BURGUNDY BORDEAUX GERMANY