Friday, March 11, 2016
Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
More wine is consumed in Württemberg (per capita) than anywhere else in Germany - actually twice as much as in the rest of Germany. The German poet Friedrich von Schiller wrote already several centuries ago: “A Württemberger without wine--is that a real Württemberger?” Yet, the wines of Württemberg are very difficult to find outside of Germany. This is changing slowly, as the world is discovering the outstanding German red wines.
On the Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), we visited 4 of Württemberg’s leading producers: von Neipperg, Dautel, Herzog von Württemberg and Rainer Schnaitmann.
This posting covers the visit of Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann. He took us with his car to his vineyards. We continued in the tasting room of Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann and finished in the barrel cellar.
Wine Region Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 German states that make up Germany. Baden-Wuerttemberg is one of the growth centers of Germany due to its booming export industries. Mercedes-Benz and Porsche are prime examples. Baden-Württemberg comprises two wine growing areas, Baden and Württemberg.
Wine from Württemberg is mainly red wine. The main production area is along the Neckar River between Stuttgart and Heilbronn. There are also vineyards on Lake Constance that belong to Württemberg.
The Trollinger is the most popular variety, which is grown almost exclusively in Württemberg. It is a nice table wine that goes well with the local food. If you are looking for a premium wine, Lemberger (known as Blaufränkisch in Austria and Kékfrankos in its Hungarian homeland) is the grape variety to go for. The Lemberger made by Weingut Dautel and Weingut Wachstetter, which we had during the tour, can compete with the best red wines in the world.
With 11,000 hectares under vine, Württemberg is Germany's fourth largest wine region. Winemaking cooperatives are very common in Württemberg, number around 70, and are responsible for almost 75% of the region's production.
Wines from Württemberg are hard to find in the US. This is partly explained by the production structure, which is dominated by co-operatives. These co-operatives are known for producing top class wines. But they tend to be less aggressive in terms of penetrating new markets.
Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann
Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann is in Fellbach (close to Stuttgart) in Württemberg. For over 500 years the Schnaitmann family has been making wine in the Rems and Neckar valleys. Rainer Schnaitmann took over the family’s wine business in 1997 and immediately pulled out of the co-operative with the aim of taking his wines into a quite different, quality register. The 1997 vintage was the first vintage that Rainer Schnaitmann produced under his own name.
In 2000, the winery was certified as organic winegrowing estate according to the EEC regulation on ecological winemaking.
Rainer Schnaitmann was chosen newcomer of the year in 2007 by Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide just 10 years after he founded the estate.
What he has accomplished in barely 15 years, taking 2 ½ hectares from the local Fellbach co-op to the top of the Württemberg wine region with now 25 hectares, is an amazing accomplishment in German Wine. Today, Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann belongs to the larger (privately owned) estates in Württemberg. Rainer Schnaitmann definitely helped putting Württemberg on the map for the serious wine aficionado outside of Germany.
His most important holding is the Grosse Lage (Grand Cru) Fellbacher Lämmler with gypsum keuper, colored marl and sedimented red sandstone depending on elevation in the vineyard. The other Grand Cru, the Uhlbacher Götzenberg, Rainer Schnaitmann’s holdings are in the heart piece which is a red sandstone quarry – easy to warm up, poor water maintenance – lighter soil produces looser knit but refined Rieslings.
Grape varieties: 25% Riesling 25% Lemberger 20% Pinot Noir 8% Sauvignon Blanc 6% Pinot Gris 16% other. Weingut Schnaitmann produces 11,000 cases annually and is a member of the VDP since 2006.
The tasting took place in 3 phases: During the vineyard tour, in the tasting room and in the wine cellar.
2011 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Evoé! Blanc de Noirs Brut Sekt
2014 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Riesling Steinwiege trocken VDP.Gutswein
2014 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Riesling Schnait trocken VDP.Gutswein
2014 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Schnaiter Altenberg Riesling trocken VDP.Erste Lage
2013 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Uhlbacher Götzenberg Riesling trocken GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2013 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Fellbacher Lämmler Bergmandel Riesling trocken GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2014 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Sauvignon Blanc trocken VDP.Gutswein
2012 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Sauvignon Blanc trocken VDP.Gutswein
2014 Weingut Rainer SchnaitmannGrau-Weiss trocken VDP.Gutswein
2013 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Fellbacher Lämmler Bergmandel Grauburgunder trocken GG VDP.Grosse Lage
2014 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Trollinger trocken VDP.Gutswein
Faithful to his Württemberger roots, Rainer Schnaitmann still makes Trollinger, the local red that Rainer Schnaitmann describe as “the worker’s wine – light and thirst-quenching” – typically you’ll find it offered by the glass or Viertel (quarter litre) in any little Gasthof.
2012 Weingut Schnaitmann Simonroth Cuvee MC
2012 Weingut Schnaitmann Simonroth Lemberger
2012 Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann Fellbacher Lämmler Bergmandel Spätburgunder GG VDP.Grosse Lage
The top wine, which has won him countless medals and accolades, is the Fellbacher Lämmler Bergmandel Spätburgunder Grosses Gewachs. It sells ex-cellar for 42 euros – “expensive for Württemberg”, he acknowledges cheerfully, “but less than top Pinots from Baden”.
Thanks Rainer Schnaitmann for a wonderful afternoon.
Evening: A Streetcar Named Desire
In the evening, we saw a fascinating ballet performance at the Stuttgart Theater (Stuttgart Ballet Company): "A Streetcar named Desire", Ballet in two parts by John Neumeier based on the play by Tennessee Williams. Music by Sergej Prokofjew and Alfred Schnittke. World Premiere at the Stuttgart Ballet on December 3, 1983.
The Stuttgart Ballet, founded in 1609 as court ballet of the Dukes of Württemberg, was made world famous by South-African born dancer John Cranko after he was appointed director of the ballet in 1961. It is known for its exciting and visually arresting style and for creating full-length narrative ballets. We saw a fascinating, thrilling, suspense-laden performance of “A Streetcar named Desire”, a production by American dancer and choreographer John Neumeier. the leading global figure of the dance scene. His interpretation was cutting edge, very modern, athletic but at the same time very emotional, and the music by Prokofjew and Schnittke underscored beautifully the choreography. This evening reinforced my penchant for modern ballet.
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Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg
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