Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dresden is the New Unlikely Place for Fine Barolo Wine: Weingut Martin Schwarz – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: Martin Schwarz, Weingut Martin Schwarz, and Annette Schiller

We visited Weingut Martin Schwarz and had a tasting at the winery right next to the vineyard. Martin Schwarz joint us for a while but let our visit handle a staff member, Sarah Riedel, with an excellent command of the English language.

A few years ago, Newsweek carried an excellent article about Martin, which I am re-issuing below.

A few weeks after the Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours, I organized a comparative Chardonnay tasting Germany versus Chablis in Washington DC and I was able to acquire a bottle of Martin Schwarz's super Chardonnay for that event.

Picture: The 6 German Chardonnays of the Chardonnay Tasting "Germany versus Chablis" earlier this Year in Washington DC. See: Chardonnay: Germany versus Chablis - Salon Tasting at Schiller's Home, USA

Weingut Martin Schwarz

Martin Schwarz belongs to the group of young, ambitious, up-and coming winemakers in Sachsen. Back in the days when sipping a 1975 Château Margaux on a park bench while skipping Latin classes at school he got hooked to the world of wine, and decided to make wine his profession. He interned at the VDP winery Dr. Heger in Baden to get some practical experiences under his belt. In 1996 he graduated from the famous Geisenheim Oenological University in the Rheingau. A prominent winery in Sachsen was looking for a cellar master and Martin took on that challenge. For 16 years he worked as winemaker at the VDP winery Schloss Proschwitz before he started out on his own in 2013. Today he owns 5 acres in one the best vineyards sites on the steep slopes of the Elbe river. His wines show a very individual character and convince with their complexity and finesse.

Pictures: Weingut Martin Schwarz

Dresden Is The New Unlikely Place for Fine Barolo Wine (Newsweek, 2015)

Newsweek by Elisabeth Braw 4/17/15: Martin Schwarz has only 30 bottles left of his new wine. Despite their heftprice y €50 tag, 70 have already been snapped up since the batch went on sale a few months ago. That may be because it’s the first-ever barolo grown in the East German state of Saxony. “Saxonian barolo” is what Schwarz jokingly labels his pioneering creation, made of Piedmontese nebbiolo grapes, since barolo itself is a Piedmontese trademark.

Pictures: Meeting Martin Schwarz

But the grapes are the same. Until recently, nebbiolo grapes grew only in regions like Piedmont in northern Italy. Saxony, bordering Poland and the Czech Republic, is Germany’s smallest wine region, and for eight centuries vintners here have mostly planted Müller-Thurgau and riesling, earning a well-deserved reputation for excellent dry whites. But with climate change pushing temperatures up, Schwarz decided to try out the red Italian nebbiolo grape here in Radebeul outside Dresden.

Pictures: In the Vineyard

“The mountain slopes here hadn’t been used for grape-growing for a very long time, but I realised that the sunnier side would be perfect for nebbiolo,” explains the 52-year-old. He could not have asked for a more picturesque laboratory: his newly planted slopes below the palace Neufriedstein overlook Radebeul’s charming medieval city centre of small shops and neatly paved streets.

Though Radebeulers refer to their city as the Nice of Saxony, because of its mild climate and stunning scenery, planting Italian grapes this far north was a risky venture. Temperatures may not reach quite the levels common on the south side of the Alps, and climate change may also bring a risk in the form of floods.

Pictures: In the Cellar

“I must say I was surprised the grapes ripened,” Schwarz recalls of his first harvest, in 2012. One year later, he filled his first batch of bottles – the 100 now on sale – and from last year’s harvest 100 litres are now maturing in his cellar.

Vintners in the traditional German wine-growing regions of Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg are also beginning to experiment with southern European grapes. According to figures from the German Wine Institute, planting of cabernet franc – a traditional Bordeaux grape – more than doubled between 2010 and 2013. Trade journal Wine Economics and Policy says climate change is causing monumental changes in wine production, with premium wine production moving north.

Pictures: Tasting

“What we’re doing now here in the north would not have been possible 20 years ago,” reflects Schwarz. “For vintners in Germany, climate change is a good thing. But I do feel for vintners in southern Europe. They can keep planting their grapes, but they’ll get a wine with higher alcohol content.”

Indeed, according to Wine Economics and Policy, Europe’s centuries-old viticulture will undergo an enormous shake-up as entire regions along the coast of Italy, Greece and France become unsuitable for wine-growing altogether, while southern England turns into the new Champagne. A generation from now, pinot noir lovers may well be drinking only the finest Saxonian bottles.

Right now, Schwarz can’t think that far ahead, busy as he is with his current grapes and bottles. “Saxonian barolo is lighter than barolo from Piedmont, but you recognise the nebbiolo straight away,” he says. “It’s a typical nebbiolo; it makes for a very elegant wine.”

Pictures: The Wines

Postings: Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History (Published and Forthcoming Postings)

Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History

Wine Tasting Lunch at Weingut Frölich-Hake in Naumburg-Rossbach, Saale-Unstrut, Germany, with Sandra Hake – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Weingut Pawis in the Saale Unstrut Region: Tour and Wine Tasting with Marcus Pawis – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Tasting at Weingut Uwe Lützkendorf, with Uwe Lützkendorf, in Bad Kösen, Saale-Unstrut – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in the Saale Unstrut Region, Germany

Wine and Music: "Martin Luther Lunch" at the Historic Vincenz Richter Restaurant, Weingut Vincenz Richter, in Meissen with Senior Boss Gottfried Herrlich and the Music of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Visit of Weingut Klaus Zimmerling: The Wines of Klaus Zimmerling and the Art of his Wife Malgorzata Chodakoska - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Wine and Opera in Dresden: Mozart at Semper Opera and the Best Wines of Sachsen at Wine Bar Weinzentrale in Dresden-Neustadt, with Owner/ Sommelier Jens Pietzonka – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Weingut Martin Schwarz in Meissen, Sachsen: Tour and Tasting – Germany-East Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

Visit, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe in Zadel, Sachsen, with Georg Prinz zur Lippe

Schiller's Favorite Winemakers in Sachsen (Saxony), Germany

Vineyard tour, Cellar Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Zur Schwane in Volkach, Franken with Winemaker Christian Kallisch

Vinyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Horst Sauer in Eschendorf, Franken, with Horst Sauer

Vineyard tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Fürstlich Castell'sches Domänenamt, with General Manager/ Winemaker Björn Probst

Michelin-star Level Winepairing Dinner at Winzerhof Stahl, Franken, Prepared by Winemaker/ Chef Christian Stahl

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Juliusspital in Würzburg,Franken

Schiller’s Favorites: 2 Legendary Wine Taverns in Würzburg – Juliusspital and Bürgerspital

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Würzburg

Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour, Lunch and Tasting at Weingut Fürst Hohenlohe Öhringen in Öhringen–Verrenberg,Württemberg with Winemaker Joachim Brand

Cellar Tour, Vineyard Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Weingut Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder in Schozach, Württemberg, with Kilian Graf von Bentzel-Sturmfeder

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Wchstetter in Pfaffenhofen, Württemberg, with Rainer Wachtstetter

Lunch at Restaurant Schloss Monrepos Ludwigsburg, Württemberg, with Chef Ben Benasr (1 Sar Michelin)

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Herzog von Württemberg at Schloss Monrepos in Ludwigsburg, Württemberg, with Andrea Ritz, Wine Queen of Württemberg 

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