Wednesday, February 19, 2020

12 Categories: Germany's Best Wines - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020

Picture: Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach. See: Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020 was released on Thursday, October 31, 2019. The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020 reviews on about 1000 pages more than 11.000 wines of 1000 wineries. Its rating symbol is a star and Germany’s best winemakers are awarded one to five stars. The wines are rated on the 1 to 100 scale.

12 winemakers received the top rating of 5/ 5 stars in the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020.

See:
Germany's 12 Top Winemakers (With 5/5 Stars) - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020 

The Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020 honored the following three outstanding personalities of the German wine world with Winemaker of the Year, Rising Star of the Year and Discovery of the Year awards:

Winemaker of the Year (Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020): Matthias and Hansjörg Aldinger, Weingut Aldinger (Württemberg)

Rising Star of the Year (Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020): Carl Ehrhard, Weingut Ehrhard (Rheingau)

Discovery of the Year (Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020): Carsten Saalwächter, Weingut Saalwächter (Rheinhessen)

This posting lists the #1 wines in 12 different categories in the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020.

Picture: WeinGuides Deutschland 2020 (Photo: Weingut Corvers-Kauter - Facebook)

Postings/ Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020

I am releasing 4 postings with regard to the Vinum WeingGuide Deutschland 2019:

Germany's Best Winemakers - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020 Awards
Germany's Best Wines: 12 Categories - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020
Germany's 12 Top Winemakers (With 5/5 Stars) - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020
Winemaker of the Year (Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020): Matthias and Hansjörg Aldinger, Weingut Aldinger (Württemberg), Germany

12 Categories: Germany's Best Wines - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020

SEKT

Vinum: Volker Raumland from Rheinhessen is (almost) unbeatable in this category. In the Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2020, four of the ten best Sekts are from him, including this year's winner, the 2010 Raumland X. Triumvirate Grande Cuvée Sekt Brut (95 points). "A truly profound sparkling wine, carried by a prancing lightness," enthuses the jury. "More is not possible - at most different."

Picture: Tasting at Sekthaus Raumland in Flörsheim-Dalsheim, Rheinhessen, with Heide-Rose and Volker Raumland - Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours

SPÄTBURGUNDER

Vinum: In the Pinot Noir category, the winner came from a tiny producer in the South Palatinate Region, which alread wone gold as a surprise last year. With 96 points the 2017 Pinot Noir l’Artiste by Hans-Erich Dausch (Pfalz) "dances between fruit and structure. The Pinot Noir of the year has immense length and depth." His biggest competitor this year was he himself, because his "simple" Pinot Noir came in second, ahead of Knipser, Koch, Huber, Fürst and Rebholz.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber in Baden, with Yquem Viehauser and Julian Huber – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

WHITE BURGUNDY GRAPE VARIETIES

Vinum: Not beatable however was Rebholz when it came to white Burgundy varieties: With 95 points, the 2018 Birkweiler Mandelberg Grosses Gewächs set itself apart from the competition for the second year in a row. "Hansjörg Rebholz brings elegance and harmony into the bottle in all respects," Matthias Mangold praises the white Burgundy of the year. "Fruit, play and spice - all elements are in perfect balance."

Picture: In the Cellar of Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz, Siebeldingen, Pfalz, with Hansjörg and Valentin Rebholz. See: Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz, with Hansjörg and Valentin Rebholz and Sabine Wagner - Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours

OTHER RED WINES

Vinum: For the first time, the jury honored red wines that are not Pinot Noirs with their own category. This list is made up of domestic and international red grape varieties, which made the tasting exciting - and also challenging. In the end, Hanspeter Ziereisen (Baden) came out on top with his 2016 Syrah "Jaspis". "A fragrance emanates from the glass like the great models from the Rhone Valley," said the judges. "Cool, graphite and with a hint of black pepper, the winning wine relies entirely on structure, character and individuality."

Pictures: Massive Tasting at Weingut Ziereisen, with Hanspeter and Edeltraud Ziereisen. See: 2 Cellar Tours and 1 Tasting at Weingut Ziereisen in Efringen, Markgräfler Land, Baden, with Hanspeter and Edel Ziereisen - Germany-South and Alsace 2018 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

SILVANER

Vinum: At VINUM, the Silvaner has had its "traditional place among the major German white wines" for a longer period of time. The most outstanding wine in this category - and thus Silvaner of the year - is, according to the experts led by Harald Scholl with 93 points, the 2018 Sulzfelder Creutz from Weingut Zehnthof Luckert in Franken, which was already among the winners last year. The roughly 400 ungrafted vines planted at the end of the 19th century always produce a wine of great finesse and elegance. "The 2018 will really start to open after days only," said the jury. "It is worth trying!"

Picture: Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Zehnthof Luckert, in Sulzfeld, Franken, with Philipp Luckert. See: Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Zehnthof Luckert, in Sulzfeld, Franken, with Philipp Luckert - Germany-East Tour 2018 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture, History - Berlin, Saale-Unstrut, Sachsen, Württemberg, Franken

RIESLING DRY

Vinum: In the Riesling dry category, Theresa Breuer (Rheingau) created with her 2018 Rüdesheimer Berg Rottland (97 points) “an exceptional Riesling from an otherwise difficult year,” says Joel B. Payne. "Race and strength at the same time, fine wood, inner density, great draw, salty reverberation - Chapeau, Madame!", he continues his hymn of praise. It was a long time ago that a Rheingau was at the top. Theresa Breuer is following in the footsteps of her father Bernhard, one of the pioneers of the new dry wave in Germany.

Picture: Theresa Breuer and Christian Schiller in New York City

GUTSRIESLING

Vinum: Another new category is Gutsriesling/ Estate Riesling, entry-level Riesling. These wines are the calling card of every winemaker, that is, the "simple" drops that you really don't have to kneel down to drink - and in many cases they are still reasonably priced. This year one was surprisingly good too! The 2018 Schieferterrassen from Weingut Heymann Löwenstein (Mosel) is in the book with 90 points. Although the entry-level Riesling of this estate, this honor says a lot about the other, even higher-quality Rieslings of the house. "Here the consumer can buy blindly," recommends the editor-in-chief.

Picture: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein in Winningen, Mosel, with Reinhard Löwenstein - Germany-North Tour 2017 by ombiasy WineTours

RIESLING FEINHERB

Vinum: "A special knack for the Riesling feinherb category" attests Harald Scholl to the Weber family from Hofgut Falkenstein (Saar). Their 2018 Niedermenninger Herrenberg Spätlese - 21 - took first place with 94 points. The wine of the same name with barrel number four reached fourth place with 93 points - behind Molitor and Loewen.

Picture: Johannes Weber of Hofgut Falkenstein, Mosel in New York City. See: The Annual "Slaughterhouse" Riesling Feast in New York: Rieslingfeier 2017, USA

RIESLING KABINETT

Vinum: In the Riesling Kabinett category, the producers in the Mosel wine-growing region are again among themselves this year: all ten top wines come from estates on the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer. The tasters describe the winner, the 2018 Kanzemer Altenberg, auction wine of the Saarweingut von Othegraven (94 points) as "dream", which is now owned by the well-known TV star Günther Jauch. "A thoroughly hedonistic wine, smoky and yellow-fruity at the same time," praised the jury. "It is juicy, has endless pressure and tension. What more do you want?" ask the experts.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Christian Ress and Gunther Jauch. See: A Riesling Feast in an Historic Setting: Riesling Gala 2016 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany

RIESLING SPÄTLESE

Vinum: One is hardly less impressed by the number one in the Riesling Spätlese category, the 2018 Enkircher Ellergrub (95 points) from Weingut Weiser-Künstler (Mosel): "The Ellergrub Spätlese from this estate has always been good," says the description of the editors. «This time it is almost perfect. Dense and powerful, fresh as a clear mountain stream!

Picture: Weiser-Künstler, Traben-Trarbach (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) - Konstantin Weiser and Alexandra Künstler of Weingut Weiser-Künstler at the Rieslingfeier2016 in New York. See: A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2016, USA

RIESLING AUSLESE

Vinum: In the past, German producrs could only make Rieslings of the "Auslese" grade two or three times a decade, but thanks to global warming, these exquisite drops of golden, fully ripe grapes are now made almost every year. The Mosel Region also dominates in this discipline: Egon Müller (Saar) showed the best Riesling Auslese of the year 2018 with his Scharzhofberger Goldkapsel Versteigerungswein (98 points), just a tick ahead of a Selbach-Oster with the same points.

Picture: Annette Schiller and Egon Müller in New York City. See: The Annual "Slaughterhouse" Riesling Feast in New York: Rieslingfeier 2017, USA

RIESLING NOBLE-SWEET

Vinum: Selbach-Oster (Mosel) has also won first place in the noble-sweet Rieslings category with its Trockenbeerenauslese. Joel B. Payne describes the “breathtaking Trockenbeerenauslese” from the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr vineyard as an “elixir of infinite life”. In the opinion of the jury, it is one of the very rare perfect wines with 100 points! With a second Trockenbeerenauslese from the same vineyard, Johannes Selbach also won bronze with 99 points.

Picture: Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach. See: Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, Mosel, with Johannes Selbach – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Earlier Years

Germany's Best Wines: 10 Categories - Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2019
Germany’s Best Winemakers – Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2019 Awards
Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Vinum WeinGuide Deutschland 2018 Awards: The Award Ceremony in Mainz, Germany
Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2017 Awards
Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2016 Awards: The Awards Ceremony in Mainz, Germany
Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015 Awards Ceremony in Mainz, Germany
Best German Wines and Winemakers: Gault Millau Awards – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2014
Best German Wines and Wine Makers – the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2013 Awards
2012: Best German Wines (Awards) – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2012
2011: Gault Millau WeinGuide Germany 2011 – Ratings
Gault Millau Wine Germany 2010

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Announcement: Upcoming ombiasy Wine Tours 2020 - (1) Alsace and Germany South, (2) Rhône Valley, (3) Bordeaux and (4) Germany: Christmas Market, Wine, Concert Tour

Annual Riesling Party at the Schiller Residence in Washington DC, USA (2019)








Monday, February 17, 2020

How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2019, France

Pictures: How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2019, France

A very special stop during the 2019 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours was the one at Cooperage Berger et Fils. Until very recently, and for a long time, the company was a family-company, run and owned by René Berger and his wife Valérie Berger. Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil was acquired by the TFF Group  a few years ago.

When we first visited Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil the company was still owned and run by the Berger family. Valérie Berger was our guide and we met René Berger durng the tour. At that time the web site of Cooperage Berger & Fils contained a very detailed description of the whole barrel making process, which I used for my block posting.

In this posting, I kept the text of René and Valérie Berger. The pictures are from the 2019 Tour.

The Managing Director of Cooperage Berger & Fils was our guide.

TFF Group

TFF Group, formerly Tonnellerie Frany detacois Freres SA, is a France-based company that manufactures and distributes oak barrels. The Company has four core businesses: stave milling, cooperage, cask manufacturing and oak wine-aging products. The Company has operating units in France, the United States, Spain, Hungary, South Africa, China, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland.

Cooperage Berger and Fils

René Berger: My passion was born from that of my father and grandfather. I am the proud descendant of a family of coopers, based in the Médoc, a truly exceptional land, since the beginning of the last century. From a very young age, these two men breathed into me the love of manual work and craftsmanship. They raised me in the pure artisanal tradition of master coopers, passing down their ancestral savoir-faire. It was therefore a natural conclusion that I should become a cooper in my turn.

Pictures: Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil

When my father passed away in 1991, my first aim was to preserve and perpetuate his work, transmitting the craftsman’s skills to my own children. My mother’s full support was very important to me then, as it is now. It was also important to me to fight against an increasing standardization of production within the profession.

Making a Barrel

The Managing Director of Cooperage Berger & Fils took us through the whole process of producing a wine barrel.

Valérie Berger: A wine barrel is made up of staves which have been shaped into a bulging cylinder, and flat heads or ends. The staves are held in place by metal hoops. Six to eight hoops encircle the barrel spaced along the length. It takes approximately eight man hours to produce a single wine barrel.

Selection of the Oak

Valérie Berger: We choose the wood for our barrels with the help of well-known professionals, selecting slow-growing French Haute Futaie oak trees which become fine grain timber.

French oak is considered to be the most desirable wood for making wine barrels. Most French Oak comes from one or more of the forests planted in the days of Napoleon for ship building. Five of those forests are primarily used for wine barrel making: Allier, Limousin, Nevers, Trancais and Vosges forests. American Oak is considered to have too much influence on the content of the barrels. But usage is on the rise as the larger influence is sometimes desired and as American barrels are substantially less expensive than the French barrels. Hungarian Oak is also being used for barrel making.

Pictures: Natural Seasoning for 36 Months

The Stavemaker’s Work

Valérie Berger: To achieve the best blends, we acquire stave wood coming from different forests in the centre of France. For the same reason, we work in collaboration with different stave makers in the various areas ensuring a diversification in our supplies. Since 2003 we have developed a partnership with one of them who now prepares staves exclusively for the Tonnellerie Berger.

The selection of the stave wood is extremely important because it essentially determines the quality of the finished product. Wood is selected based on many criteria, including tree shape and growing conditions. These factors determine the textural variety of wood fibers, the fineness of grain and tannin content. Tight grain and fine tannin content are found only in the best wood.

Coding the Wood

Valérie Berger: Each pallet is coded by computer on arrival at our cooperage in Vertheuil, thus allowing the traceability of the barrel. The staves are then carefully stacked in the timber yard.

Natural Seasoning for 36 Months

Valérie Berger: Following the coding the staves are washed and then dried in the open air for at least 3 years in our 16,000 M2 timber yard. The wood will free itself of its harsh tannins and will gain the maturity and complexity necessary for the making of a great barrel.

Preparation of the Wood

Valérie Berger: Pallets of staves will be selected according to their origin, and assembled to create a personalized blend corresponding to the needs and wishes of each customer.

Assembling

Valérie Berger: Once selected, the staves are prepared and then assembled on a pattern table where the cooper “raises the barrel”, forming a daisy shape. The wood fibres are softened by pre-heating. Then comes the hooping that, thanks to the effects of fire and water, transforms the daisy into a barrel.

Pictures: Assembling

Toasting

Valérie Berger: The crucial stage of our art. Only the complete mastery of wood and fire makes the difference between a simple container and an exceptional barrel ready to age the wine. The “bousinage”, adapted to respect the particularities requested by each client, exults and nuances the aromas expressed by the wood. The hand-crafted nature of our cooperage enables us to create a tailor-made barrel for each and every one of our customers.

Pictures: Toasting

Hand-fitting, Marking and Scalding

Valérie Berger: The barrel heads are then individually fitted and each barrel is stamped to ensure traceability. A code records the origin and blend of the wood. An impermeability test is carried out by scalding. 10 litres of water heated to 70° C is pumped at high pressure into the barrel which is moved around so that the water is in contact with the whole surface of the inside of the barrel. This process allows us to check for possible leaks but also to collect test water to be analysed for each finished barrel in the aim of receiving the “Excell Inspection” certificate.

Pictures: Finishing

Finishing

Valérie Berger: At this stage we take great care of the aesthetic appearance of our barrel. They are thus sandpapered or hand-scraped for customers who prefer the “guistrage” finish. And the final galvanized steel hoops replace the assembly hoops. And last of all, according to the type of barrel, pine bars held in place by chestnut pegs are set on the heads for the Château Ferré, and four chestnut hoops, bound with a type of wicker are installed for the Bordelaise Traditionnelle. This last step is carried out only by very experienced craftsmen. It is a true heritage of ancestral expertise that can only be mastered after years of practice.

Pictures: Finishing

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Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction

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