Monday, August 23, 2010

The Sauvignon Blanc Trophy 2010 - The Top 20 German Sauvignon Blancs

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Fred Prinz, Winner of the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy 2010 Germany, in Berlin, October 2010

Sauvignon Blanc produced in Germany was a few years ago completely unheard of. If we would drink a Sauvignon Blanc in Germany, we would turn to the Bordeaux or Loire wines. Today, Sauvignon Blanc is becoming a well established grape variety in Germany, although it is still a niche wine. Its stronghold are the Rheinhessen, Baden, Wuerttemberg and Pfalz regions. But surprisingly, the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy 2010 goes to wine producer in the Rheingau.

This was the fifth time that this contest for the best German Sauvignon Blanc was organized by the wine journalist Mario Scheuermann from Hamburg, Germany, in cooperation with the wine journal Falstaff. See here (in German).

The judges were: Ralf Bochinski (Weinland Waterfront), Dietmar Busch (Rungis Express, Hamburg) Elisabeth Füngers (Restaurant Nil, Hamburg), Dirk Helmrich (Helmrich´s Bistro Weine, Hamburg). Hagen Hoppenstedt (Harlin im Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, Hamburg), Eberhard Jourdan (Hamburg), Jörg Schattauer (DC Weinimport), Mario Scheuermann (, Hamburg), Vitus Steinhorst (Rindchens Weinkontor, Hamburg), Dr. Eckhard Supp (eno world wine,, Hamburg) Toni Viehhauser (Hafen Klub, Hamburg).

Sauvignon Blanc in the World

Sauvignon Blanc originates from the Bordeaux and Loire regions in France. It is now planted in many of the world's wine regions.

In France, Sauvignon Blanc is grown in the maritime climate of Bordeaux (especially in Entre-Deux-Mers, Graves and Pessac-Leognan as a dry wine, and in Sauternes as a sweet wine) as well as the continental climate of the Loire Valley (as Pouilly Fumé, Sancerre, and Sauvignon de Touraine).

Sauvignon Blanc is one of only four white grapes allowed in the production of white Bordeaux AOC. In the Sauternes region, the grape is blended with Sémillon to make the noble-sweet Sauternes. The composition varies from producer and can range from 5-50% of Sauvignon Blanc, with the Château d'Yquem using 20%.

In Australia, particularly the Margaret River region, the grape is often blended with Sémillon. In the 1990s, Sauvignon Blanc wines from the maritime climatic regions of New Zealand became popular on the global wine market. In North America, California is the leading producer of Sauvignon Blanc with plantings also found in Washington State. There, wine produced from the Sauvignon Blanc grape is also known as Fumé Blanc, introduced by Robert Mondavi as an allusion to the French Pouilly-Fumé. Sauvignon Blanc is also gaining prominence in Austria, South Africa, Italy and Germany.

Around 80,000 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc are estimated to be planted worldwide, with the largest concentrations in France and New Zealand.

Sauvignon Blanc in Germany

Sauvignon Blanc is well established now in Germany after its introduction 10 years ago, but still only a niche wine. Germany's total vineyard area is about 100.000 hectares, of which some 600 hectares are planted with Sauvignon Blanc. Some 500 producers in all German wine regions, with the exception of Sachsen, Mittelrhein and Ahr, produce Sauvigon Blanc wines. The largest areas are in the Pfalz (224 hectares), Rheinhessen (130 hectares), Baden (82 hectares) and Württemberg (27 hectares).

The Top 20 German Sauvignon Blanc Wines - 2010

Here are the 2010 German Top 20 Sauvigon Blanc wine.

Platz 1
2009 Sauvignon blanc 17,6
Weingut Fred Prinz, Hallgarten, Rheingau. With Weingut Fred Prinz from Hallgarten, an Estate from the Riesling stronghold Rheingau won the Sauvignon Blanc Trophy in 2010. This is a sign that this grape is moving to the north. Its first home was Baden and Wuerttemberg, then it moved to the Pfalz and Rheinhessen, and now has arrived in the Rheingau.

Platz 2
2009 Element Sauvignon blanc 17,5
Wein- und Sekthaus Aloisiushof, St. Martin, Pfalz. Aloisiushof is one of the up-and-coming wine producers. It is very active in social media. It has not yet made it to the Gault and Millau grape classification, but I would expect Aloisiushof to receive the first grape in the next round of ratings.

Platz 3
2009 Sauvignon blanc Terra Rossa 17,4
Weingut Weedenbornhof, Monzernheim, Rheinhessen. Another up-and-coming wine producer. Does not yet have been awarded a grape in the Gault and Millau Guide, but it should receive one in the next round of ratings.

Platz 4
2009 Meerspinne Sauvignon blanc 17,3
Weingut Weik, Neustadt/Weinstrasse, Pfalz

Platz 5
2009 Sauvignon blanc „Fränkische Klassik“ 17,25
Weingut Felshof, Sommerhausen, Franken

Platz 6
2009 Astrum *** 17.2
Weingut Zimmerle, Korb, Württemberg

Platz 7
2009 Sauvignon blanc 17,2
Karl - Heinz Johner, Vogtsburg-Bischoffingen, Baden

A 3 grapes Gault and Millau producer; Karl-Hanz Johner and his son Patrick also own and operate a winery in New Zealand, where they produces outstanding Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Platz 8
2009 Sauvignon blanc 17,1
Weingut Braunewell, Essenheim, Rheinhessen

Platz 9
2009 Steinbuckel Sauvignon blanc 17,1
Weingut Lichti, Laumersheim, Pfalz

Platz 10
2009 Sauvignon blanc *** 17,1
Weingut G. Aldinger, Fellbach, Württemberg

Platz 11
2009 Sauvignon blanc 17
Schloss Ortenberg, Ortenberg, Baden

Platz 12
2009 Sauvignon blanc et gris 17
Schloss Ortenberg, Ortenberg, Baden

Platz 13
2009 Sauvignon blanc 17
Weingut Corbet, Neustadt-Diedesfeld, Pfalz

Platz 14
2009 Sauvignon blanc 16,9
Weingut Gehrig, Weisenheim am Sand, Pfalz

Platz 15
2009 Sauvignon blanc "R" 16,8
Weingut Fritz Waßmer, Bad Krozingen, Baden

Platz 16
2009 Bannstein Sauvignon blanc 16,8
Pfaffenweiler Weinhaus, Pfaffenweiler, Baden

Platz 17
2009 Sauvignon blanc 16,8
Weingut Bernhart, Schweigen, Baden

Platz 18
2009 Sängerhalde Sauvignon blanc 16,7
Weingut Aufricht, Stetten, Baden

I visited the Aufricht Estate a few months ago.

In Baden, the wine industry is dominated by wine co-operatives; they account for 85% of the region's production. Private winemakers are the exception. One of these exceptions is the Aufricht Estate. They started out as a member of a wine co-operative and became independent about 20 years ago, after the brothers Robert and Manfred Aufricht had taken over from their parents. Manfred, the younger of the two brothers, explained that all grapes are selectively hand-picked. For over ten years now the Aufrichts follow environmentally-friendly winemaking principles.

The Estate is located on the same latitude as Burgundy, on Lake Constance between Meersburg and Hagnau. The lake’s water reflects the sun like a mirror. The roots of the vines get their "food" from the glacial moraine of granite, limestone and gneiss of the Alps.

The vineyard area totals 24 hectares, with holdings in the Fohrenberg and Sängerhalde sites. The Aufricht brothers grow Pinot Noir, Lemberger, Pinot Madeleine and Regent, and Pinot Gris, Auxerrois,Pinot Blanc, Müller-Thurgau, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The Aufricht brothers were the first to plant Sauvignon Blanc again in the Lake Constance region. The top red wines are matured in barriques for several years. Bottle-fermented sparkling wines are also produced.

Pictures: Christian G.E.Schiller and Manfred Aufricht at Weingut Aufricht

The wine list contains about 30 wines. Half of them are white wines, starting from Euro 7.40 and going up to Euro 17.40. The red wines start at Euro 7.90; most red wines do not go beyond Euro 10. One of the two exceptions is a 2007 Pinot Noir for Euro 30.50, which is the most expensive wine in the portfolio. Lake Constance wines are, in general, no bargain wines – but still very good deals by American standards.

The last years brought Robert and Manfred Aufricht worldwide recognition and honors. The Aufricht Estate has now 2 Grapes (out of 5) in the Gault Millau Wine Guide.

Platz 19
2009 Sauvignon blanc „CS“ 16,7
Weedenbornhof, Monzernheim, Rheinhessen

Platz 20
2009 Zechberg Sauvignon blanc Spätlese trocken 16,7
Weingut Hornbergerhof, Framersheim, Franken

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

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A Combination of Extraordinary Wine and Art: Peter Winter's Georg Mueller Stiftung in the Rheingau

The Avantgarde Wine World of Dr. Martin Tesch

Impressions from the Riesling & Co World Tour 2010 in New York

Best of German Dry White Wines and Winemakers - The Falstaff 2010 Ranking

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Wine Basics: Erstes Gewaechs, Grosses Gewaechs, Erste Lage

In the Glass: 2007 Rheinhessen with Oysters at the Ten Bells in the Lower East Side in Manhattan

German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

Wine Caravan from Germany Visiting the East Coast, US: Dr. Fischer, Fitz Ritter, Bolling-Lehnert, Schneider, Dr. Thanisch

The Exciting Lake Wines of the Aufricht Brothers from Lake Constance in Germany


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The IMO best German Sauvignons like von Winning, Beurer, Schnaitmann have not been considered in this tasting, so it's more like the best of the rest.