Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Young Winemaker to Watch: Bastian Petry in Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Bastian Petry at Weinhaus Bluhm in Mainz, Germany

There are perhaps 2 dozens or so winemakers in Hochheim, Germany, a wine village half an hour away from Frankfurt am Main by S-Bahn, in the eastern corner of the Rheingau region. Weingut Lindenhof, owned and run by the Petry family, is one of those that have not received any international or national attention so far. But this may change in the future, with junior Bastian Petry having taken over the winery. Until January 1, 2011, Bastian used to work for star winemaker Gunter Kuenstler, were he also got his apprenticeship. The first wine made by Bastian will be the 2011 vintage. I am looking forward to these wines.

I have not yet been to Bastian Petry’s Winery, but I plan to do this later this month. I met Bastian in – as far as I am concerned – best wine tavern in Mainz, Weinhaus Bluhm.

Picture: Weinhaus Bluhm

Hochheim in the Rheingau

Hochheim is one of the top wine producing villages in the Rheingau region with about two dozens winemakers. Already Goethe spoke of its distinctive microclimate: '...among the magnates of Rheingau wine, Rüdesheim, Johannisberg and Hochheim, there can be no dispute about rank!...'. The Őchsle tend to be higher here than in other areas of the Rheingau. And it was the English Queen Victoria's (1819-1901) special preference for Hochheim wine that prompted the abbreviation ‘Hock' for all good Rhine wines. But Hochheim is perhaps best known in the U.S. through President Jefferson. This is where Thomas Jefferson, when he was Ambassador in Paris, visited in 1788 and brought vine cuttings back to America to plant in his own vineyard.
Hochheim is about 50 minutes from Frankfurt Airport by S-Bahn. Most of Hochheim’s winemakers sell their wine directly to the consumer at their premise, which is typical for the German wine market, and many operate a cosy Gutsausschank (Tavern), where you eat hearty local food and drink the winery’s wine. Weingut Lindenhof belongs to this group of winemakers.

Weingut Franz Kuenstler

Weingut Franz Kuenstler, by contrast, plays in a different ligue. The Franz Kuenstler Estate is one of Germany’s world class wine producers. It has 5 F’s (out of 5) in the Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2011 ranking. The Wine Estate is currently run by Gunter Kuenstler, who took over from his father Franz a number of years ago. Until the late 1980s Franz was in charge and from the early 1990s on, the Kuenstler wines were made by Gunter.

I met Franz Kuenstler more than 30 years ago, when I used to live in Mainz, Germany. Hochheim is very close to Mainz and my wife and I developed a special relationship with the winemakers of Hochheim. That was boosted by the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim – a wine brotherhood – whose founding members Franz, my wife and I are.

Picture: Gunter Kuenstler with Annette and Christian Schiller

After the acquisition of the Aschrott estate, the Künstler estate is currently comprised of about 26 hectares with 85% planted to Riesling and 15% to Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir), all in Hochheim. A tiny bit of Chardonnay is planted to be used in the estate sparkling wine. Even though it belongs to the Rheingau, Hochheim is actually situated along the Main river. Its vineyards have amongst the best exposure and climate in all of the Rheingau. It is located in Hochheim, Rheingau, just 30 Minutes away by S-Bahn from Frankfurt am Main central railway station. Coming from Frankfurt, you arrive in vineyards and it is a beautiful walk up the vineyards to the village and the Kuenstler Estate at the village entrance.

Bastian Petry and Weingut Lindenhof

Weingut Petry has 7 hectares of vineyard area. A large part of its wines is sold in the Strausswirtschaft on the premise, were you eat basic, homemade food and drink the wines of Weingut Lindenhof. They are open for 3 months during March/June and again September/November, during weekend in the evening.

Pictures: Bastian Petry

The Current Wine Portfolio

Ausschankweine 1,0-l-Flasche

2010 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett trocken ausverkauft
2010 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett feinherb ausverkauft

Trockene Weißweine 0,75-l-Flasche

1 2009 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett trocken ausverkauft
2 2010 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett trocken 6,50
3 2010 Hochheimer Stein Weißburgunder Spätlese trocken 7,00
4 2010 Hochheimer Hofmeister Grauburgunder trocken 7,00
5 2009 Hochheimer Berg Chardonnay trocken ausverkauft
6 2010 Hochheimer Spätlese Weißburgunder/Riesling
7 2009 Hochheimer Stielweg Riesling Spätlese trocken – Alte Reben– 8,50

Feinherbe Weiß- und Weißherbstweine 0,75-l-Flasche

8 2009 Hochheimer Hölle Riesling Kabinett feinherb 5,50
9 2010 Hochheimer Daubhaus Spätburgunder Weißherbst feinherb 7,00

Fruchtige, milde Weißweine 0,75-l-Flasche

10 2008 Hochheimer Stielweg Riesling Spätlese fruchtig ausverkauft
11 2010 Hochheimer Stielweg Riesling Spätlese fruchtig 9,00

Trockene Rotweine 0,75-l-Flasche

12 2010 Hochheimer Dornfelder Rotwein trocken 6,00
13 2010 Hochheimer Hölle Spätburgunder Rotwein trocken 8,00
14 2009 Aus der Hölle Spätburgunder Rotwein trocken – im Holzfass gereift– 15,00

Leichtsinn 0,75-l-Flasche

2010 Rheingauer >Leichtsinn< trocken, Qualitätsperlwein b. A. , 5,50

Sekt 0,75-l-Flasche

Riesling Sekt brut 9,00

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