Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kruger-Rumpf (Germany) and Dr. Frank (USA) Rieslings – The Wines I Brought to the 2011 European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) Opening BYOB Party

Pictures: 2010 Kruger-Rumpf Riesling, Quarzit, Nahe, Germany and 2008 Dr. Frank Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA and Christian G.E. Schiller with Christian Holthausen, International Communications Director for Charles Heidsick and Piper-Heidsick with the Charles Heidsick Brut 1989 Christian Holthausen brought.

Held in beautiful Brescia, in the northern part of Italy, about an hour east of Milan by car or train, and sponsored by the Franciacorta Producers’ Consortium, the 2011 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) took place on October 14 and 15, with optional pre-conference events on October 13 and wine region excursions from October 17 to 19. Wine bloggers and wine industry professionals joined together to discuss the convergence between the culture of wine and the internet and to taste and enjoy Italian wine and food during 5 days full of lectures, seminars, wine tastings, and vineyard visits. 34 different countries were represented by the 216 participants. Founded and organized by Gabriella and Ryan Opaz of Catavino, and Robert McIntosh of The Wine Conversation, the 2011 EWBC was the fourth European conference, following the 2008 EWBC in La Rioja, Spain, the 2009 EWBC in Lisbon, Portugal and the 2010 EWBC in Vienna, Austria.

This was my second EWBC. I also participated in the EWBC 2010 in Vienna. Here are my 2 overview postings: "The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna"and: "Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont".

Brescia, Monastery of Santa Giulia and Loggia

Brescia is a stately Italian town, tucked away in a quiet corner of Lombardy, at the foot of the Alps, close to Lake Garda and Lake Iseo, untouched by major tourism. Following Schloss Schoenbrunn in Vienna last year, this year’s conference venue was the historic Monastery of Santa Giulia, one of the best examples of High Middle Ages architecture in northern Italy. The Piazza della Loggia eponymous Loggia - the current Town Hall - built in 1492, where the final dinner took place, is is a noteworthy example of Renaissance piazza.

Pictures: Impressions from Brescia

Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) Opening Party

The traditional “Bring Your Own Bottle” (opening) party took place at Hotel Vittoria. This was a very relaxed and informal opportunity to greet fellow participants and network with a bottle of your favorite wine in hand. People brought wine from all over the world. I brought 2 dry Rieslings from Germany and the USA:

Picture: 2010 Kruger-Rumpf Riesling, Quarzit, Nahe, Germany and 2008 Dr. Frank Riesling, Finger Lakes, USA

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Elisabetta Tosi from Italy

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Peer Holm and Thomas Lippert from Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Snooth Editor in Chief Gregory Dal Piaz and EWBC Founder and Organizer Ryan Anderson Opaz

Pictures: Impressions from the BYOB Party

Finger Lakes AVA

The Finger Lakes AVA in upstate New York State encompasses seven glacial lakes, although the majority of plantings are around Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga Lakes. Most vineyards are planted on hillsides overlooking the lakes. These deep lakes help to moderate the climate, as stored heat is released from the lakes during the winter, keeping the weather mild (relative to surrounding areas) and preventing early frosts. The reflection of the sun off the lakes during summer extends the growing season. This cool-climate region is often compared to the wine-growing region of Germany, and like Germany, has had special success with Riesling.

Pictures: Maps of Finger Lakes and New York State

The Finger Lakes include 4,452 hectares of vineyards, making it New York State's largest wine growing region. New York State is with Washington State the second largest wine producer in the US, with a bit more than 10.000 hectares. Of this, 400 hectares are accounted for by Riesling.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery and the Vitis Vinifera Revolution

Dr. Konstantin Frank (1897-1985) was a viticulturist and wine maker in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, USA. He was born in Europe, in Odessa, now Ukraine into a Russian-German family. Dr. Konstantin Frank’s achievement is that he was the first to find a way to plant vitis vinifera varietals in the cool northern fringes of the north-eastern US. The struggle to do this goes back many centuries.

In the original charter of the 13 colonies was a royal commission to pursue three luxury items that England was unable to provide for itself: wine, silk, and olive oil. Every colony made attempts to satisfy the requirements of its charter, but made only limited progress. The problem was that on the one hand there were the native American grapes. All these native American grapes were cold tolerant and disease and pest resistant, but not that well suited for wine making, due to their coarseness, high tannins, and foxy flavors. On the other hand, the vitis vinifera which settlers brought from Europe, were well suited for wine making, but uniformly unable to survive long enough to produce a crop.

Despite many years of failure, the early Americans persisted in their efforts. And they had some success. A big step forward was made in 1740 when a natural cross pollination occurred between a native American grape and a European vitis vinifera. Other successful crossings followed.

So, only native American grapes and European American hybrids were grown in the Finger Lakes area, when Dr. Konstantin Frank arrived in the United States in 1951, finding work at a Cornell University experimental station in the Finger Lakes region. Having grown vitis vinifera back home in regions so cold that "spit would freeze before touching the ground" Dr. Frank believed that the lack of proper rootstock, not the cold climate, was the reason for the failure of vitis vinifera in the Finger Lakes region. He thought that European grapes could do well on the rolling, well-drained hills around the Finger Lakes provided they were grafted onto early maturing American rootstock.

With the help of the French champagne maker Charles Fournier, Dr. Frank put his ideas into practice. He developed the right root stock and grafted European vitis vinifera on them. He planted these vitis vinifera in the slate soil around Lake Keuka and he opened a winery, Vinifera Wine Cellars, in 1962. Despite his success, other winemakers still doubted him for many years and he had trouble getting New York distributors to handle his wine.

Today, Dr. Frank is recognized as having led the revolution in wine quality in New York State and the East Coast. With the help of his cousin Eric Volz as vineyard manager, Fred Frank, Konstantin's grandson took over the winery in 1993. Fred’s business degree from Cornell University and his study of viticulture and enology in Germany helped prepare him to take over the family business.

Dr. Frank Wines featured recently at State Luncheon for Chancellor Merkel in Washington, D.C., USA. I have written about the life of Konstantin Frank: German Wine Makers in the World: Dr. Konstantin Frank (USA)

Weingut Kruger Rumpf in the Nahe Region, Germany

“In our family, viniculture has been tradition since 1708 - a tradition that we have been cultivating in our vineyards as well as in our manor house which was built back in 1830” said Georg Rumpf, when I visited Weingut Kruger Rumpf earlier this year and George showed me around. Visiting Georg Rumpf and his VDP Weingut Kruger-Rumpf in the Nahe Region, Germany The estate is located in Münster-Sarmsheim in the Nahe region in Germany.

Stefan Rumpf, Georg’s father, brought Weingut Kruger-Rumpf up to where it is today: After completing his studies in agricultural sciences, including stints in Californian wineries, and conducting research at the Geisenheim research institute, Stefan Rumpf took over the estate from his parents in 1984. Up until then, the wines were sold almost entirely in bulk. Stefan Rumpf changed this and started to bottle his wines and to market the bottles himself. Less than 10 years later, in 1992, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf was invited to join the VDP, the about 200 German elite winemakers, a clear sign of what Stefan Rumpf had achieved over the course of just 8 years.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Georg Rumpf at Weingut Kruger Rumpf

Today, the vineyard area totals 22 hectares and the annual production is 14.000 cases. Georg Rumpf has taken over the winemaking aspect of Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, while his father is now more focusing on sales and general management.

The top sites are: Münsterer Dautenpflänzer (slate with sandy loam); Münsterer Pittersberg (slate); Münsterer Rheinberg (weathered quartzite and sandy loam); Binger Scharlachberg Rheinhessen (Rotliegend and porphyry).

Grape varieties: 65% Riesling, 10% each of Silvaner and Weissburgunder, 5% each of Chardonnay, Grauburgunder and Spätburgunder. In fact, Kruger-Rumpf was the first estate in the Nahe region to plant Chardonnay.

Weingut Kruger-Rumpf has 3 (of) 5 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland. It took 1st place in the DER FEINSCHMECKER Deutscher Riesling Cup 2008.

In the US, Weingut Kruger-Rumpf is imported by Terry Theise.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Italy's Top Wines - Gambero Rosso's Vini d'Italia 2010

The Wines of the 2010 Giro d'Italia

The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna

Blogging, Wining and Dining at the European Wine Bloggers Conference (#EWBC) October 2011 in Brescia, Italy – A Tour D’ Horizont

1st International Riesling Symposium, Rheingau, Germany

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

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

German Winemakers in the World: Hermann J. Wiemer

German Wine Makers in the World: Dr. Konstantin Frank (USA)

Celebrating the Rieslings of the Finger Lakes Region, New York State, US East Coast

Dr. Frank Wines from Finger Lakes Featured at State Luncheon for Chancellor Merkel in Washington, D.C., USA

Aging Potential of Riesling – A Wine Tasting at the 1st International Riesling Symposium in Germany Led by Jancis Robinson

Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany

Wrap-Up: 4 Extraordinary Riesling Tastings at the 1. International Riesling Symposium at Schloss Rheinhartshausen in the Rheingau in Germany

Tasting with Wilhelm Weil the 2010 Weingut Weil Wines in Kiedrich, Germany

Visiting Armin and Caroline Diel and their Schlossgut Diel in Burg Layen in Germany

Annual White Wine Presentation of the VDP Wine Makers from the Nahe, Ahr and Rheinhessen Regions in Mainz, Germany

Phil Bernstein’s Third Annual German Riesling Tasting with the German Wine Society, Washington DC Chapter - Rieslings With a Touch of Sweetness

2011: Terry Theise’s Top German Wines of the 2010 Vintage

Visiting Georg Rumpf and his VDP Weingut Kruger-Rumpf in the Nahe Region, Germany

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