Thursday, January 19, 2012

Wine Maker Dinner with Stefan Rumpf at Weinstube Kruger-Rumpf in Muenster-Sarmsheim, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Stefan Rumpf at the Wine Maker Dinner

Weingut Kruger-Rumpf was in the press again recently, when their dry Riesling finished as second runner-up in the prestigious Feinschmecker Riesling Cup 2011. I visited Weingut Kruger-Rumpf 3 times last year, the last time for a Kruger-Rumpf wine maker dinner at Weinstube Kruger-Rumpf in Muenster-Sarmsheim.

The first time, Georg Rumpf – the young wine maker of Weingut Kruger-Rumpf - had to reschedule because of an American client. But since I had scheduled a visit of Schlossgut Diel, which is just a stone throw away from Weingut Kruger-Rumpf, for the same day, we went there anyway and had a wonderful dinner at the lovely Kruger-Rumpf country restaurant. Georg and Stefan Rumpf, Georg’s father, were sitting next to us with the American client and were so kind to share with us some of the noble-sweet wines they were tasting. The lovely Kruger-Rumpf country restaurant, which is part of the Kruger-Rumpf Estate, is run by Georg's mother Cornelia.

Picture: Stefan and Georg Rumpf with an American Wine Buyer

The second time - after a tasting with German Pinot Noir Star August Kesseler in Assmannshausen - was for our official appointment, where Georg rolled out the red carpet for me. Here is my posting Visiting Georg Rumpf and his VDP Weingut Kruger-Rumpf in the Nahe Region, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Georg Rumpf Tasting

The third time was at the end of last year, when Stefan and Cornelia Rumpf had invited for a wine maker dinner at their Weinstube. This posting is about the wine maker dinner.

Weingut Kruger-Rumpf

“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 last year and George showed me around. 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: 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.

In the Vineyard with Georg

Last year, I also had a chance to visit the Kruger-Rumpf vineyards with Georg. “Our vineyards are steep. They are located in a narrow side valley of the Nahe and in Rheinhessen, safe from wind and rain. In a small area, the steep slopes of our vineyards offer a wide range of different soil types. Deeply rooting vines get their minerals from the lower soil layers and bin them within their grapes” Georg explained in the car.

At some point of the tour, where the Nahe river flows into the Rhine river, we had an extraordinary view of the Rhine valley with the vineyards of Ruedesheim on the other side of the Rhine river (including the vineyards of J. Leitz), the vineyards of the Mittelrhein area in some distance, the Rheinhessen region beginning on the other side of the Nahe river and we in a Kurger-Rumpf vineyard in the Nahe region. It was a gorgeous day. I will never forget this magic moment with Georg Rumpf.

Pictures: In the Vineyard with Georg Rumpf

We visited all the vineyards of Kurger-Rumpf, or at least saw them from a distance, like the Binger Scharlachberg on the other side of the Nahe river:

Münsterer Pittersberg - Großes Gewächs, 5.5 ha, largest site of the winery, Soil: Devon-slate, wine: Riesling with citric like aroma and well balanced acidity.

Münsterer Dautenpflänzer - Großes Gewächs, 1.7 ha, heart of Kapellenberg, highest-class site of the winery, Soil: quartzite alteration with loess clay, Grape variety: Riesling, Scheurebe, Wine: fruity, consistent wine.

Münsterer Rheinberg - 1.9 ha, Soil: predominantly quartzite and slate, Grape variety: Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Wine: diverse wines.

Münsterer Kapellenberg - 4 ha, all around Dautenpflänzer site; most diverse site of the winery, Soil: quartzite alteration with loess clay, Grape variety: Riesling, Pinot Blanc.

Dorsheimer Burgberg - 0.8 ha, particularly good microclimate through site in form of an amphitheatre, Soil: clay soil with slate and quartzite, Grape variety: Riesling, Wine: delicately balanced Riesling wine with discreet fruit aroma.

Binger Scharlachberg (Rheinhessen) - 1 ha, only site located in Rheinhessen; the name of the site arose from a high ferrous oxide part within the stone which colors the soil red, Soil: quartzite alteration with slate, Grape variety: Riesling, Wine: fruity, very complex wine.

“White wine is our specialty as Riesling grows on 70 % of our steep slopes by the Nahe. We are especially proud of our 50 year old Riesling vines at our sites Münsterer Pittersberg and Münsterer Dautenpflänzer. Silvaner and Pinot Blanc take up 10% of our vineyards each. The different Pinot varieties (Pinot Gris, Pinot Madeleine and Pinot Noir) as well as Chardonnay, Scheurebe, and Gewürztraminer complete our assortment” said Georg.

In terms of farming, the guiding principle is sustainable vineyard practices. “You can’t improve wine in the cellar, only make it worse,” Georg’s father Stefan said later. “At least ninety percent of the quality of a wine comes from the raw material you harvest.” And “Our grapes ripen in sunny, steep hillsides safe from wind within the Nahetal and Rheinhessen region. What we care about is a strong crop reduction in the vineyard as well as a gentle treatment of the grapes. In order to guarantee best quality, we harvest our grapes by thorough hand picking. Afterwards, we grant our wine sufficient time and rest in the cellar.”

Weinstube Kruger-Rumpf

One of the (many) assets of Weingut Kruger Rumpf is the lovely country restaurant, which is part of the winery. It opened its doors in 1994. They call it a wine tavern, but for me it is a country restaurant. Whatever you call it, it is a lovely place, where you can have a great time with traditional, upscale cuisine and Kruger-Rumpf wines in the cozy atmosphere of a family-run country restaurant .

The rooms are decorated with appropriate accessories depending on the season. Painted stucco ceilings, historic tiled stoves, wooden floors, warm wall paint as well as furniture in country-house style provide for a comfortable living room atmosphere. The bright rooms are located on the ground floor of the manor house.

In addition, there is an idyllic garden. Especially during the summer, the garden restaurant of the winery provides you with the opportunity to enjoy the evening in a cozy al fresco atmosphere with a hearty meal and a good glass of wine. In fact, we did the tasting with Georg in the garden restaurant.

For special events, there also is a Gewölberaum for 90 people and a Tafelraum for 20 people. Finally, the courtyard provides space for up to 200 people.

The Kruger-Rumpf Portfolio

The Kruger-Rumpf Portfolio comprises about 40 different wines. About 20 of them are Rieslings, ranging from a simple “Literwein” to (dry) Grosses Gewaechs wines and (noble-sweet) icewines. Then, there are less than 10 other white grape varities, with the focus on Burgundy grapes. The remainder is comprised of red wines (Pinot Noir) and bubblies.

Weingut Krueger-Rumpf sells 70% of its production in Germany and exports the remaining 30%. Accordingly, “80% of the wines we produce are dry wines” said Georg “ and 20% are fruity-sweet and noble-sweet wines.”

The Portfolio of Terry Theise, the US importer of Weingut Kruger-Rumpf , comprises 9 wines. His selection reflects very well the American market: there is no red wine and only one of the 9 wines is a dry wine, all others are fruity- sweet and noble sweet.

Wining and Dining with Stefan and Cornelia Rumpf

This was a lovely and lively evening. We were about 100 wine enthusiasts. Stefan Rumpf guided us through the evening. Cornelia Rumpf was orchestrating the evening from the kitchen. Georg Rumpf was out of town, conducting another wine tasting.

Amuese Guele: Kalbsfleischtartare mit Trueffeln – Blinis mit Ziegenkaese und sautéed Rote Paprika - Lachstartare


Praline und Parfait von der Gaenseleber

2002 Pittersberg Riesling Auslese

A 10 years old wine, still very fresh, rich but not blatantly sweet; a bit salty.

2002 Scheurebe Spaetlese

A gracefully aged wine. We drank the last 24 bottles.

Steckruebensuppe mit Burgunder-Trueffeln

2008 Kapellenberg Riesling Grosses Gewaechs

A grand cru wine that has already aged a bit.

2010 Dautenpflaenzer Riesling feinherb

Very fruity, with lots of apricot notes.

Steinbutt in Safrancrepes im Bouillabaisse-Sud

2010 Weisser Burgunder, trocken

Fresh, clean and crisp, mostly fermented and aged in stainless steel.

2010 Pittersberger Riesling, trocken

With bright aromas of peach and chalk and slate minerality, quite lush on the palate, fruity.

Ruecken vom Hirsch mit Topinambur und Gorgonzola-Nocken

2010 Spaetburgunder, trocken

A lean and elegant Pinot Noir; too young.

2009 Spaetburgunder “M” trocken

Aged for 2 to 3 years in barrique, nice (others felt too much) vanilla notes.

Rohmilch Taleggio mit Walnusskrokant und schwarzen Nuessen

2010 Dautenpflaenzer Riesling Grosses Gewaechs

Crisp green apple aromas with undertones of herbs, refreshing on the palate, super.

2009 Kapellenberg Riesling Kabinett

Notes of quince, a tangy palate with a pleasing sourness. Produced mainly for Terry Theise and the American market.

Apfel-Quittensueppchen mit Maronenparfait

2001 Pittersberg Auslese Goldkapsel

Already a senior citizen, who, however is still in good health.

2006 Dautenpflaenzer Auslese

Light yellow in the glass, very fresh, lots of honey and tropical fruit aromas on the palate.

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