Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Organic Wine Journal: “Schiller Wine Visits Château Beauséjour”

Picture: Organic Wine Journal

Under the title “Schiller Wine Visits Château Beauséjour”, the Organic Wine Journal published on July 19, 1012 an excerpt of an article (with a link to the full article) that had initially been  published on schiller-wine under the title: “Vin Bio de Bordeaux - At Château Beauséjour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France”.

The Organic Wine Journal is an online guide to Organic, Biodynamic and Natural Wine. It was was founded in 2006 by Jonathan Russo and Adam Morganstern. The Organice Wine Journal advertises itself as the “The world's leading online resource for organic, natural and biodynamic wines".

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Gerard Dupuy and his Partner at Chateau Beausejour in Puisseguin

Gerard Dupuy is not one of the 150 or so winemakers in Bordeaux, who produce a premium  Bordeaux that sells en primeur for several hundreds or even thousands of Euros per bottle. No, Gerard is one of the other 18.000 winemakers that are not in the limelight and who have to struggle against the competition of wines from all over the world, including the New World. But Gerard’s wines are interesting and special for at least 2 reasons. He produces – like so many others – good value Petite Bordeaux wines and he makes them organically.

All grapes are organically grown, certified by Ecocert. Gerard Dupuy: “The refusal of chemical treatments at our wineries dates back to their appearance on the market after 1945. We practice the total grass cover. This method allows regulating the ecosystem in a monoculture, while limiting soil erosion. In our vineyards, wild tulips thrive in the vineyard rows in the spring.” The combined vineyard area of Château Beauséjour and Château Langlais is 25 hectares. The average age of the vines is 40 years.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

A Glass of Bordeaux – What Else? – With Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos

Meeting Virginia and Bordeaux Wine Expert and Wine Blogger Allan Liska, USA

The Wines from Entre Deux Mers Winemaker Joel Duffau

In the Glass: 1970 Chateau de La Riviere, Fronsac, France

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Trends in the global wine market: old world, new world, emerging wine countries

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Emerging Wine Country: China's Wine Boom Since 2000

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

In the Wine Capital of the World: the City of Bordeaux, France

Organic, Sustainable, Biodynamic, Natural Wines … A Primer for “Green” Wines

Visiting Jared Brandt and his Donkey & Goat Winery – Natural Wines Made in Berkeley, California

Excellency and Ecology: The Wines of Gebrueder Dr. Becker in Rheinhessen, Germany

The Millesime Bio 2010 in Montpellier, France: A Discovery of Organic and Biodynamic Wines at the one of a Kind Wine Trade Show

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At the Forefront of Biodynamic Winemaking: Visiting Werner and Angela Michlits and their Weingut Meinklang in Austria

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Tasting the “German” Otium Wines with Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at Otium Cellars, Virginia, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Gerhard Bauer at Otium Cellars

After spending about an hour with vine grower and wine maker Ben Renshaw in Virginia’s Tranquility Vineyard, he took us over to Otium Cellars, owned by my compatriots Gerhard and Max Bauer, where he introduced us in the tasting to the Otium Cellars wines as well as to the wines of 8 Chains North Winery. The Otium Cellars wines were also crafted by Ben Renshaw. This was part of TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia.

TasteCamp 2012 brought some 40 bloggers and writers - including me - from all over the United States and Canada to Northern Virginia on May 4-6, 2012. The concept for TasteCamp, created in 2009 by Lenn Thompson, executive editor of the New York Cork Report, is a simple one: getting enthusiastic journalists and bloggers together in a region that is new to them, to taste as much wine as possible and speak to as many winemakers as possible over the course of a weekend.

This posting is part of a series of postings on TasteCamp 2012. I have already issued the following

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont  

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

Walking Tranquility Vineyard and Tasting 8 Chains North Wines with Ben Renshaw, Virginia, USA

More postings will follow over the next couple of months on schiller-wine.

Otium Cellars

Otium Cellars is located on Goose Creek Farms and Winery near Purcellville and Round Hill a little ways off Rt. 7 in Loudoun County, Virginia on Tranquility Road.  The Bauer family named their label after the road they are located on. The word Otium is Latin and means tranquility. 

The tasting room sits atop a hill overlooking the farm which is also home to a private equestrian facility raising world class Hanoverians. “We are a private equestrian facility dedicated to raising World Class Hanoverians. We offer breeding, raising, training, sales and premier boarding at our stables” explained Gerhard Bauer.

Pictures: Otium Cellars

The tasting room is very nice. The entire structure is all wood, from the outside to the inside, to the bar, to every element of this structure. There are 5-6 tables along the left hand wall, which consists of doors that open up to give that outdoor appeal to the tasting room. A fireplace is centered in the middle of the tasting room, lined with seating allowing you to cozy up to its warmth in the cooler months.

In terms of wine he went on: “Rooted in old Franconian tradition, our boutique winery is taking wines in Northern Virginia to new heights. Our quest is focused on making high-quality wines.”

Planted in 2007, the vineyard is home to several German varietals: Lemberger, Dornfelder and Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris).  “We believe wine is not only made in the cellar but is a philosophy and year-round effort in the vineyard. The vines are constantly being attended to during all four seasons. Each wine demonstrates the best aroma, character, and flavor you can achieve with the different grape varietals we cultivate . . . Each of our wines receive a specific treatment, and we call this Otium Terroir Management . . . Perfecting the ideal ripeness according to the year.”

Ben Renshaw has been working with Gerhard Bauer to produce and sell the wines of Otium Cellars while Gerhard Bauer’s winery was being built. Gerhard Bauer did his first planting on six and a half acres at Goose Creek Farms in 2007.

The Otium Cellars Wine Portfolio

Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw went through the different varietals of Otium Cellars: “Chardonnay is America's most popular grape. Our buttery style is rich and laden with tropical fruits like mango and pineapple. You will also find some flavors of caramel and vanilla.

Grauburgunder is the German name for Pinot Griggio and Pinot Gris. The Grauburgunder has a grayish-blue fruit.

Blaufränkisch is a dark-skinned grape, rich in tannin with a spicy character. The wines have aromas of dark ripe cherries and dark berries, are spicy and have medium tannin with very good acidity. Young wines are deeply fruity and become more velvety, supple and complex with age.

Dornfelder is a dark skinned grape with deep color and powerful flavor. The wines have a depth of color, good acidity and the ability to benefit from barrique aging and the associated oak flavors. Our Dornfelder wines are velvety textured, slightly floral, show some flavors of plums, blackberries and cherries.

Pictures: Gerhard Bauer and Ben Renshaw at the Tasting

The elegant finish of this wine with its berry flavors and dense, ripe fruit aromas gives the palate a structured and silky core of vivid fruit. Aged in small oak barrels, this Cabernet Sauvignon imparts a subtle mocha.

The result of our way to grow wine and handle grapes is an elegant wine with strong black cherry flavors and an unexpected hint of violet and spice that we believe conveys the essence of a Virginia Pinot Noir.

Our finest Malbec grapes are hand selected and aged in oak barrels. This full-bodied, intensely flavorful wine has soft, round tannins with layers of ripe plum, blackberry and dark cherry accented by hints of brown spice and chocolate.”

The Tasting

Here is what we tasted.

2010 Pinot Gris – a medium bodied wine with aromas of pear, apple and melon. $18

2010 Pinot Noir - black cherry flavors with a hint of spice, good body, and great finish. $20

2010 Blaufraenkisch - still a little young, but already showing great fruit flavors with spice thrown in, the wine is rich in tannin and will certainly become more velvety and supple with age. $28

2009 Dornfelder -  a dark red full-bodied wine, with plum and blackberry flavors, great, toasty finish.

2010 Malbec - with plum, cherry, and berry flavors enhanced with a subtle spiciness and a great finish.  The Malbec grapes are the only grapes in the line up that are not estate grown - they come from Furnace Mountain vineyard.

schiller-wine: Related Posting

North Gate Vineyard in Virginia, USA – A Profile

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

The Wines of Veramar, Virginia, US

The 2010 DrinkLocalWine Conference in Virginia, US

Thomas Jefferson, 3. President of the United States, Visited Hochheim, Germany on April 10,1978

Top Virginia Red Wines - Governors Cup 2010

Norton and Other Wines of Chrysalis Vineyards in Virginia

Fine Virginia Wines from Corcoran Vineyards

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Virginia Wine and Lots of Fun: The 30th Annual Vintage Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville

Wining, Dining and Grovin' at the 36th Annual Virginia Wine Festival in Centreville, USA

Touring Virginia Wineries - Fabbioli Cellars, 8 Chains North and Breaux Vineyards - with Virginia Wine Expert Allan Liska

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Visiting Wine Maker Doug Fabbioli and his Fabbioli Cellars in Virginia, USA

Meeting Virginia and Bordeaux Wine Expert and Wine Blogger Allan Liska, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

Walking Tranquility Vineyard and Tasting 8 Chains North Wines with Ben Renshaw, Virginia, USA 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"A Clockwork Orange" by Stanley Kubrik, 2009 Weisses Rauschen by "Die Toten Hosen" and the Rieslings and the Rock and Roll Music of Winemaker Martin Tesch, Germany

Pictures: A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrik, Die Toten Hosen and Martin Tesch and Christian G.E. Schiller in New York City

See: Impressions from the Riesling + Co World Tour 2010 in New York

A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 satire by Anthony Burgess, portraying a future and dystopian Western society with a culture of extreme youth rebellion and violence. A well-known adaptation of the novel is the 1971 film A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick. After Kubrick's film was released, Anthony Burgess wrote an A Clockwork Orange stage play. In 1988, a German adaptation of A Clockwork Orange featured a musical score by Germany’s leading punk rock band Die Toten Hosen. More recently, Die Toten Hosen produced wine with Martin Tesch, a German avant-garde wine maker.

The members of Die Toten Hosen are Campino (Andreas Frege), Kuddel (Andreas von Holst), Vom (Stephen 'Vom' Ritchie), Andi (Andreas Meurer) and Breiti (Michael Breitkopf). Campino the lead vocalist, also played the lead role in Wim Wenders’ movie Palermo Shooting (2008).

Vendredis du Vin

This posting is being published as part of the Vendredis du Vin, a monthly blog event in France. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in France - are all releasing postings today under the same heading. This month's Vendredi du Vin is orchestrated by Sonia Dégustation:

"Sonia Dégustation reprend, pour le mois de juillet 2012, le flambeau de la Présidence des Vendredis du Vin en nous proposant le thème : Les Vins en Série.

Voivi ce que la pétillante présidente suggère en détails au bon Peuple du Glou :

Ce n’est pas sans émotion et une légère appréhension que je prends la présidence éphémère de ces vendredis du vin du mois de juillet. Vais-je répondre aux attentes d’inspiration des vendredisiens ? La tâche n’est pas facile, beaucoup de sujets ayant déjà été traités.

Lors du dernier VdVs organisé sous la présidence de Patrick Böttcher, je me suis beaucoup amusée à faire concourir 2 chefs sur des accords vin-met. J’avais envie de poursuivre cette idée d’accord mais dans un autre domaine. Après avoir hésité (longuement) entre plusieurs possibilités, mon choix s’est porté sur la musique mais pas n’importe laquelle. Il fallait affiner ce sujet plutôt classique et qui avait déjà été traité par la jolie Eva. Et puis, rien ne vaut la contrainte pour être créatif, les amateurs d’Oulipo ne diront pas le contraire !

Ce sera donc une musique de film ou de série télévisée. Peu importe le genre ou la date de diffusion de cette musique, ce qui compte c’est l’univers qui l’entoure, l’émotion qu’elle vous procure et ce qu’elle vous donne envie de boire."

Die Toten Hosen and Weisses Rauschen

Die Toten Hosen (The Dead Pants, but more elliptically: Nothing Going On) teamed up with Martin Tesch recently, to produce Weisses Rauschen (White Noise). After the band's first wine Machmalriesling was quickly sold out, Die Toten Hosen and Martin Tesch agreed to produce another wine together, Weisses Rauschen. Of course, Martin is in the lead, but Martin told me that the band played an active role in the selection of wine, the name of the wine and the design of the bottle. The wine was named after a song of Die Toten Hosen from the album Zurueck zum Glueck (Back to Happiness).

Picture: Weisses Rauschen

The wine is a typical Tesch Riesling: No frills, crisp with fine grape flavor reminiscent of apple and apricot. It was environmentally-friendly grown in the vineyard, and naturally fermented and aged in the cellar.

See: In the Glass: 2009 Weisses Rauschen – A Joint Venture of Winemaker Martin Tesch and Punk-Rock Band Die Toten Hosen

Weingut Tesch

Martin Tesch owns and runs Weingut Tesch in the Nahe valley. The Weingut has been family-owned and run since 1723 and is a member of the prestigious VDP, the century-old association of Germany’s top winemakers.

In his mid-thirties, Dr. Martin Tesch is a Ph.D. microbiologist by training. He took over Weingut Tesch in 1996 and has presided over fundamental changes both in the vineyard and the wine cellar as well as in the marketing of the Tesch wines. Martin stopped producing sweet-style wines; all Tesch wines are now dry, except, it seems, for the occasional Eiswein when conditions allow. Further, he has moved to natural and non-interventionist winemaking and strict yield control of between 20-30 hl/ha. The harvest is manual and he picks the grapes at full ripeness, but avoids botrytis. Also, he changed and simplified the label design. There are no long words anymore on the label. Finally, Martin Tesch now generally uses the Stelvin glass closure. It is a ultra-modern and expensive technical fitting.

See: The Avantgarde Wine World of Dr. Martin Tesch

Martin Tesch’s Riesling Unplugged

Martin Tesch’s Riesling Unplugged has become an international favorite.  The wine is as natural as you can get, with tremendous value placed on environmental-friendly viticulture. The wine is untreated, meaning no must concentration or capitalization.

Picture: Riesling Unplugged 2010

Tesch's Riesling Unplugged is a bone-dry, light wine with intense minerals and concentrated fruit on the nose, and a long palate with refreshing acidity.

See: In the Glass: Unplugged - Eric Clapton and Martin Tesch

and see: Tesch Riesling Unplugged 2010 and Duo Favo FAVOriten

Unplugged in Music and Wine

Unplugged stands in the pop and rock scene for performances with small audiences without reinforcement and other technical manipulations of the music; what you get is a maximum of authenticity and individuality. Unplugged stands in the German wine scene for a Riesling made by Martin Tesch according to the same principles; again, what you get is a maximum of authenticity and individuality.

Riesling People Vol. 1

Martin Tesch has published 2 avant-garde books about his world of Riesling wine and Rock and Roll music: Riesling People Vol. 1 and Riesling People Vol. 2.

Obviously, Martin Tesch is very much into Rock and Roll. He has documented his passion for wine and Rock and Roll in a book entitled Riesling People, Vol. 1.

This is an unusual book. It explains in a straightforward way, without words, what makes Martin Tesch tick and the wines he produces so special. As a picture-book and travelogue, Riesling People Vol. 1 differs dramatically from the usual wine books. Almost without words, the book tells the story of Martin Tesch and his love for Riesling and Rock and Roll music. It is narrated by black and white photography, printed on glossy paper, and showcases the ecclectic mix of wine and music in Martin's world.

Pictures: Riesling People Vol.1 and Vol.2

The central theme of the book is the Rolling Riesling Show, which was jointly organized by Martin Tesch and the guitar manufacturer Gibson. Martin Tesch took an audience that was not necessary knowledgeable about wine through six different dry Rieslings and their soil-specific differences. In addition to the Rolling Riesling Show events, the book includes pictures from London wine bars, from Hong Kong, New York, Jancis Robinson and Stuart Pigott, proud Australian importers with the first container of Tesch wines, Martin Tesch at the concert of the Tote Hosen in Trier and backstage with the Düsseldorfer Punk Rockers at Rock am Ring.

See: The Avantgarde Wine World of Dr. Martin Tesch

Riesling People Vol. 2

With the 2010 vintage, the Riesling Unplugged celebrated its 10th anniversary. At this occasion, Martin produced the audio book Riesling People Vol. 2. It is a medley of diverse contributions of a group of friends of Martin Tesch - sommeliers, customers, journalists, writers, chefs and musicians. The sommeliers Natalie Lumpp, Jürgen Fendt, Billy Wagner and others comment on Riesling Unplugged of each of the 10 vintages; Stuart Pigott talks about hunting sharks on the Nahe river. The Die Toten Hosen contributed a song to the Riesling People Vol. 2, as did Koester + Hocker and the Group Les Sauvignons. All in all, a highly entertaining and informative audio book about Martin Tesch’s Riesling Unplugged.

See: Wine Maker Martin Tesch: Riesling People Vol. 2, Germany

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

Wine Maker Martin Tesch: Riesling People Vol. 2, Germany

In the Glass: Unplugged - Eric Clapton and Martin Tesch

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

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

In the Glass: 2009 Weisses Rauschen – A Joint Venture of Winemaker Martin Tesch and Punk-Rock Band Die Toten Hosen

The Avantgarde Wine World of Dr. Martin Tesch

Tesch Riesling Unplugged 2010 and Duo Favo FAVOriten

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Celebrating Riesling and my Birthday at Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

Pciture: Wining and Dining at Weingut Schaetzel, Nierstein, at the Occasion of Christian G.E. Schiller's 60th Birthday in June 2012

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Kai Schaetzel at Weingut Schaetzel in 2011. Fore more on Kai Schaetzel and his Wines see: A New Fixture in the Reemerging Red Slope of Nierstein - Visiting Kai Schaetzel and his Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

I turned 60 at the beginning of this year and was at the time of my birthday in Madagascar. My wife Annette organized a very nice birthday party there, with Malagasy music, Malagasy wine and food, and our Malagasy friends at the home daughter and son-in-law Cornelia and Chris.

Picture: At the Sekt Reception in the Roter Hang with a Guest from Madagascar, former Prime Minister Tantely Andrianarivo. Although not well known outside of Madagascar, the red island produces decent wine, overwhelmingly at the table wine level with French-American hybrid grapes, but has recently started to make premium wines with vitis vinifera grapes. For more see: The Wines of Madagascar

In June of this year, she organized a second birthday party for me at our home in Frankfurt, Germany, for my German friends and family. She invited family and friends from all phases of my life, starting from school and ending with wine blogging.

The birthday party took place at our home in Frankfurt am Main, but included a side trip by bus to Nierstein, where we were received by Kai Schaetzel, the up and coming charismatic winemaker from Weingut Schaetzel.

Kai took us to the Roter Hang vineyard (red slope), where we were treated to a reception with Raumland Sekt and a gorgeous view of the Rhein valley with Frankfurt am Main on the horizon. We then moved to the Schaetzel Estate were we had dinner in the lovely garden of the Weingut Schaetzel, went through Kai Schaetzel’s current wine portfolio und finished with a short cellar tour.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Dagmar Ehrlich at the 60th Birtday Party and earlier in the year in Hamburg. See more: A New, Very Useful Wine Book: Dagmar Ehrlich’s “Rebsorten ABC”

The bus took us then home to Frankfurt, were the party continued with more wine and cheese, dessert and music. I retired at 3:00 am but some held out until 6:00 am.

One of my guests was the international wine journalist Panos Kakaviatos, who has written a lovely account of the visit at Weingut Schaetzel: “Schätzel in Nierstein, thanks to Christian Schiller’s birthday celebration!” on his Wine Blog "Connections to Wine"

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Panos Kakaviatos at the 6oth Birthday Party

Born, raised and educated in Washington D.C. to Greek parents, Panos speaks English, but he is also fluent in German and French. Panos has become a respected wine journalist – admittedly better known in Europe than in the US – writing occasionally for, inter alia, such respected magazines as Decanter. For more on Panos Kakaviatos see: A Glass of Bordeaux – What Else? – With Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos

Kai Schaetzel and Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein

I did not know where we were going until I saw Kai Schaetzel in a car in front us, leading the way up to the Red Slope.

Weingut Schaetzel is located in Nierstein in Rheinhessen. The winery was established in 1850 by Jakob Schlamp. Today, the winery is owned and managed by Kai Schaetzel. The Schaetzel family has been making wine for 650 years, for 5 generations at the General von Zastrow Estate.

Kai Schaetzel: A New Beginning

Kai started to work early at the winery – in 1996, even before he got his “Abitur” (highschool degree) in 1998. He fully took over Weingut Schaetzel from his parents in 2007. In the meantime, he studied business economics in Hamburg graduating with the Diplom Kaufmann degree, served in the army, and interned at wineries, including in the US.

When he became fully responsible, he decided to change course at Weingut Schaetzel and to aim at becoming a nationally and internationally recognized premium wine producer. Of course, with his business degree, he had many other options. But he went for the wine option – making premium wines at a small boutique winery, suggesting, as Kai explained to me, that his decision was driven by a lot of passion for making good wine.

And he has succeeded. In the prestigious Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2011, Weingut Schaetzel moved from 1 to 2 grapes (with 5 grapes being the maximum). “A new fixture in the reemerging Red Slope of Nierstein”, noted the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland.

In the Roter Hang with Kai Schaetzel

We started with a Champagne Reception in the Roter Hang. This steep slope extends for some five kilometers (three miles) with a total of 180 ha (445 acres) around Nierstein on the left bank of the Rhine.

Pictures: In the Roter Hang with Kai Schaetzel at the 6oth Birthday Party

The Roter Hang has a very special terroir, resulting from the drop of the Rheinhessen plateau before human life started. As a consequence of these movements the Roter Hang has a mineral-rich soil, a mixture of iron and clayish slate, which is at least 250 million years old (Permian Period). Further, the slope faces south to southeast, which helps in terms of the solar radiation. The red slate retains warmth, and additional warmth comes from the sunlight reflected from the surface of the Rhine.

Pictures: Images of the Roter Hang in 2011

The Vineyards

Weingut Schatzel’s vineyard area is small, just 5 hectares, with the single vineyards Heiligenbaum, Hipping, Ölberg and Pettenthal in the Red Slope. Riesling accounts for 70%, with the remainder made up by Silvaner and Spätburgunder. In the vineyard, Kai follows ecological principles.

Dinner and Wine Tasting at Weingut Schaetzel

We then moved to the Schaetzel Estate were we had dinner in the lovely garden of the Weingut Schaetzel and went through Kai Schaetzel’s current wine portfolio.

Pictures: At the 60th Birthday Party

Tasting Notes of Panos Kakaviatos

Here are Panos’ tasting notes.

“ReinWeiss 2011. Has a sweet mineral aroma. The palate is tasty, I noted just a slight bit of residual sugar (5.5 grams) but there is good salinity to match. Nothing profound, but for €5.80, a fine bottle of wine.

KabiNett Riesling 2011. I like the nose more here, has more mineral character, albeit with a touch of wet sock. There is a bit of carbon like spritz, oh so light. I was surprised to see the 10.5% alcohol on the back label, as the wine did not seem to be too sweet at all. Nice balance.

Pictures: My Granddaughter Lorelei Schiller in the Backyard. See for Loreley Wines from the Mittelrhein Area: The Wines of Loreley, Germany and here

Reinlös Riesling 2010. The best nose so far, more precise, and a tasty palate that exudes an herbal freshness that is very appealing. A lovely wine, and well worth the price of admission.

ReinSchiefer Riesling 2010. Simply meaning Red Slate Riesling. Here is perhaps the best overall wine tasted today – when price is taken into account. For less than €10 per bottle, you get a tobacco mineral like nose, fine intensity, a lingering finish and excellent backbone coming from quite elevated acidity that is nevertheless unaggressive. I bought three bottles without much thought. The grapes come from various parts of his vineyard, including the red slope “and represents the medium range,” Kai explained.

Pictures: At the Tasting Bar with Kai Schaetzel

Heiligenbaum Riesling 2010. This one costs €15 per bottle and comes from a south-facing vineyard but where there is an ample draft of wind, so it is actually a cooler vineyard. The result is a subtle wine on the nose – not as expressive as the above – with good sap on the palate. The overall balance seems just a touch disjointed, with sweetness and acidity battling it out, if just to a certain extent.

Pettenthal Riesling 2010. A magnificent wine, the best of all, exuding floral aromas, quite delicate on the nose. The palate is powerful in that it has very high acidity – 8.5 grams – but that is well integrated overall. Certainly a wine that will be better in a few years, but even now, it seems to approach an artistic expression. I can understand why the wine is already sold in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Just €20 per bottle – if you can find it.”

In the Vaulted Underground Wine Cellar with Kai Schaetzel

Pictures: In the Old Vaulted Underground Cellar with Kai Schaetzel in 2011

We finished off at Weingut Schaetzel with a visit of the impressive, very old vaulted underground wine cellar.

“The fermentation takes place in this 800 years old cellar” explained Kai. “For the fermentation, each wine gets its own oak barrel. Most of the barrels are 600 or 1,200 liters in size and up to 50 years old.” There are about 50 oak barrels in Schaetzel’s vaulted underground cellar.

Pictures: In the Wine Cellar: Matthias Ehrlich, Ex-Prime Minister Tantely Andrianarivo and Panos Kakaviatos. See more on Matthias Ehrlich: In the Glass: The Wines of the Industry Giant “United Internet Media AG” Board Member Matthias Ehrlich

Kai concluded by saying: “In a way, we are quite old-fashioned. We use the old methods of our grandfathers. The continuous monitoring and adaptation of the strategy, if necessary, is very time consuming and complex. Overall, each individual wine is the sum of a lot of what Mother Nature did and many small human decisions. Sometimes the progress is in looking back. A prudent combination of old methods with modern processes guide our way of making our wines.”

schiller-wine - Related Postings

1.International Riesling Symposium

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

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

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

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

A Pinot Noir Star: Visiting August Kesseler and his Weingut August Kesseler in Assmannshausen, Germany

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

Visiting Agnes and Fritz Hasselbach at their Weingut Gunderloch in Nackenheim, Rheinhessen, Germany

The Wines of the Roter Hang (Red Slope) in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

An Evening with Lindsay Morriss: The Wines of Weingut Georg Albrecht Schneider and her Ideas on How to Raise the Profile of German Wines in the USA 

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

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

A New Fixture in the Reemerging Red Slope of Nierstein - Visiting Kai Schaetzel and his Weingut Schaetzel in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, Germany

The Wines of Madagascar

A New, Very Useful Wine Book: Dagmar Ehrlich’s “Rebsorten ABC”

A Glass of Bordeaux – What Else? – With Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos

The Wines of the Industry Giant “United Internet Media AG” Board Member Matthias Ehrlich

The Wines of Loreley, Germany

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Finalists in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Wine Makers Marie Nomena and Jean Allimant, Clos Nomena, in Madagascar

The finalists in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards were announced. The final winner will be determined via a 50/50 weighting of the public vote and that of the judges. Winners will be announced at this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Portland.

schiller-wine had been nominated in the Best Overall Wine Blog and in the Best Blog Post of the Year categories (The Wines of Madagascar), but did not make it to the finals. Here are the finalists in the various categories.

Best Overall Wine Blog

Jamie Goode’s Wine Blog
1 Wine Dude
A Ridge Blog
Jameson Fink

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at a recent #Winechat at Capital Grille in Washington DC with Fellow Bloggers and Virginia Wine Producers, including Finalist David White @TerroiristBlog (second from the right)

Best Blog Post of the Year

Evan Dawson’s “Why do I write about wine?
Alder Yarrow’s “2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
Jim Bud’s “Pancho Campo resigns his MW
Lily-Elaine Hawk’s “Thinking Frank Cornelissen”
Meg Houston Maker’s “You Just Opened a What? Cooking Tips to Make Food More Wine-Friendly

Best Original Photography or Video on a Wine Blog

Brunellos Have More Fun
A Long Pour
Visiting Freixenet

Best Industry/Business Wine Blog

RJ on Wine
Vintank Blog
The Gray Report
Wilma’s Wine World
ShipCompliant Blog

Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog

Benito’s Wine Blog
Ken’s Wine Guide
1 Wine Dude

Best Single Subject Wine Blog

Washington Wine Report
On the Wine Trail in Italy
Libation Law Blog
Paul Gregutt Unfined and Unfiltered

Best Winery Blog

A Ridge Blog
The Journey of Jordan
The Kendall-Jackson Blog
Wolf Blass Wines – Our Winemakers Blog
Blog Tablas Creek
King Estate Winery

Best Writing On a Wine Blog

Hosemaster of Wine
Intoxicology Report
Wild Walla Walla Wine Woman
Been Doon So Long
Bigger Than Your Head

Best New Wine Blog

Intoxicology Report
Wine Julia
Hawk Wakawaka Wine Reviews
I Love Riesling
The Frugal Wine Snob

schiller-wine: Related Postings

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

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

The Wines of Madagascar

#Winechat at Capital Grille in Washington DC with Fellow Wine Bloggers and Virginia Wine Producers, USA

Germany's Wine Makers and twitter

Wine and Web 2.0 in Germany 

Wine Tasting: Twitter Wine Tasting

Monday, July 23, 2012

Normally, Wine is Dry. But there are Many Sweet Wines in the World. How is Sweet Wine Made?

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Ernst Loosen, World-renowned Producer of Low Alcohol Fruity-sweet Mosel Rieslings

See more on Ernst Loosen: The Doctor Made a House Call - A Tasting with Ernst Loosen, Weingut Dr. Loosen, at MacArthur Beverages in Washington DC, USA

On my trip last year to the Soave region in Italy, I was introduced to Reciotto di Soave. This is a sweet wine. It triggered in me the desire to do a bit of research with a view of finding out how the sugar gets into sweet wines.

Normally, Wine is Dry

Normally, wine is dry: the sugar, naturally present in grape juice, is transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the action of yeasts during fermentation - the sugar content of the must declines and eventually disappears, while the alcohol content builds up. Fermentation, however, stops naturally, when the alcohol has reached a certain level – around 15%. Thus, any sugar that is still in the must at that point of fermentation remains in the finished wine and makes the wine sweet. But this happens only under very special circumstances. Even in hot climate countries, the sugar that is in the grapes at harvest disappears completely as a result of fermentation. Thus, normally, wine is dry. But …. there are many wines that are not dry. How do wine producers do this?

For more, see:  German Wine Basics: Sugar in the Grape - Alcohol and Sweetness in the Wine

Making Wine Sweet

There are a number of different approaches:

Grow grapes so sweet that they naturally have sugar to spare for both sweetness and alcohol?

This is an approach that exists as far as I know only in theory. I am not aware of any such wine. Often, the German Spaetlese and Auslese wines are mentioned in this category. But this is wrong. Germany is a cool climate country and German wine makers have always been struggling to get fully ripe grapes, although less so in recent years as a result of climate change. Of course, there are these world renowned fruity-sweet German Spaetlese and Auslese wines. But they are sweet, because of either arresting the fermentation or adding sweet reserve (see below). If you just leave it to Mother nature in the wine cellar, these wines would become bone-dry. 

Add sugar before fermentation (Chaptalization)?

Chaptalization – adding sugar to the grape juice before fermentation - is a common practice in many countries, invented in France. However, sugar is regularly added to boost the alcohol levels of flabby, unripe wines rather than for sweetness.

The EU wine law limits the amount of additional alcohol that can be achieved through this cellar technique to 3.5% by volume and 2.5% by volume, depending on the wine region.

Forced interuption of the fermentation with temperature control or similar methods

This is a very popular technique in Germany, done through a skillful manipulation of the fermentation process, such as dropping the temperature during fermentation and/or filtering out the sugar-consuming yeast. The winemaker needs to follow closely the fermentation process and must make sure that it comes to a stop at the desired level of sweetness.This is the way, the delicious low alcohol, fruity-sweet German Spaetlese and Auslese wines are produced.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Manfred Pruem, Weingut JJ Pruem - #29 on the Falstaff Top 100 Wines of the World 2012 list. I met Manfred's daughter Katharina Pruem in Washington DC recently and wrote about Weingut JJ Pruem: JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

Add sweet reserve (sterilized juice) after fermentation

This is a German technique in which sterilized grape juice is added to the wine after fermentation. In Germany, the final wine can contain no more than 15% sterilized juice by volume. This approach is less popular today than it was years ago; most German fruity-sweet wines are made by stopping the fermentation.

Often, the two approaches - arresting the fermentation and adding sweet reserve - are used in combination: You stop the fermentation at about the desired level of sweetness and then you fine-tune the level of sweetness by adding sweet reserve.

Sweet Sherry is also made by adding sweet reserve (see below).

Add alcohol before or during fermentation (fortification)

By adding alcohol, you drive up the alcohol level in the must so that the fermentation stops naturally, while not all sugar that was in the grapes is converted into alcohol. The main fortified wines are Port, Sherry, Madeira and vins doux naturels.

While Port wine is made sweet by adding alcohol to the fermenting must so the fermentation stops and the sugar of the grapes remains in the wine, Sherry, on the other hand, is made by letting the fermentation go its full way so that a dry wine emerges. Then, alcohol is added to boost the alcohol level. If the winemaker stops there, you get a dry Sherry. If he also adds sterilized juice, you get a sweet Sherry. Thus, Sherry can be sweet or dry, while Port is always sweet.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers

See: Meeting Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers

Madeira is a fortified Portuguese wine made in the Madeira Islands. Madeira is noted for its unique winemaking process which involves heating the wine up to temperatures as high as 60 °C (140 °F) for an extended period of time. Furthermore, Madeira is deliberately exposed to air, causing it to oxidize. By contrast, sweet Sherry is not fortified.

The production of vins doux naturels was perfected by Arnaud de Villeneuve at the University of Montpellier in the 13th century and they are now quite common in the Languedoc-Roussillon of southwest France (Muscat de Rivesaltes, Muscat de Frontignan, Banyuls, etc.)

Remove water - in frosty climates - by freezing out some of the water to make ice wine

Most wine laws require temperatures below at most −7 °C (19 °F) before the grapes for ice wine can be picked. At such temperatures, some of the water in the grapes freezes out, but the sugars and other solids remain dissolved in the remaining juice. If the grapes are pressed whilst frozen, a very concentrated must can result, which needs special yeast and a long time to ferment. The most famous ice wines are German Eiswein and Canadian ice wine.

Alternatively, the freezing can take place in the wine cellar (cryoextraction). This is an approach, which kind of simulates the frost in the vineyard in the wine cellar. It was developed by the French. Instead of waiting for Mother Nature to produce frosty temperatures in the vineyard, the winemaker subjects the grapes to frosty temperatures in the cellar and presses them while frozen.

For more, see: Eiswein in Germany and Ice Wine in Canada 

Remove water - in damp temperate climates - by using a fungal infection (Botrytis cinerea, noble rot)

Botrytis cinerea is the key to the success of many of the world’s most famous noble sweet wines. Also known as noble rot, Botrytis cinerea is a fungus that under the right conditions attacks already-ripe grapes, shriveling them, concentrating the sweetness and acidity. The grapes end up looking disgusting but they make profound sweet white wines.

The sugar content of the grape is exceptionally high at the time of the harvest and Mother Nature is unable to ferment all the sugar. Thus, natural sugar remains in the wine and makes the wine sweet.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Robert Weil, Weingut Wilhelm Weil, one of the World's top Producers of Noble-sweet Riesling. I visited Weingut Wilhelm Weil last year and posted about my visit: Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany and Tasting with Wilhelm Weil the 2010 Weingut Weil Wines in Kiedrich, Germany

Noble sweet wines made on the basis of noble rot are produced in a number of countries. The most famous ones are the Sauternes in France, the Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese in Germany and in Austria, the Austria Ausbruch and the Tokaji from Hungary. No doubt, the first noble rot wines were created by accident - both the Hungarians and the Germans have similar stories of how the harvest was delayed for some reason, but the over-ripe grapes were vinified anyway and then the resulting wine found to be delicious.

For more on Hungarian noble-sweet wines, see:  Tokaji: Depressing and Encouraging News from Hungary

Remove water by air drying (in hotter climates) the grapes (raisin wine)

Northern Italy is home to a number of raisin wines, where the grapes are dried on straw, on racks, or hung from the rafters. Across the Alps, the French make straw wine (vin de paille). The Austrians also make straw wine while it is illegal in Germany.

Pictures: In the “Le Sponde” room of the Coffele Winery in Soave, where Recioto di Soave is made

For more, see: Wining and Blogging in the Soave Region, Italy

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Wining and Blogging in the Soave Region, Italy

Eiswein in Germany and Ice Wine in Canada

Tokaji: Depressing and Encouraging News from Hungary

Meeting Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

1.International Riesling Symposium

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

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

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

JJ Pruem Goes Supermarket: Meeting Katharina Pruem and Tasting the Incredible JJ Pruem Wines at Wegmans

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

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