Friday, September 27, 2013

Winemaker Martin Tesch, Weingut Tesch in the Nahe Valley, and Rock ‘N’ Roll, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Martin Tesch in Wiesbaden, Germany

Martin Tesch is one of Germany’s leading winemakers. Wine Journalist and Riesling Guru Stuart Pigott named him Winemaker of the Year 2013. Martin has a passion for Rock ‘N’ Roll and has managed to integrate his passion into his winemaking: Martin Tesch’s signature wine is “Unplugged”; Martin Tesch has documented his passion for wine and Rock ‘N’ Roll in a book entitled Riesling People Vol. 1; Martin Tesch has made the wine “Weisses Rauschen” with the leading German Punk Group “Tote Hosen” and - to celebrate the 10th anniversary of "Unplugged" - Martin Tesch released the audio book Riesling People Vol. 2..

See also:
Martin Tesch, Weingut Tesch, Winemaker of the Year (Germany, 2012) - Stuart Pigott/FAZ

Vendredi du Vin #59: Wine and Music

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 Lolita Sene of "J'aimetonwine". The theme is “Wine and Music”.

Picture: Vendredi du Vin #59

Dr. Martin Tesch and Weingut Tesch

Martin Tesch owns and runs Weingut Tesch in the Nahe Valley. The winery 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.

When Martin Tesch stepped in, the vineyards totaled over 30 hectares and the wine portfolio was pretty mainstream, with a multitude of grape varieties, of quality levels according to the German wine law and of styles in terms of sweetness of the wine.

Picture: Martin Tesch in Mainz

Martin changed this radically.

First, he cut back on the overall output of the winery. All the north-facing vineyard slopes were abandoned as they naturally produced poorer grapes. These slopes have now reverted to nature and helped create habitat and biodiversity.

Next, he concentrated on Riesling and Pinot Noir, the king and the queen of German grape varieties. All other grapes were grubbed up. Today the vineyard area totals 20 hectares of which 17 is Riesling and the remainder Pinot Noir.

Starting in 2001, Martin stopped producing sweet-style wines. All Tesch wines are now bone-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. Each wine is color-coded and has individual artwork to distinguish it.

Finally, Martin Tesch now uses the Stelvin glass closure. It is an ultra-modern and expensive technical fitting; Martin Tesch and an increasing number of his colleagues are very upbeat about it.

Riesling Unplugged

Martin’s signature wine is “Riesling Unplugged”. "Unplugged" by Eric Clapton has always been one of my favorite albums. Clapton recorded the album for the MTV unplugged series. This was a series of CDs recorded live with as much authenticity as possible. Martin Tesch's "Riesling Unplugged" is - like Eric Clapton’s “unplugged” music and the music of the other unplugged CD series artists - a natural wine, with minimal intervention, just as Mother Nature nature intended it.

Riesling Weißes Rauschen

In a joint venture with the Die Toten Hosen, Martin Tesch produced the wine "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).

Die Toten Hosen is the leading German punk band. 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).

The band has existed for over 20 years. The debut single "Wir sind bereit" (we are ready) was released in 1982. Their 1000th concert was on 28 June 1997, in the Düsseldorfer Rheinstadium, and was attended by more than 60,000 fans.

Picture: Die Toten Hosen

Riesling People Vol. 1

Martin Tesch 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.

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.

Pictures: Riesling People Vol.1 and Vol.2

Riesling People Vol. 2

With the 2010 vintage, Martin Tesch's 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 Rock and Roll Band Die Toten Hosen – Martin Tesch produced the wine Weisses Rauschen with them (see below) – 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.

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

In the Glass: Unplugged - Eric Clapton and Martin Tesch

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

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

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

Best German Wine and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (2011)

Stuart Pigott at the Weinhalle in Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Martin Tesch, Weingut Tesch, Winemaker of the Year (Germany, 2012) - Stuart Pigott/FAZ

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