Friday, April 3, 2015

Wine Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz

The first day of the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014) in the Pfalz ended with a tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, before heading to Deidesheim for dinner. The tour participants rated the Rebholz tasting as one of the top 3 tastings of the whole tour. The selection of wines poured was indeed outstanding. The tasting took place in the modern tasting room of the winery and was conducted by Janina Wilsch, who studied International Wine Business in Geisenheim and Gießen.

Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz

Hansjörg and Birgit Rebholz, the third generation of the Rebholz family, continue what the founder, the Ökonomierat Eduard Rebholz began: producing highly individualistic wines by working as close as possible with nature.

Hansjörg Rebholz was Winemaker of the Year 2013 (Falstaff) and Winemaker of the Year 2002 (Gault Millau). Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz has the top 5 out of 5 grapes rating in the Gault Millau (with 10 other winemakers). Also, Hansjörg Rebholz is one of the movers and shakers in the Grosses Gewächs movement in Germany.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz

Ökonomierat Eduard Rebholz

Eduard Rebholz (1889 – 1966), an Oekonomierat (Economic Counsellor), became well-known as an advocate of the natural wine school of thought. Eduard took great exception to the then contemporary taste in wine and countered the unnatural, artificially sweetened blends with his idea of natural wine. His doctrine that good vinification could do without chaptalization, without “Süßreserve” (the adding of sweet/unfermented grape juice), or structural changes to the wine due to cellar techniques, influenced the work of the succeeding generations.

A trained scientist he researched climate, soils in the vineyards and the appropriate varietals, harvesting periods redefined, methods of vinification replaced by its own strict rules. He even included in his research practical experience of winegrowers in other regions. All of this forms the foundation of the Rebholz style.


There are three distinct terroirs in the estate’s vineyards. In the Süd-Pfalz, where the estate is located, limestone terroir rules and it is ubiquitously present in one part of the Im Sonnenschein (or in the sunshine) vineyard where Riesling, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and to lesser amounts Pinot Gris and estate specialties Gewürztraminer and Muskateller are planted.

In the Ganzhorn, a small parcel of the same site the estates Riesling excels. It performs the minor miracle of exquisite peach, apple and apricot aromas sourced from the deluvial shingle of the Queich Brook.

Rebholz’ oldest vineyard, the Albertsweiler Latt, in Albersweil was planted to Gewurztraminer in 1947. The vines are trellised on pergolas because at the time, Hansjorg’s grandfather believed the region had a similar climate to Tuscany.

Last but not least there is the Kastanienbusch (or chestnut bush), one of the steepest and highest slopes in the Pfalz at 300 meters, on red slate soil that is unusual in the region. This iron-rich, well-draining soil produce wines of great concentration. It simply produces some of the greatest dry Rieslings not only in Germany – but anywhere.

The estate’s 22 ha are farmed bio-dynamically with a production of about 10,000 cases.

Picture: Annette and Christian Schiller with Hansjörg and Birgit Rebholz at Prowein 2015 in Düsseldorf

Natural Wine

Hansjörg Rebholz: For more than 50 years, we've been making wines containing only what nature intended for them. We do not chaptalize our wines (the addition of sugar prior to fermentation in order to increase the alcohol content), nor do we use a 'Süßreserve' (unfermented grape must added to the finished wine prior to bottling).

We are proud that despite these strict and self-imposed restrictions, our name has regularly come out on top of numerous and international tastings and competitions. This continued success serves as a constant reminder for us that while we may not have chosen the easy path, for us it is indeed the right one.

Working as close to nature as possible — nothing more, nothing less. This is what we believe makes a natural wine. It is our mantra, our philosophy and our goal in the vineyard. In practice, our long established principles and methods align closely with sustainable winegrowing.

For starters, we've been following organic guidelines in our vineyards since 2005. In an effort to promote a healthy ecosystem and to protect the environment, we also forgo the use of herbicides, synthetic fungicides and mineral fertilizers. We use only organic techniques and materials that promote healthy plants, helping the vines grow strong and prosper naturally. While these methods involve more time and effort, it is a price we willingly accept in order to best protect and preserve the biodiversity within our vineyard.

We believe that this work directly impacts the quality of our wines. Each terroir is defined by its own distinct native flora and fauna, the living organisms in the soil, the natural topsoil and a certain capacity on the part of the vines and their roots to tap into and work with these elements. By nurturing a more natural ecosystem in the soil, we help the vines better express the distinct character of their terroir in their fruit, and thus ultimately in our wines. And that's exactly what we're after.

Even so, fine wine is only one reason why we pursue sustainability. We see it as our social responsibility to preserve nature, first and foremost our vineyards but also the larger world around us. We never allow ourselves to forget that we are mere stewards for the generations to come.

Our wines conform to the published standards of the EU Eco Regulation and have earned EU organic certification. All of our wines bear the Öko-Kontroll number DE-ÖKO-003

Pictures: Tasting with Janina Wilsch

The Wines we Tasted

2011 Ökonomierat Rebholz Spätburgunder Tradition trocken
2009 Ökonomierat Rebholz Im Sonnenschein GG Spätburgunder trocken
2012 Ökonomierat Rebholz Siebeldinger Weisser Burgunder Vom Muschelkalk trocken
2013 Ökonomierat Rebholz Ganz Horn - Im Sonnenschein GG Riesling trocken
2013 Ökonomierat Rebholz Im Sonnenschein GG Riesling trocken
2013 Ökonomierat Rebholz Kastanienbusch Riesling Auslese

schiller-wine: Related Postings

4 Wine Tours by ombiasy coming up in 2015: Germany-East, Germany-South. Germany-Nord and Bordeaux

Coming-up: Wine & Art Tour to Saale-Unstrut - Saxony - Franken - Württemberg: Germany-East Tour by ombiasy WineTours (June 11 - June 20, 2015)

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

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