Thursday, April 27, 2017
Robert Weil Goes Burgundy - A New Line of Wines: Weinhaus Robert Weil Junior, Chardonnay and Pinot Unique
Founded in 1875, Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich is the #1 estate in the Rheingau and one the best in Germany. Weingut Robert Weil only makes Riesling wines, ranging from entry-level dry wines to ultra-premium Grosse Gewächs wines and world class noble-sweet Riesling wines. The grapes are grown around the historic and very impressive Robert Weil estate, in the Gräfenberg and other vineyards. Weingut Robert Weil is strong in the domestic market but also available around the world. Arguably, Weingut Robert Weil Riesling has become a flagship wine of Germany over the past decades.
Wilhelm Weil, the 53 year old Great-grandson of the founder, General Manager and Owner (jointly with the Japanese Suntory beverage group since 1988) of Weingut Robert Weil, recently embarked on a new venture. He enlarged the Weil Rheingau/ Riesling portfolio with entry-level Chardonnay and Pinot wines (Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) from Rheinhessen. These wines are sold under the Weil Junior name. The production is handled by Weinhaus Robert Weil, a newly founded, completely independent company, with an identical ownership structure as Weingut Robert Weil.
In March 2017 , the Robert Weil Junior Grauburgunder, Weissburgunder and Chardonnay wines started to become available on the shelves. In September, a Weil Junior Spätburgunder will be added. The wines are from the year 2016. The wines are exclusively sold through the EDEKA chain during the first 2 years. They are offered for Euro 7.99 per bottle and are thus about five euros under the price of the entry-level Riesling from Weingut Robert Weil. I want high quality coupled with good market presence and reasonable prices for my Robert Weil Junior wines said Wilhelm Weil.
While Weingut Robert Weil’s Riesling wines from the Rheingau can be pricey and are mainly sold to restaurants, private customers and specialized retail wine stores, never via supermarkt chains, Weinhaus Robert Weil's Burgundy wines from Rheinhessen are sold exclusively via a supermarkt chain initially. This may change over time. Eventually, Wilhelm Weil is also eyeing the internal markets with his Weil Junior wines.
Wilhelm Weil compared his enlarged portfolio with that of car producer BMW. The world class car producer's portfolio includes high-end modells (corresponding to the Weingut Robert Weil Riesling wines) but also the low-end Mini (corresponding to the Weinhaus Robert Weil Junior wines). From a different angle, Robert Weil's overall portfolio now includes not only Right Bank (Rheingau) wines but also wines from the Left Bank (Rheinhessen), as Wilhelm Weil put it.
With the establishment of a “Weinhaus” using the domestic and international reputation of the Robert Weil name, Wilhelm Weil follows into the footsteps of others who have gone this route before. The Dr. L wine of Ernst Loosen of the famous Mosel Weingut Dr. Ernst Loosen is perhaps the best example of how this concept works.
Wilhelm Weil works with around 20 contract growers in Rheinhessen, who are paid for in a quality-oriented way and who are given clear guidelines for the respective work steps in the vineyard. The total vineyard area is 40 hectares and the annual production is 8000 cases.
The grapes are processed by Adam Trautwein in Lonsheim. Trautwein produces 60 million liters of wine annually. The Weil Junior wines will be bottled by WIV Wein International in Burg Layen. The Rheinberg Kellerei in Bingen will be resoponsible for the distribution to the EDEKA stores.
The magazine "Weinwirtschaft" calls the step of Wilhelm Weil the "most exciting new project in the German wine industry of the past few years".
I guess it will take some time before we see the Weil Junior also in the US and other export markets. Loosen Bros. is currently the US importer of Weingut Robert Weil wines
Weingut Robert Weil
Founded in 1875, Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich is the Rheingau’s #1 estate and one of Germany’s best. Four generations and over a century ago Dr. Robert Weil, who was a Professor of German at the Sorbonne, was forced to leave Paris because of the Franco-Prussian War (1870/1871). He subsequently joined his brother August in Kiedrich in the Rheingau and established the Robert Weil winery.
Dr. Robert Weil purchased his first vineyards in Kiedrich and moved there in 1875, when he bought the estate manor from the heirs of Sir John Sutton, an English baronet. A man of vision, he built up the estate by purchasing 2 local wine estates and the vineyards of Count von Fürstenberg. Contacts throughout the world and the production of great wines brought rapid growth to the Weingut Robert Weil.
Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany and Tasting with Wilhelm Weil the 2010 Weingut Weil Wines in Kiedrich, Germany
Today, Weingut Robert Weil is managed by Wilhelm Weil, who owns the winery jointly with Suntory from Japan. With 75 hectares under vine, it is one of the largest estates in the Rheingau. The historical manor house, the ultra-modern cellars and the vinothek stand side by side in a beautiful park – the same synthesis of old and new that is reflected in the estate’s philosophy of winemaking.
In 1988, the estate was sold by Robert Weil to the Japanese beverage group Suntory, and his son Wilhelm appointed as estate director.
Visit of the Basilica of Saint Valentine and of Weingut Robert Weil - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)
The vineyards are planted 100% with Riesling. The estate’s dedication to Riesling since 1875 has led numerous observers of the international wine world to regard Weingut Robert Weil as a worldwide symbol of German Riesling culture. A Riesling wine of the 1893 vintage, grown on the Gräfenberg site, made the estate famous. The imperial Habsburg court in Vienna purchased 800 bottles of this wine at a price of 16 gold Marks per bottle in 1900. The 1920 vintage of the Kiedricher Gräfenberg Trockenbeerenauslese is described as a Zeppelin wine, as it was served on board the LZ 127 „Graf Zeppelin” dirigible on its circumnavigation of the world in 1929. Robert Weil’s top botrytis wines are sold today at extremely high prices - they are among the most expensive in the world. The current world record (in 2006) is held by a 1999 Weil Trockenbeerenauslese, at DM 5.000 (EUR 2500).
Rheingau Riesling Gala 2013 at Kloster Eberbach, Germany
Weingut Robert Weil’s top vineyards all belong to the group of the highlying sites of the Rheingau: Kiedricher Klosterberg, Kiedricher Turmberg and Kiedricher Gräfenberg. Inclination (up to 60 %), exposure (southwest) and the ability of the barren stony soils to absorb heat are the factors that make for three perfect Riesling sites. These conditions, as well as ideal circulation, enable the grapes to remain on the vine for a long time, ripening well into November.
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Christian G.E. Schiller's Review of the Book: Ralf Frenzel (ed.) - Riesling, Robert Weil. Tre Torri, Wiesbaden, Germany, 2013, in: Journal of Wine Economics, Volume 9, 2014, No. 1, Cambridge University Press
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Rheingau Riesling Gala 2013 at Kloster Eberbach, Germany