Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner/ Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden - Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours

Picture: In the Vineyard with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier, Baden

The first stop of the Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours, which took place from October 1 to 8, 2017, was at the impressive Schloss Neuweier in the small village of Neuweier in Baden, close to the spa-town Baden Baden.

See here for an overview of the tour: Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

At Weingut Schloss Neuweier, we had a wine luncheon at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Röttele's Restaurant & Residenz of Chef Armin Röttele and his wife Sophie, with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker of Weingut Schloss Neuweier.

Before the luncheon, Robert showed us around in the vineyards and the cellar.

We were there right in the middle of the harvest. We had a chance to closely watch the pumping over of red grapes that were soaking on the skins; the open vat fermentation of red grapes; and the arrival of grapes at the receiving hall of the winery, including destemming and pressing.

After the luncheon, we went over to the tasting room of Weingut Schloss Neuweier for a quick tasting of the new vintage.

This posting focuses on the initial part of the visit, i.e. the vineyard and cellar tour plus the wine tasting with Robert. A second posting on the luncheon at Röttele's Restaurant will follow.

Schloss Neuweier

(1) Weingut Schloss Neuweier is part of the wonderfully restored, historic castle Schloss Neuweier, where wine has been made for centuries.

(2) Schloss Neuweier also includes a top notch restaurant, where we had lunch during our visit. The restaurant is in the first floor of the castle. It is owned and run by Chef Armin Roettle and his wife and since 2006 in the 1 star Michelin category.

Picture: Robert Schätzle Welcoming the Group

(3) Weingut Schloss Neuweier focuses on Riesling wines, which are outstanding. You would expect that in the Mosel or the Rheingau region, but not in Baden. Reflecting the special soil of the vineyards surrounding the castle and the special micro-climate there as well as a long-standing Riesling tradition and passion, Weingut Schloss Neuweier produces world class Rieslings.

(4) The export share of Weingut Schloss Neuweier is negligible, which is typical for the Baden region. But this may change for Weingut Schloss Neuweier in the future and was not like this in the past. Its Mauerwein (Wall wine – from a terraced vineyard on the hill behind the castle) was one of Queen Victoria’s favorites. It had won an award at the International Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876 and was on the airship Graf Zeppelin’s maiden flight.

(5) Until recently, the driving force behind Schloss Neuweier, including Weingut Schloss Neuweier, was Gisela Joos. She and her husband, a well-known architect from Frankfurt am Main, took over the castle, including the winery, in 1992 and invested around Euro 50 million in the castle, including the winery. What you see today is essentially due to their efforts and money. In 1999, Weingut Neuweier was admitted to the prestigious VDP association, when Gisela Joos was in charge.

(6) Today, the “Schlossherr” (owner) of Schloss Neuweier and the winemaker at Weingut Schloss Neuweier is Robert Schaetzle. His family acquired the estate in 2012. The senior management of the winery of course changed with Robert taking over. The already high quality level of the wines was definitely maintained if not increased by Robert Schaetzle. The Joos family is still living in the castle, but on a lease basis. Also, the lease of the 1 star restaurant was not affected by the change in ownership.

Pictures: Arrival of Grapes at the Receiving Hall of the Winery, including Destemming and Pressing


When we arrived, Robert suggested to walk over to the vineyards first. While walking there, he introduced us to the rich history of Schloss Neuweier.

The castle belongs to the few historic buildings from the 12th century that still exist. Die Ritter von Bach were the first who started planting vines and producing wine. All subsequent owners showed interested in winemaking.

Its current shape took the castle, when it was owned by Philipp Kämmerer von Worms, called von Dalberg. During 1548 to 1549, this gentleman created the castle as you can see it today. To remind everyone of his creation he put in the entry portal: Zeyt bryngt Rosen – Time brings Roses.

In 1615, the castle was passed onto the second daughter of Philipp von Dalberg, whose husband was Wolf von Eltz and Knebel von Katzenellenbogen. Katzenellenbogen was a high ranking knight who fought under the rule of the Archbishop of Mainz. He also was an important person in terms of winemaking at Weingut Schloss Neuweier. He brought his knowledge from the Franken area, the Bocksbeutel bottles and the Niersteiner and the Laubenheimer grape varities, which replaced the traditional Elblinger and Ortlieber.

Pictures: Pumping-over of Spätburgunder Grapes that were Soaking on the Skins

During the 19th century the castle changed its owners quiet frequently. From 1869, the Rößler family from Baden-Baden became the owner of the castle. The Rößler family is responsible for the Mauerberg vineyard gaining international recognition.

The Joos family bought the estate including all the buildings and the vineyard in 1992. With great enthusiasm and financial investments they brought the castle and all the attached buildings back to the full bloom, which you can still admire today. The renovations were completed in 2009.

In 2012, the estate was sold to the family of Robert Schaetzle; they come from a traditional vintners background in the Kaiserstuhl area near Freiburg.

Pictures: Fermentation of Red Grapes on the Skins

The Vineyards

The heart of the vineyard area (15 hectares) of Weingut Schloss Neuweier are two very steep monopoly sites: Schlossberg and Goldenes Loch.

Robert Schätzle: Schlossberg - This is a monopoly site of 3 hectares of south-facing slopes with up to 55°incline, entirely Riesling. The soil is very special, made up of ground granite, schist, shale and slate. Due to being close to an extinct volcano you also find quartz crystals on the surface. The climate is defined by being on the lower slopes of the Black Forrest Mountains and close to the Rhine plateau and in combination with the soil is ideal growing grounds for Riesling. The Riesling grown here gets a lot of sun during the day and at night the release of the heat that was accumulated during the day in the soil.

Pictures: In the Vineyard with Robert Schätzle

Goldenes Loch - Another monopoly site of 1 hectare south-west facing cauldron between the Schlossberg and the Mauerberg. The name was established because of the foliage glowing golden in the autumn sun due to the concave mirror effect caused by the cauldron, catching the last rays of the day. The extreme incline of 60° or more was the main reason it was left alone but in 1993 the land was reclaimed by using small diagonal terraces. The grapes grown here produce exquisite Riesling wines.

Mauerberg: This is a south facing site. Historically, 60% of the Mauerberg was terraced, with each terrace large enough for one or two vines. The man-high natural stone walls contribute to the micro climate for the vines by keeping the warmth during the day as well as being dried be the wind from the Black Forest.

Heiligenstein: The name seems to originate from the Celtic culture stating a magical powerful place, which it is still today. The foundation is full of granite being enjoyed by our young Pinot Noir vines. Here is where we get our very clean, clear classical red wines from.

Wine Cellar

After the vineyard tour, we visited the wine cellar of Weingut Schloss Neuweier.

Pictures: In the Cellar with Robert Schätzle

Robert Schätzle

Robert Schätzle is a very interesting and charming fellow, with curly, almost Afro-style hair and a strong regional southern Baden accent. He lives at the castle with his French wife and one son, if I remember correctly.

Robert did not appeared out of nowhere. He has put in time at serious wineries over the years – at Franz Keller and Dr. Heger in Baden, across the Rhine in Alsace with Zind-Humbrecht and Marc Kreydenweiss, and in Bordeaux at La Tour de By. Before turning to wine, Robert was in academia. He studied at Université Bordeaux Segalen in France.

Weingut Schloss Neuweier

Vineyard area (hectare): 18 ha
Varietal in %: 88 % Riesling 8 % Spätburgunder 3 % Weißburgunder 1 % Gewürztraminer
Output per year: 98.000 Flaschen


Following the tasting, we had lunch with Robert's wines and the outstanding food of 1 star Michelin Chef Armin Röttele. Robert joined us for the lunch. I will report about the luncheon in a separate posting.

Pictures: Wine Lunch at Röttele's Restaurant

Quick Tasting

At the end of the visit, we went over to the tasting room for a quick tasting of the new vintage.

Pictures: Quick Tasting of the New Vintage with Robert Schätzle

schiller-wine: All Postings (Published and Forthcoming): Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

Germany-South and Alsace 2017 Tour by ombiasy WineTours: Baden, Alsace, Pfalz and Rheinhessen

Vineyard and Cellar Tour at Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden-Baden-Neuweier, with Owner/ Winemaker Robert Schätzle

Wine Pairing Lunch at Röttele’s Restaurant (1 Star Michelin) at Schloss Neuweier, with Owner and Winemaker Robert Schätzle, Weingut Schloss Neuweier - German South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)

Wine tasting concert with the A-Capella Ensemble “Männer und Tenöre” at Weingut Aufricht in Meersburg – Stetten, with Manfred and Hildegard Aufricht

The Lake Wines of the Aufricht Brothers: From Lake Constance in Germany

The Evolving Structure of the Wine Industry in Germany – The Case of the Lake Constance Region

Schloss Salem at Lake Constance in Germany: A Museum, a School and a Wine Estate

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Markgraf von Baden in Salem, Baden

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Löffler in Wettenberg, Markgräfler Land, Baden, with Hannes Glöckner of the Löffler Family and Founder Wolfgang Löffler 

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Stigler in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden, with Andreas and Maximilian Stigler

Dinner at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler (1 Star Michelin) in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden.

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars and Wine Taverns in Freiburg, Baden, Germany

The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Tasting at Domaine Marcel Deiss in Bergheim, Alsace

Lunch in Alsace: Wistub du Sommelier in Bergheim and Bistro L’Epicurien in Colmar

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Domaine Dirler-Cadé in Bergholtz, Alsace, with Jean Pierre Dirler and Ludevine Dirler-Cadé

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Domaine Schlumberger in Guebwiller, Alsace

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Domaine Hugel & Fils in Riquewhir, Alsace, with Jean Frédéric Hugel

Dinner at the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant L’Achémille in Kaysersberg, with Owner/ Chef Jérome Jaegle

Wine Lunch at Weingut Jülg with Johannes Jülg – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Jülg in Schweigen, Pfalz, with Johannes Jülg

Schiller's Favorite (Wine-) Restaurants in Deidesheim in the Pfalz, Germany

Tasting at Maison Jülg in Seebach, Alsace, with Peter Jülg

Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz – Germany-South by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz in Siebeldingen, Pfalz, with Valentin Rebholz and Stephanie Wagner

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Münzberg – Lothar Kesseler & Söhne in Landau-Godramstein, Pfalz, with Friedrich and Gunter Kesseler

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Rings in Freinsheim, Pfalz, with Andi Rings

Tasting at Weingut Krebs in Freinsheim, Pfalz, with Jürgen Krebs

Tasting at Sekthaus Raumland in Flörsheim-Dalsheim, Rheinhessen, with Heide-Rose and Volker Raumland

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Wittmann in Westhofen, Rheinhessen, with Philipp Wittmann

Cellar Tourvisit and Tasting at Weingut Gröbe in Westhofen, Rheinhessen, with Fritz Gröbe

Cellar Tour and Wine Pairing Lunch at Weingut Louis Guntrum in Nierstein, Rheinhessen, with Konstantin and Stephanie Guntrum

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