Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser with Owner/ Winemaker Thomas Haag – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Picture: Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser with Owner/ Winemaker Thomas Haag

Lieser is a small wine village on the bank of the Mosel river and its landmark is a mighty slate castle, once belonging to the Barons of Schorlemer.

In 1904, Clemens Baron of Schorlemer, Secretary of Agriculture in the Prussian government of Emperor William II, built Weingut Schloss Lieser next to the castle and produced some of the greatest wines of the Mosel region.

Today, Weingut Schloss Lieser is owned and managed by the gifted winemaker Thomas Haag. It ranks among Germany‘s top producers.

Pictures: Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser

Weingut Schloss Lieser

Thomas Haag has been the winemaker at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser since 1992 and its owner since 1997. Schloss Lieser – a mighty castle – is the landmark of Lieser, a tiny, quaint Mosel village, built in 1875 by Baron von Schorlemer. Weingut Schloss Lieser was founded in 1904 and produced some of the greatest wines in the Mosel region. In the second half of the 1900s, however, the estate passed through several hands and went into decline.

Pictures: Schloss Lieser in Lieser

Thomas Haag entered the picture in 1992, when he was appointed General Manager of Weingut Schloss Lieser. In 1997, Thomas Haag purchased the estate out of bankruptcy. From then on, Weingut Schloss Lieser went only one way: upwards. Today, Weingut Schloss Lieser is again one of the great estates in the Mosel region, and in all of Germany.

Thomas Haag is the son of winemaker Wilhelm Haag (who was Germany’s Winemaker of the Year 1994) and the brother of winemaker Oliver Haag. He grew up on the famous Weingut Fritz Haag in Brauneberg. The first record of Weingut Fritz Haag is from 1605, with the Haag family having continuous ownership since that time. Wilhelm Haag was in charge of Weingut Fritz Haag until 2005, when he retired and handed over to Thomas Haag’s younger brother, Oliver Haag.

Thomas Haag was the Winemaker of the Year - Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015. In addition, Thomas Haag got the Best Riesling Spätlese Award of the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015. Last, but not least, Weingut Schloss Lieser was promoted to the 5 (out of 5) grapes group of (11) winemakers in the Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015.

Weingut Schloss Lieser produces 8,000 cases and is a member of the VDP. 60% of the production is exported to 45 countries. A bit less than 50% is produced in a dry-style.

Pictures: Joel B. Payne, Gault Millau, Thomas Haag, and Father Wilhelm Haag and Christian Schillerin Mainz. See: Thomas Haag, Weingut Schloss Lieser, Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2015

Winemaking Philosophy

Thomas Haag: With an average yield of 55 hectolitres per hectare we attend to a consistent reduction of the yield to ensure the high quality standards that characterize our wines. Using a strict selection process and exclusively manual harvesting that spans across several cycles, only fully ripened grapes will be harvested. Subsequently, a speedy but extremely gentle soft pressing of the grapes takes place. The carefully cleared must is stored according to their different characters in barrels of wood or stainless steel tank. Here, a slow fermentation will kick-start under cool temperatures using entirely natural yeast. When the favored degree of remaining natural residual sugar is attained the traditional decanting is performed. That means the young wine gets separated from the yeast. The remaining residual sugar is consequently an original component of the primordial must so that every aspect of individuality remains.

Pictures: Thomas Haag

Vineyards

Thomas Haag: The estate Schloss Lieser cultivates a total area of 13 hectares, the majority of is located at the top sites of Lieser Niederberg Helden. Additional top sites are the Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr and Brauneberger Juffer.

Thomas Haag: Starting from scratch by buying the winery without any client base and bottled wine in 1992, we faced the challenge to rehabilitate the winery, its buildings and vineyards: Now we have been rewarded! The Gault & Millau Wine Guide honored us ‘Wine Maker of the Year 2015’ and rewarded our hard work with the 5th grape, the highest category which includes only 11 top-wineries throughout Germany.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser with Owner/ Winemaker Thomas Haag – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

US Importer Rudi Wiest on Weingut Schloss Lieser

Lieser’s landmark is the mighty castle, Schloss Lieser, built in 1875 by Baron von Schorlemer. The Schloss Lieser estate was founded in 1904 and went on to produce some of the greatest wines in the Mosel region. The von Schorlemers started to lose interest and in the 1970s with several different owners the estate went into decline. In 1992, Thomas Haag was appointed General Manager and Cellar Master by yet another owner. There was no inventory and there were no customers. Thomas immediately served notice by producing superb wines in 1992 and 1993. In 1997 the Haags purchased the estate out of bankruptcy and Thomas took command as the new owner. With the experience of working with his father, the great Wilhelm Haag, and his studies at Geisenheim it didn’t take long for Thomas to bring the estate back to its former glory. It is today again one of the great estates in the Mosel region. Thomas is a believer in “wild” yeast fermentation; he produces superb fruity style and noble sweet wines but also some of the greatest dry Rieslings in the region.

The estate has ownership in the following great vineyards:

Lieser Niederberg Helden: decomposed, softer slate, deeper soiled (good water maintenance)
Brauneberger Juffer: decomposed devon slate.
Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr: decomposed devon slate; it is the “filet” piece of the Juffer and benefits from its closeness to the Mosel River.

The Schloss Lieser Estate produces 8,000 cases and is a member of the VDP.

Tasting

2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Riesling Kabinett trocken


2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, HELDEN Spätlese trocken


2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Riesling feinherb


2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Juffer Kabinett VDP.Grosse Lage
2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Wehlener Sonnenuhr Kabinett VDP.Grosse Lage


2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Niederberger Helden Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage
2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Juffer Sonnenuhr Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage


2015 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Niederberger Helden Auslese VDP.Grosse Lage
1999 Weingut Schloss Lieser – Thomas Haag, Niederberger Helden Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage


Bye-bye

Thanks Thomas for a wonderful couple of hours with you and your wines.

Picture: Bye-bye

Postings: Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir (Posted and Forthcoming)

Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir

Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Oetinger, Rheingau, with Achim von Oetinger – Germany-North 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Lunch and Tour: Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Bourgogne in Riesling Land: Tasting at Chat Sauvage in Johannisberg, Rheingau, with Winemaker Michael Städter – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

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Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Leitz in Rüdesheim, with Johannes Leitz – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut August Kesseler in Assmanshausen, with Winemaker Simon Batarseh – Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Rhine River Cruise in the Mittelrhein Valley, an UNESCO World Heritage Region - Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Tasting at Weingut Matthias Müller in Spay, Mittelrhein, with Johannes and Matthias Müller - Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours

Visit and Tasting at Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss in Mayschoss, Ahr – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Tasting at Weingut H.J. Kreuzberg in Dernau, Ahr, with Ludwig Kreuzberg and Frank Josten – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Tasting at Weingut Markus Molitor – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

Tasting at the Legendary Weingut J.J. Prüm with Amei Prüm – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016

The Wines of the Berncasteler Doctor, Bernkastel-Kues in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Wining in Bernkastel-Kues in the Mosel Valley: Wine Tavern “Spitzhaeuschen”, Germany

Tasting at Weingut Schloss Lieser in Lieser, Mosel, with Thomas Haag

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Taverns in Trier, Germany

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken in Saarburg, Saar with Hanno Zilliken

Lunch at Landgasthof Zur Traube in Meddersheim, Nahe: Remembering Klaus Peter Wodartz' Ente in Wiesbaden

Tasting at Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich in Bockenau, Nahe

Dinner with Wine Pairing at the new Wine Tavern of Weingut Kruger-Rumpf in Bingen, Rheinhessen, with Stefan Rumpf

Tasting at Weingut Tesch in Langenlonsheim, Nahe, with Martin Tesch

Cellar Tour and Wine Pairing Lunch at Weingut Hans Lang in Hattenheim, Rheingau, with Urban Kaufmann and Eva Raps

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Picture: Tasting with Prince Eudes d’Orléans, Managing Director at Château de Fargues

The story of Château de Fargues in 1306 when a nephew of Pope Clement V, Cardinal Raymond Guilheim de Fargues bought the property and built a fortress with solid walls and rough stones not at all resembling what we imagine of a “Château”. For more than 500 years, the estate is in the same hands since it had been acquired through marriage by the Lur-Saluces family, a powerful aristocratic family of Southern France, who also owned Château Coutet and Château d’Yquem, among others, until the end of the 20th century.

Château de Fargues is a very large estate of mixed farming with 425 acres of land: 250 acres of woods, a system of artificial ponds, a breeding area, cattle pastures, about 65 acres of arable crops and 62 acres under vine. However, producing a “Sauternes” only started in the late thirties of the 20th century when the father of the current owner Marquis Bertrand de Lur-Saluces converted 25 acres of vineyards from red varieties to Semillion and Sauvignon-Blanc. Alexandre de Lur- Saluces continued the work of his father and today 42 acres are planted with white varieties. The vineyards are farmed with respect to the soil; there is no use of herbicides, as fertilizer the cow manure is used instead.

Our host was Prince Eudes d’Orléans, 3rd in line of the throne, should a monarchy be reinstituted in France, who is the Managing Director at Château de Fargues.

Pictures: Welcome at Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

Château de Fargues

Château de Fargues produces a noble-sweet Sauternes wine that was not classified in 1855 for the simple reason that the property did not make any wine at the time. After more than 500 years, the owner is still the Lur-Saluces family, which also owned Yquem for more than two hundred years. Not surprisingly, the two wines are quite close in style, if only for the reason that both wines receive identical care and attention to detail in the vineyard and in the cellar.

Pictures: Tour of Château de Fargues

Alexandre de Lur Saluces: At Château de Fargues, nature and man work together to produce perfectly ripe grapes subject to the capricious effects of Botrytis cinerea. This microscopic fungus concentrates and multiplies the aromas found in the two grape varieties grown at the château, while reflecting the unique characteristics of its terroir. This mysterious alchemy and an extraordinary combination of factors accounts for the rare and precious Sauternes made by Château de Fargues – an invitation to an uncommon pleasure, a delicious taste experience, a special moment to share, and a time to celebrate…

Paradoxically, Château de Fargues has one of the shortest histories for producing sweet wine, but one of the longest of all the Sauternes châteaux. The château was built in 1306 by the Cardinal Raymond Guilhem, nephew of Bertrand de Goth, elected Pope Clement V in 1305. In 1472 Isabeau de Monferrand, heiress of Château de Fargues, married Pierre de Lur. The family name became Lur-Saluces after Jean de Lur married the daughter of the Marquis de Saluces in 1586. Today it is Alexandre de Lur-Saluces who is at the head of the property.

Wine production at the château only began in the nineteenth century. The first mention of it in the famed book on Bordeaux wines by Cocks and Feret is in 1893, and it concerns red wine. Throughout the early decades of the twentieth century, the size of the vineyard diminished. It was only around 1935 that Bertrand de Lur-Saluces, Alexandre’s uncle, planted white grapes.

Pictures: In the Vineyard of Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

The first vintage (1943) sold under the name Château de Fargues was bottled in 1947, and 1964 was the first year in which no Château de Fargues was produced. This is because the quest for perfection precludes making Sauternes in keeping with Fargues high standards in each and every vintage. When it is felt that quality is wanting, the painful decision is made not to bottle any wine at all under the château name. This was the case in 1972, 1974, and 1992.

Pictures: In the Vineyard of Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans (2015)

Perpetuating Bertrand de Lur Saluces’ implacable focus on quality, his nephew Alexandre accelerated the estate’s transformation and renovation. As he did previously at Yquem, he refurbished and readapted all the buildings, and renewed the winemaking equipment necessary to make great Sauternes.

Pictures: In the Cellar of Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

In 1982, he installed the first winepress adapted to grapes in Sauternes, in 1989 the ageing cellar was renovated and enlarged, in 1996 a second back-up press was acquired, in 1997 the fermentation cellar was refurbished, and in 1998 a new room was built to house the winepresses and vats. In 2005, a third winepress was put in and in 2006 a semi-underground storage cellar was constructed at the same time as new offices.

So, from the 1930s when the first hectare and half of white wine varieties were planted, Château de Fargues had come a very long way… A few more hectares of vines were planted each decade. By the mid-1990s, the vineyard reached over 13 hectares. The average life span of the vines at Fargues is 60 to 80 years. In 2000, the first white wine vines were replanted. At Fargues, standards are such that vines need to be at least 7-8 years old to make wine worthy of the grand vin. Starting from that age, they produce grapes that, when botrytised, succeed in revealing the characteristics of each vintage.

Today the property stretches over 170 hectares, but only 17 of them are planted to vine on top of a mound near a pine forest to the east of the Fargues commune.

Pictures: Tasting with Château de Fargues, Appellation Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

The grape mix is 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon. There is a diversity of soil types here but in general the soil, like in great vineyards, is poor, composed of chalk and stony gravel with a sub-soil containing clay. The microclimate of Sauternes works its wonders here in the classic mould, but the harvest is on average 10 days later than Yquem. The production is tiny with yields even smaller than those at Yquem. All the recent vintages of the emerging 21st century have been particularly successful. The only problem remains the rarity of the wine because of the small production of only 20 000 bottles per year.

Wine Searcher Prices (in US$ per bottle)

2013: 181
2011: 119
2009: 128
2008: 106

Bye-bye

The visit was most interesting. Thanks Prince Eudes d’Orléans.


Postings on the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France (Posted and Forthcoming)

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction

How Does the Negociant System in Bordeaux Work? Tour and Tasting at Millésima - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

Dining and Wining on Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris: La Rotonde, Le Dôme and La Coupole, France – Pre-Bordeaux Wine Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours, France

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Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France

Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

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Tour with Dany Rolland: Château Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France

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Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans

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Tour of Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave

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At the Invitation of Owner Michel Tesseron: Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé

Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc

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Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler

Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin