Friday, July 3, 2015

Winetasting with Katharina Wechser, Weingut K. Wechsler, Westhofen, Rheinhessen – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Picture: Winetasting with Katharina Wechser, Weingut K. Wechsler, Westhofen, Rheinhessen – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

In Rheinhessen, we visited 2 world stars – Weingut Wittmann and Weingut Gunderloch – and one up and coming winery: Weingut Katharina Wechsler. While Weingut Gunderloch is well established in the US market and Weingut Wittmann just joined the portfolio of Dr. Loosen Imports, Katharina Wechsler is trying to get a foot into the US market. I hope we will soon see more of her wines in the US.

Weingut K. Wechsler

Katharina Wechsler is a newcomer and rising star in the German wine scene. Katharina grew up at Weingut Wechsler in Westhofen, but after finishing high school she decided to study social science, including for a year in Paris and an internship in Rio de Janeiro, and pursue a career in the media in Berlin. After 10 years or so on this track, she changed her mind and decided to go home and make wine.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut K. Wechsler

Katharina Wechsler: It took a while for me to return home, but sometimes you have to leave in order to be able to come home. I am happy that after 2 years at the Oppenheim wine school and internships at Weingut Gutzler and Weingut Klaus Peter Keller, I can now pursue my passion for wine at my own winery in Westhofen. Our winery is located in the historic center of Westhofen. My vineyard area totals 17 hectares, including plots in the well known vineyards Steingrube, Kirchspiel and Morstein. Riesling, Silvaner and Scheurebe dominate. In addition, the smallest of all single vineyards in Westhofen is completely owned by my family (monopoly site). With 6.5 hectares, this is a small and very fine vineyard.

The vineyard area totals 17 hectares. The larger part of the grapes is still sold to the co-operative. The current production is about 6000 cases. Half of it is sold directly to consumers, mostly online. The other half go to restaurants and retail stores.

Pictures: Katharina Wechsler Explaining the Vineyard Sites of Weingut K. Wechsler

Stuart Pigott on Katharina Wechsler

Stuart Pigott: Once again I have to put back the story of Riesling and the mystery of aroma for another day, because as they say in America “stuff happens”. At short notice I reorganized my schedule for yesterday evening so that I could meet up with rising star winemaker Katharina Wechsler of the eponymous estate in Westhofen/ Rheinhessen. I make no apologies for dragging you back to the subject of Germany’s largest wine growing region and the Dream Factory of dry white wines that it has recently become. I first tasted Katharina’s wines only a couple of months ago and we met for the first time at the Wine Vibes party in Berlin on Friday, September 14th. So it was a great surprise when my friends Volker Donabaum and Amy Troiano told me that Katharina would be in town and that I could join them for a late night tasting at Terroir E.Vil. (as locals call the East Village).

Pictures: Tasting with Katharina Wechsler

Before I’d even finished saying hi Katharina and asking how she was doing Volker had unpacked samples of her whites of the 2011 vintage and the first wine was being poured. I made quite detailed notes, which might seem a bit obsessive late at night in a place like Terroir, but that’s the sort of person I am and the wines deserved being taken that seriously. The dry Wechsler Rieslings managed to combine the power that’s typical of contemporary dry Rieslings from the New Rheinhessen with a rare vitality for ambitious dry wines from this region. They’re joyful rather than imposing wines, though there’s so much in the best of them (most importantly the Westhofen Riesling and the Benn Riesling with their high-tensile strength and subtle spice) that you can’t take it all in immediately.

That’s what makes me really like them.

However, that’s not all that the talented young lady who gave up a career in TV journalism for wine and claims she’s “still a rookie” winemaker has up her sleeve. Katharina’s 2011 Silvaner ‘Alter Reben’, old vines, taste of quince, butter and smoke, is richly texture, but not the least heavy (sometimes a problem with high-end wines of this grape). No Wechsler wine is more joyful than the dry Scheurebe, or as the staff at Terroir E-Vil. called it last night “Sure-rebe”; one of those dangerously refreshing wines that taste of blackcurrants and fresh herbs, and are so often my undoing. December 6 2012

Katharina Wechsler and Nespresso

Currently, Katharina Wechsler is one of the 3 main protagonists of a major "founder" campaigne of Nespresso in Germany, along with Delia Fischer, founder of an online-shoppingclub and Vijay Sapre, editor of the magazin Effilee. 

Picture: Katharina Wechsler on Nespresso Advertisement in Berlin

The Wines Katharina Poured

Picture: The Wines Katharina Poured

Katharina’s first vintage was 2010.

NV Weingut K. Wechsler Fräulein HU

Fräulein Hu is a refreshing “Perlwein made of Huxelrebe, with Weißburgunder, Riesling and Müller-Thurgau. A Perlwein is a sparkling wine with lower pressure than Sekt and Champagne. Katharina wants to take the consumer to Indochina of the 1920s. Fräulein Hu is an exotic and erotic woman, who has many young lovers, according to Katharina.

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler and Weingut Schätzel Silvaner Trocken

A wine jointly made with Kai Schätzel, Weingut Schätzel. Both contributed 50% of the wine.

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Weisser Burgunder Trocken

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Riesling Tocken

The Winner of the 2014 Berlin Gutsriesling Cup.

Picture: 2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Riesling Tocken

See also:
Martin Zwick’s BerlinGutsweinrieslingCup 2014 - Rating Entry-level Rieslings from Germany's Best Producers

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Westhofener Riesling Trocken

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Kirchspiel Riesling Trocken

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Benn Riesling Trocken

Lee Markham: ’ve recently tried a few wines from this Westhofener winery in Germany’s Rheinhessen and have been astonished as to how delicate winemaker Katharina Wechsler is able to work with traditional powerful varietals. Typically Rheinhessen Riesling, Grauburgunder and the like is full of sometimes overpowering fruit and a thick chalky note that often feels out of place. Her wines however are all very delicate and incredibly crafted: smooth, easy-drinkability and character and three terms I use to describe nearly all of her wines.

Weingut Wechsler operates the Benn vineyard entirely and this Riesling makes use of what it some of the finest Riesling terroir in all of Rheinhessen. It was probably designed to be opened in a few years time but my handler informed me of its excellent drinkability right now.

Colour - Satin Gold, very shiny.

Nose - Lime cordial, lemon peel and green apple made up the nose but so too did almonds and limestone.

Taste - The attack is of sharp lemon juice but this eventually gets milder giving the drinker some of the finest lemon notes I’ve ever experience in any wine. Grapefruit, orange peel but also a touch of orchard fruit is presented as well: delicate yellow apples and green pears. The finish is crisp and brings chalk but only a touch – enough to complete the wine and remind of the fantastic soil here without risking an off-balance, cloudy affair.

Overall - I probably did open this a little too early – with a few years in the cellar, the sharpness of the lemon would go away and the fruit probably improve through this. The Wechsler touch is there though – delicate elegance although this Riesling offers a tad more power than most of the rest of the range. Once again, the possibilities of producing wines based on Riesling appear endless.
 

Picture: Katharina Wechsler, Weingut Wechsler at Prowein 2015

See also:
Prowein 2015 in Düsseldorf, Germany – Schiller’s Impressions

2012 Weingut K. Wechsler Benn Riesling Trocken

2013 Weingut K. Wechsler Riesling Schweisströpfchen

This is a Homage to the Mosel – a wine with low alcohol and remaining sweetness, made by stopping the fermentation.

2010 Weingut K. Wechsler Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese

Stunning. 200 gr. RS.

Scheurebe

We finished with a Scheurebe, but I did not take any notes.

Bye-bye

Thanks Katharina for a wonderful tasting.

Photo: Thanks

schiller-wine: Related Postings

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

Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy, 2014

German Wine and Culture Tour by ombiasy, 2013

In the Vineyard and the Wine Cellar (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting Luncheon at 1 Star Michelin Röttele's Restaurant im Schloss Neuweier in Baden, with Winemaker Robert Schätzle and his Weingut Schloss Neuweier Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Zähringer in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Winemaker Paulin Köpfer – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombasy (2014)

Weingut Freiherr von Gleichenstein in Baden: Tour and Tasting with Baron Johannes von Gleichenstein – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014), Germany

Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Fritz Keller – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen, with Weingut Franz Keller Wines – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Visit: Weingut Dr. Heger in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Weingut Karl-Heinz Johner in Baden: Cellar Tour and Tasting with Karl-Heinz and Patrick Johner – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

At Maison Trimbach in Alsace with Hubert Trimbach – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Friedrich Becker – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Lunch, Wine Tasting and Winery Tour at Weingut Jülg in Schweigen, Pfalz with the Jülg Family – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

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

Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut Geheimer Rat Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan in Deidesheim with General Manager Gunther Hauck – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Winery Tour and Wine Tasting at Weingut A. Christmann, with Steffen Christmann – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Wine Tasting at Weingut Weegmüller with Stephanie and Gabriele Weegmüller – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Tasting the Wines, President Obama was Served: Visit of Weingut Markus Schneider, Pfalz – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

Cellar Tour and Wine Tasting with Philipp Wittmann and Eva Clüsserath-Wittmann at Weingut Wittmann in Westhofen – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2014)

schiller-wine: Related Postings (Weingut K. Wechsler)

Martin Zwick’s BerlinGutsweinrieslingCup 2014 - Rating Entry-level Rieslings from Germany's Best Producers

Prowein 2015 in Düsseldorf, Germany – Schiller’s Impressions

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Wines Queen Elizabeth II was served in Germany on her State Visit in June 2015: All Riesling? No! Best-of-best Winemakers? No!

Picture: State Dinner in Berlin with Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II spent 3 days in Germany on a State Visit in June 2015. The State Visit focused on Berlin and Frankfurt, but the 89-year-old Monarch and her husband Prince Philip, 94, also visited the Bergen-Belsen camp where diarist Anne Frank and her sister Margot died just weeks before the British liberated it on April 15, 1945.

In Berlin, the Queen and her husband were honored with a State Dinner, while in Frankfurt the authorities organized a luncheon for the Queen. In addition, the British Ambassador threw a Garden Party for the Queen in Berlin.

Interestingly, the German hosts did not try to shine with wines Germany is known for in the world, i.e. fruity-sweet and noble-sweet Rieslings, nor did they serve wines from their best-of-the best winemakers, like Dr. Loosen, JJ Prüm, Weil, Dönnhoff, Huber or Leitz, to name a few. Nethertheless, the wines served were all from top winemakers.

See also:
The Wines Chancelor Merkel Served President Obama and Michelle Obama in Berlin (and the Wines she did not Serve), Germany

The Wines at the State Dinner in Berlin

Picture: State Dinner in Berlin

In Berlin, 3 wines were served:

2014 Saulheimer, Chardonnay Réserve, trocken, Weingut Thörle, Saulheim / Rheinhessen
2012 Rummel, Spätburgunder, trocken, Weingut Rummel, Landau-Nussdorf / Pfalz
2013 Freiburg Schlossberg, Spätburgunder Weißherbst Beerenauslese, Weingut Stigler, Ihringen / Baden

2014 Saulheimer, Chardonnay Réserve, trocken, Weingut Thörle, Saulheim / Rheinhessen

Weingut Thörle is an up and coming winemaker in Saulheim that in the past years has managed to receive a lot of attention in the wine scene, including a write-up in the New York Times. It has 3.5 out of 5 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

Chardonnay is one of the most popular grape varieties in the world. Slowly but surely it is gaining gained ground in Germany, and with more than 1,300 hectacres in 2010, it now accounts for more than 1% of Germany's total vineyard area.

Picture: Christian Schiller with Johannes and Christoph Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen

See also:
Visit: Winzerhof Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

2012 Rummel, Spätburgunder, trocken, Weingut Rummel, Landau-Nussdorf / Pfalz

Weingut Rummel is an organic producer in the Pfalz. It is not listed in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

There is a red wine revolution going on in Germany and the world increasingly takes note of it. Of course, given its location, the red wines of Germany tend to be not like the fruity red wines we know from warmer countries, but lean and more elegant, with a lot of finesse. 30 years ago, the share of red wine in total German wine output was not more than 10 percent; in the international wine scene, people would not talk about German red wine. But this is changing. Germany now produces red wines that can compete with the best of the world; the share of red wines in terms of production has increased to about 35 percent now in Germany and increasingly the international market takes note of what is happening in Germany.

2013 Freiburg Schlossberg, Spätburgunder Weißherbst Beerenauslese, Weingut Stigler, Ihringen / Baden

Weingut Stigler is located in Ihringen/Baden. It is a member of the VDP, the association of about 200 German elite winemakers. Weingut Stigler has 3 out of 5 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

The Wines at the Luncheon in Frankfurt

The Queen spent Thursday in the financial hub of Frankfurt. At the luncheon in her honor at the Römer, the historic townhall of Frankfurt, all wines had a link to the guest of honor and/or the host.

Picture: Luncheon in Honor of  Queen Elizabeth II

The following wines were served:

NV Riesling Sekt Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt
1953 Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Natur Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach
2011 Victoriaberg Goldstück Riesling Beerenauslese Weingut Prinz von Hessen

NV Riesling Sekt Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt

Frankfurt is known for its international airport and its banks, but it is not known to be a wine city. Yet, the famous wine regions Rheingau and Rheinhessen are at the doorsteps of Frankfurt, just 30 minutes away; vine is even grown within the city’s boundaries and the city of Frankfurt owns a wine estate: Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt.

Picture: The Wine Tavern of the Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt in the Center of Frankfurt

That the city of Frankfurt is in the winemaking business goes back to the secularization (the expropriation of the church and transfer of the assets to the state) that took place under Napoleon at the beginning of the 1800s. In the course of the secularization, the city of Frankfurt became the owner of the Carmelite Monastery, which had existed right in the middle of Frankfurt since 1246. With the monastery came its winery and vineyards. The Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt was borne (in 1803).

For almost 200 years then, the Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt was a government owned and run winery. During the privatization wave that swept through the world in the 1980s and 1990s, in 1994, the city of Frankfurt decided to privatize the operational side of the Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt and signed a 30 years lease with Armin Rupp, a winemaker from the Pfalz. Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt is not listed in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

See also:
Wine in Frankfurt am Main? - Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt, Germany

1953 Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Natur Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach

A very special wine from the year when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. The Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach is owned by the State of Hessen. The wine sells for Euro 475 at the winery. The Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach is member of the VDP and has 3 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

Picture: 1953 Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Natur Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach

See also:
Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau: Tour and Wine Tasting - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

2011 Victoriaberg Goldstück Riesling Beerenauslese Weingut Prinz von Hessen

Weingut Prinz von Hessen is owned and run by Philipp Landgraf von Hessen, who is a great-nephew of Prinz Philip. The wine sells for Euro 49 Euro ex-winery. The Weingut Prinz von Hessen is member of the VDP and has 2 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

Wine at the Garden Party of the British Ambassador Simon McDonald in Berlin

Only one wine was served at the Garden Party of the British Ambassador2013 Königin Victoria-Berg Riesling Trocken Weingut Joachim Flick

2013 Königin Victoria-Berg Riesling Trocken Weingut Joachim Flick

Picture: 2013 Königin Victoria-Berg Riesling Trocken Weingut Joachim Flick

The vineyard is named after the great-great-grand-mother of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria, who visited Hocheim in 1850. A monument in the vineyard reminds of her visit. Today, the vineyard is owned by Weingut Joachim Flick. Weingut Joachim Flick has 3 grapes in the Gault Millau WeinGuide 2015.

Queen Victoria's enthusiasm for Hochheim's wines contributed to their popularity in England, where they, and ultimately, Rhine wines in general, were referred to as Hock.

Picture: Christian Schiller and Reiner Flick, Weingut Joachim Flick

See also:
FairChoice Certified Wine in Germany: Weingut Joachim Flick in the Rheingau

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Bourgogne Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France

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

Germany’s Top 20 Winemakers - Der Feinschmecker WeinGuide 2015

The Wines Chancelor Merkel Served President Obama and Michelle Obama in Berlin (and the Wines she did not Serve), Germany 

Visit: Winzerhof Thörle in Saulheim, Rheinhessen – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

Wine in Frankfurt am Main? - Weingut der Stadt Frankfurt, Germany

Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau: Tour and Wine Tasting - Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

FairChoice Certified Wine in Germany: Weingut Joachim Flick in the Rheingau

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Picture: Impromptu Meeting with Caro Maurer, Master of Wine, in Dresden

The Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours took place from June 11 to June 20, 2015. It was the first tour of this kind, focusing on the lesser known regions east of the Rhine River as well as incorporating a strong art component. This posting provides a summary of the whole tour; further postings will cover individual events.

Annette Schiller in her announcement: “This tour allows wine lovers and aficionados of the arts to experience what the statement “wine is a form of art” entails. We will live the profound relationship between wine, music, dance, and visual arts by visiting Germany’s beautiful, lesser known wine regions, and the region which is the cradle of German culture, and intellectual thinking. We meet winemakers who embody the "wine and art" approach right at their wineries, and we will attend four world-class concert-opera-, and ballet performances in East-and Middle Germany. This tour will tickle all your senses and emotions.”

5 Wine Regions

We visited a total of 19 wineries in 5 different wine regions:

Saale-Unstrut, the northernmost German wine region and former GDR territory. It is situated on the hillsides lining the Saale and Unstrut rivers and produces racy white wines from many white grape varieties;

Sachsen, also located in the former GDR, is the easternmost German wine region and extends some 35 miles north and south of Dresden along the Elbe river. This region tickles all your senses with its unique voluptuous baroque architecture, a rich history, its wealth of art, and love of all the good things in life;

Franken with its Bavarian charm and gorgeous, crisp, crystal clear wines from their signature grape Silvaner;

Württemberg, Germany’s premier red wine region with hearty, bold wines made from grapes like Lemberger (Blaufränkisch in Austria), and Trollinger. This is the region where wine is ingrained in daily life like nowhere else. The Württemberg region has the highest per capita consumption of wine in Germany;

Hessische Bergstrasse, the smallest wine region in Germany with quaint little towns and villages right at the doorsteps of Frankfurt.

Germany with its roughly 250,000 acres under vine belongs today to one of the smaller wine producing countries in the world. However, viticulture in Germany has a long tradition, going back to Roman times 2,000 years ago. In the 15th century, the area under vine was four times larger than it is today. Wars, subsequent loss of territory, diseases, overproduction, and competition from beer brewing resulted in land turned over to other agricultural uses. In the 19th century, concentration on terroir and technological progress fostered a tremendous improvement of quality and the prestige of German wines, in particular from the Mosel, Rheingau, and Pfalz regions, resulting in prices above those for first growth Bordeaux wines. Today, all thirteen wine regions in Germany produce outstanding wines. However, the two regions in the former GDR had a lot of catching up to do. During the communist times from 1945 until reunification in 1989, wine production was nationalized, and winemaking took place in huge VEB (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people) wineries. The output, the bottle count was imposed on the VEB by the State, and therefore quality could not play a major role. The winemaking process was deprived of modern farming and cellar techniques. The majority of wine produced was for the consumption of the communist party members. After the iron curtain came down, family wineries were founded, and the winemakers pursued quality with a vengeance. Some of Germany’s finest Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris today come from the Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen regions.

The Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours 

Saale-Unstrut

DAY 1: Thursday, June 11

09:00 am Departure by coach from Frankfurt am Main.

12:00 pm Arrival at the Veste-Wachsenburg, Thuringia, and lunch

The Veste-Wachsenburg is one of the very few intact medieval fortresses in Germany. It sits on the highest elevation of the Thuringia countryside “three fortresses” with a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape. The restaurant at Veste-Wachsenburg, led by an ambitious chef, serves specialties of Thuringia at the highest level.

Picture: Lunch at Veste-Wachsenburg

02:00 pm Departure at Veste-Wachsenburg.

We stopped in Arnstadt, home to the Bach family clan, to visit the church where Johann Sebastian Bach held his first post as cantor when he was 22 years old.

04:00 pm Arrival at the Winery Lützkendorf (VDP) in Bad Kösen.

Our first stop in the Saale-Unstrut wine region. The Saale-Unstrut wine region sits on 51st latitude and is Germany’s northernmost wine region, located in the valleys of the Saale and Unstrut rivers, an area of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). The oldest record of viticulture dates back to the year 998 during the reign of Emperor Otto III.

The winery Lützkendorf was founded at the dawn of the 19th century and existed until 1959 when the GDR authorities integrated the estate into the government run Agricultural Cooperative. In 1991, after the reunification of the two German States the vineyards were returned to the family. Uwe Lützkendorf reestablished the winery and built new production facilities in Bad Kösen. The stony soils and the climate of this northern wine region decisively influences the character of the wines. Uwe Lützkendorf’s philosophy of wine making is as little intervention as possible to showcase the character of the wines.

In 1996 the winery Lützkendorf was the first estate in the Saale-Unstrut region to become member of the prestigious VDP, the Association of Germany’s Premium Winemakers.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Lützkendorf with Owner and Winemaker Uwe Lützkendorf

See also:
Weingut Lützkendorf in Saale Unstrut in Germany 

07:30 pm Dinner in Naumburg.

After dinner we took a walk through the quaint, little town and tasted some more Saale-Unstrut wines. We also took a look at the impressive late Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral built between the 13th and 15th centuries and at the house of the Nietzsche family, where the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spent his childhood.

Pictures: Naumburg

DAY 2: Friday, June 12

09.30 am Cellar tour, and wine tasting at the Pawis Winery (VDP) in Freyburg, Saale-Unstrut.

Weingut Pawis – owned and run by Bernhard Pawis - is located in the historic Zscheiplitz Estate, established in the 12th century as a convent, close to Freyburg. It is a gorgeous set-up, but as Bernhard Pawis told us, under the communist regime that did not allow private entrepreneurship, the then nationalized estate was completely run down and renovation was a major undertaking. Bernhard Pawis is a trained winemaker, educated in the former German Democratic Republic in a VEB (volkseigener Betrieb / company owned by the people) winery. Shortly after the Iron Curtain came down in 1989, Bernhard’s parents bought 0.5 hectares of vineyard land and founded a small winery. Following the death of his father in 1998, Bernhard took over the reins, undertook major investments, bought more land and the Zscheiplitz Estate, and paid detailed attention to quality. In 2001 he received the highest reward for his efforts when he was invited to join the VDP, Germany’s association of elite winemakers with only about 200 members. To listen to him, and also to his fellow winemakers in this former GDR area, recount their stories of reviving an economic and agriculture waste land after German reunification, is living history and worthy of a spy thriller.

Pictures: At Weingut Pawis with Bernhard and Markus Pawis

See also:
Weingut Pawis (Saale Unstrut): Estate Tour and Wine Tasting with Kerstin Pawis – Germany-North Wine Tour by ombiasy (2014)

11:30 am Departure and short drive to Gröst.

Picture: Vineyards in the Saale-Unstrut Wine Region

12:15 pm Wine pairing lunch, and cellar visit at winery Thürkind in Gröst, Saale-Unstrut

This winery was founded shortly after reunification when the government returned land to the Thürkind family which had been nationalized during the communist era. The land included 3 acres of vineyards. Rudolf Thürkind used to work as cellar master in the cooperative in Freyburg and winemaker colleagues of the wine regions in the western part of Germany encouraged the Thürkinds to start producing their own wine. Today, more than twenty years later, the Thürkind family owns 15 acres of vineyards in very favorable sites and developed the old farm into into a beautiful estate, making excellent wines, including gorgeous Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. Son Mario Thürkind is now at the helm of the estate.

Pictures: At Weingut Thürkind with Mario and Antje Thürkind

Sachsen

04:30 pm Arrival in Leipzig and check-in at the Mercure Hotel Leipzig.

08:00 pm Gewandhaus Leipzig.

Concert with the full Gewandhaus orchestra as part of the Leipzig Bachfest.

Pictures: At the Gewandhaus in Leipzig

DAY 3: Saturday, June 13

10:00 am Guided walking tour through Leipzig.

This city is a gem for classical music lovers. There is no space to list all the world-famous composers, conductors, musicians, opera singers, and poets, who lived and worked in Leipzig. We paid a visit to the St. Thomas church, home of the world-renowned “Thomanerchor”, the Sankt Thomas Boys Choir, and a place of musical creativity. This church is also the final resting place of its most famous cantor, Johann Sebastian Bach.

We also visited the Nikolai church, where the collapse of the communist systems in Eastern Europe and eventually the reunification of Germany began. For months on end, every Monday evening people gathered inside the church praying and demonstrating for freedom, before the protests spilled out onto the streets leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall that changed the world order established after World War II.

We took a look at Auerbachs Keller. It is the second oldest restaurant in Leipzig dating back to the early 15th century. This was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s hangout when he was a student at the uni versity of Leipzig. He made this restaurant immortal by mentioning the vaulted barrel cellar in his epic “Faust”.

Pictures: In Leipzig

We stopped at the “Baumwollspinnerei”, a vast, old, former cotton-spinning mill converted to a mecca for the visual arts. More than 50 artists, among them internationally acclaimed Neo Rauch, flagship of the “Leipziger Schule”, live, work, and exhibit here. This has put Leipzig on the global art tourism map.

Pictures: At the Baumwollspinnerei in Leipzig

04:30 pm Arrival, cellar tour and tasting at winery Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe (VDP) in Zadel, Sachsen.

The Prinz zur Lippe family was first mentioned in the early 12th century and belonged to the reigning dynasties in Europe until 1918. For more than 300 years, the family branch of Georg Prinz zur Lippe, owner of winery Schloss Proschwitz, lived in Sachsen and produced wine. However there is a 45 year long interruption, when in 1945 the Russians occupied the eastern half of Germany, and disappropriated and expelled the family. Immediately after Germany’s reunification Georg Prinz zur Lippe started to buy back his family’s wine estate and ancestral residence, the Proschwitz castle. Since then he has restored the castle to its former glory, and invested heavily to build up the winery to become a state of the art wine producing estate. With 220 acres under vine the estate belongs to one of the larger wineries in Germany and is the largest privately owned one in Sachsen. Great care is given to sustainable techniques in the vineyard to enable future generations to continue to produce outstanding wines. Professor Dr. Prinz Georg zur Lippe was our host. He also joint us for dinner.

Pictures: At Winery Schloss Proschwitz, Prinz zur Lippe (VDP) in Zadel, with Prinz Georg zur Lippe

06:30 pm Wine pairing dinner at Lippe'sches Gutshaus, Schloss Proschwitz. The regional, fresh cuisine with a sophisticated twist – a perfect pairing with the Schloss Proschwitz wines - received the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs award in 2011.

Pictures: Wine Pairing Dinner at Lippe'sches Gutshaus, Schloss Proschwitz, with Prinz zur Lippe

08:45 pm Arrival and check-in at Welcome Hotel in Meissen.

We enjoyed the view across the Elbe river on the beautiful historic city of Meissen with the cathedral and the mighty Albrechtsburg castle.

Picture: Meissen (View from the Hotel)

DAY 4: Sunday, June 14

09:00 am Visit of the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen

Pictures: Visit of the Albrechtsburg Castle in Meissen

11:30 am Visit and tasting at winery Karl Friedrich Aust in Radebeul, Sachsen.

The origins of the “Meinholdsche Turmhaus” (tower building), the heart of the winery Aust, dates back to the year 1650. Wine was already made here in the 18th century. The Aust family was able to purchase the estate in 1975 and restored this historical gem on their own initiative. However, during the communist era they were only allowed to produce 100 liters of wine for their own consumption. The fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 opened unforeseen opportunities. The new situation allowed the Aust family to cultivate their own 13 acres of vineyards, and the winery Karl Friedrich Aust was born. Karl Friedrich trained at prominent estates in the western part of Germany to learn the art of making wine and has now become a top wine maker in his own right. Wine and art is closely intertwined in the Aust family. Cordelia Friederike Curling-Aust, the sister of winemaker Karl Friedrich Aust has her own art studio and art school in the historic buildings of the estate. Her husband Brian Curling's graphic art is on display at the winery and changing exhibits are organized throughout the year.

Pictures: Visit of Weingut Aust with Owner and Winemaker Karl Friedrich Aust

12:30 pm Wine pairing lunch at the winery. This tiny restaurant with its tiny kitchen produces outstanding food. Local, organic ingredients and a gifted, very talented chef make for stunning, tasty, creative dishes.

Pictures: Wine Pairing Lunch at Weingut Karl Friedrich Aust

03:30 pm Arrival in Dresden and check-in at INNSIDE hotel.

We took a stroll through the historic part of Dresden, before the opera evening.

Pictures: Dresden

07:00 pm Semperoper Dresden.

Opera: "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Pictures: "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Semperopera and After-opera Drinks at the "Italienisches Dörfchen" Restaurant

DAY 5: Monday, June 15

10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Klaus Zimmerling (VDP) in Oberpoyritz, Sachsen.

In 1992, shortly after reunification, Klaus Zimmerling founded this winery. This is a very special place, hard to describe – you have to feel it - where art and wine is intimately intertwined. Two people, two passions, a heart warming experience: Klaus Zimmerling, the grape whisperer, who sees his vineyard, the perfectly shaped, southern facing Rysselkuppe as a gift and natural wonder, which imposes on him the duty to go the extra mile to produce extraordinary wine; Malgorzata Chodakoska, his wife, who sculptures graceful feminine figures in her studio, which sits in the middle of the vines. Every year one of her sculptures will serve as model for the bottle label of that particular vintage.

Pictures: With Winemaker Klaus Zimmerling and his Wife, Artist Malgorzata Chodakoska, at Weingut Zimmerling

01:30 pm Lunch at the Wintergarten Café at Schlosshotel Pillnitz.

The Pillnitz castle and surrounding park, built in 1720, is the most important and largest chinoise castle in Europe. Later it became the summer residence of the Saxon kings and many juicy stories surround the castle still today, because August the Strong bestowed the castle on his favorite mistress, the Countess Cosel. After lunch we will have a bit of time to stroll through the park and to enjoy the view across the Elbe river on the city of Dresden in the distance.

Pictures: Schlosshotel Pillnitz

04:30 pm Guided tour through the Royal Palace in Dresden and the museum complex.

Dresden has a long history as the capital of the kingdom of Saxony. For centuries the Saxon royals spared no money and effort to furnish the city with artistic, and cultural splendor. The baroque and rococo city center, and wealth of art, gave the city the nickname: “Florence of the north”. In modern times, until 1933, Dresden was Europe’s capital of modern art. The allied bombing at the end of World War II wiped out the city. During GDR times some of the most important historical monuments were restored. After reunification reconstruction intensified, and major reconstruction projects, including rebuilding the “Frauenkirche”, were completed. The restoration of the Royal Palace was only completed in 2013. We were able to visit the “Grünes Gewölbe” (Green Vault), and the “Türckische Cammer” (Turkish Chamber).

Franken

DAY 6: Tuesday, June 16

11:30 am Arrival in Bayreuth, Bavaria.

We stopped at the “Festspielhaus Bayreuth” (Bayreuth Festival Theater), the opera house dedicated solely to the performances of the operas of Richard Wagner. We will also stopped by “Wahnfried” the home of Richard and Cosima Wagner, which is now the Wagner museum and archives. I quote the former German secretary of State, Hans-Dietrich Genscher: “Richard Wagner’s Bayreuth home “Wahnfried” is an outstanding cultural place, but also a symbol of German history – in its contradictoriness and entanglements.”

Pictures: In Bayreutt at the Home of Richard and Cosima Wagner and at the Festspielhaus

12:30 pm Lunch at Ristorante Bürgerreuth, close to the Festspielhaus.

04:30 pm Visit and tasting at winery Wirsching (VDP) in Iphofen, Franken.

Making dry Silvaner, Rieslings, Scheurebe, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris has been a family tradition for over 375 years. The current generation at the helm of the estate, Dr. Heinrich Wirsching is convinced that good wines originate in the vineyard. Therefore a lot of attention is given to the work outside the cellar doors, and the Wirsching wines, in particular the Silvaner, are among the best in Germany, Wirsching is an advocate of the Bocksbeutel bottle, the odd, round shaped flacon like bottle. He feels that this is the perfect bottle for his wines, so deeply rooted in their traditional Franken soil and heritage.

Pictures: At Weingut Wirsching with General Manager Dr. Uwe Matheus

07:00 pm Arrival in Würzburg and check-in at Hotel Greifensteiner Hof.

We had dinner at the famous Bürgerspital and then went over for a glass of wine to the Alte Mainbrücke with stunning views of the Marienberg Fortress on the hill across the Main river.

Pictures: Dinner at Bürgerspital

Pictures: At Alte Main Brücke

DAY 7: Wednesday, June 17

09:45 am Arrival, cellar tour and tasting at winery Am Stein Ludwig Knoll (VDP) in Würzburg, Franken.

This winery is beautifully situated right in the middle of the world-renowned vineyard “Würzburger Stein”. Sandra and Ludwig Knoll, the fifth generation of the founding family, run the estate and pursue quality with a vengeance. They are convinced that great wines, expressive and rich in character, are the result of creative minds and the obligation to deal with nature and its resources responsibly in order to leave behind healthy soils for the generations to come.

Pictures: At Weingut am Stein with Christian Lau

01:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Gasthaus Stern in Dorfprozelten.

03:00 pm Arrival, cellar tour, vineyards tour, and tasting at winery Rudolf Fürst (VDP) in Bürgstadt, Franken.

The Miltenberg basin in the western tip of Franken between the forested hills of the Odenwald and the Spessart, where Bürgstadt is located, provides ideal climatic conditions for first-class viticulture. The weathered colored sandstone of the Centgrafenberg vineyard in Bürgstadt and the extremely steep slopes of the Schlossberg vineyard in Klingenberg are home to the most extraordinary Früh-and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir précos and Pinot Noir) produced by Paul Fürst and his son Sebastian. The Fürst family has been producing wine in this area since 1638. In addition to the reds, brilliant white wines such as Riesling, Weissburgunder and Franken’s signature wine, Silvaner are also produced here.

Pictures: At Weingut Fürst with Paul and Sebastion Fürst

06:30 pm Back in Würzburg.

08:00 pm Imperial Hall in the Würzburg Residence

Concert as part of the Mozart Festival in Würzburg: Mozart and Magnard: Quintett for Piano and Wind Section; Poulenc: Sextett for Piano and Wind Section

Pictures: Concert in the Imperial Hall in the Würzburg Residence

DAY 8: Thursday, June 18

09:00 am Visit of the Würzburg Imperial Residence.

This imperial palace is one of the largest in Europe and one of the most homogeneous and most extraordinary Baroque castles. The palace was built in 1720 by the Prince Bishop, Johann Philip Franz von Schönborn who wanted to construct a residence worthy of his position as absolute monarch. In 1814 Würzburg became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The Bavarian king made Munich the capital and his residence. Thus Würzburg was no longer a center of power, but its splendor is still remarkable today.

Picture: Imperial Residence, Würzburg

Württemberg

12:30 pm Lunch at restaurant Zum Alten Rentamt in Schwaigern, Württemberg.

Pictures: Lunch at Restaurant Zum Alten Rentamt in Schwaigern, Württemberg

01:45 pm Visit and tasting at winery Graf Neipperg (VDP) in Schwaigern, Württemberg.

Proprietor Count Karl-Eugen zu Neipperg is a descendant of an Austrian / German noble line dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Members of this dynasty always played important roles in European history and politics, and have been making wine since the 12th century. Today branches of the dynasty make wine in Germany, France, and Bulgaria. (During my tour to Bordeaux we will visit the estate of Karl-Eugen’s brother Stephan, the owner of Château Canon La Gaffelière in Saint-Emilion.) The Counts of Neipperg are said to have brought the Lemberger grape (in Austria: Blaufränkisch) to Germany in the 17th century. The Lemberger red wines in Württemberg can effortlessly achieve the caliber of its international counterparts as a deep-colored, full-bodied wine with powerful tannins. The estate’s focus is on the regions traditional grape varieties including the white specialities Muskateller and Traminer.

Pictures: At Weingut Graf Neipperg in Schwaigern, Württemberg, with Björn Schilling

04:15 pm Tasting at winery Dautel (VDP) in Bönnigheim, Württemberg.

Viticulture has been a tradition in the Dautel family since 1510. In 1995 Ernst Dautel was one of the first winemakers to age his red wines in barrique barrels, and to create red wine cuvées, a novelty in those days in Germany. The 27 acres of vineyards are planted with the traditional Württemberg grape varieties, Lemberger (Blaufränkisch in Austria), and Trollinger as well as with Pinot-Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot- Blanc. Today, son Christian, who is a graduate of the renowned Geisenheim oenological university, follows in his father’s footsteps farming the land organically and sharing his conviction that great wines can only be produced with meticulous work in the vineyard and a patient hands-off approach in the cellar.

Pictures: At Weingut Dautel with Christian Dautel

06:00 pm Arrival and check-in at Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen.

This is a beautiful, upscale hotel which emphazises the essence of German "Gemütlichkeit". The owners, Regine and Burkhard Schork are good friends of ours and our group will be greeted with warm swabian hospitality.

Pictures: At Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen, with owners Regine and Chef Burkhard Schork

07:00 pm Wine pairing dinner at restaurant Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen.

We wenjoyed a Swabian dinner with a modern twist by well-known Chef Burkhard Schork in this beautiful gourmet restaurant. The wines were all from up and coming winemakers in the region. Regine and Chef Burkhard Schork joined us after the dinner.

Pictures: Dinner at Romantikhotel Friedrich von Schiller in Bietigheim-Bissingen, with Owners Regine and Burkhard Schork

DAY 9: Friday, June 19

09:30 am Check-out at hotel and departure.

Pictures: Leaving after a very good Breakfast

10:00 am Visit and tasting at winery Herzog von Württemberg (VDP) at Schloss Monrepos in Ludwigsburg, Württemberg.

The art of winemaking at the House of Württemberg goes back to the 13th century. With 100 acres under vine it is the largest privately owned winery in Württemberg. Their vineyard sites are in the most prestigious parcels in Württemberg and tasting the Herzog von Württemberg portfolio is a high-class journey through the best of the best that the Württemberg wine region has to offer. Owner is H.R.H. Carl Herzog von Württemberg and he makes sure that old tradition and modern knowledge go hand in hand to produce outstanding wines. In 1981 a new, modern winery was constructed in the romantic park of the beautiful Castle Monrepos, the royal family of Württemberg’s lakeside weekend and hunting retreat.

Pictures: At Weingut Herzog von Württemberg with Owner H.R.H. Carl Herzog von Württemberg and Winemaker Moriz Just

12:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Gutsschänke at Schloss Monrepos.

02:00 pm Visit and tasting at winery Rainer Schnaitmann (VDP) in Fellbach, Württemberg.

For over 500 years the Schnaitmann family has been making wine in the Rems and Neckar valleys. The 1997 vintage was the first one that Rainer Schnaitmann produced under his own name. In 2000 the winery was certified as organic winegrowing estate according to the EEC regulation on ecological winemaking. With 60 acres of vineyards, this winery belongs to the larger estates in Württemberg. Schnaitmann definitely helped putting Württemberg back on the map for the serious wine aficionado. To make your palate watering, I quote tasting notes by Rudi Wiest: “In the glass this Lemberger is an elegant deep violet red. The nose is nice and open revealing ripe cherries, blackberries, licorice and vanilla. The fine minerality shows some flinty notes and spices of bay leaf, juniper and fresh ground black pepper round out this Lemberger’s complex flavor spectrum. Juicy on the palate, the fruit sweetness is delicate with a refreshing minerality and balanced acidity and tannin structure.”

Pictures: At Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann with Rainer Schnaitmann

05:45 pm Arrival and check-in at Hotel Royal in Stuttgart.

07:00 pm Theater Stuttgart, Stuttgart Ballet Company.

"A Streetcar named Desire", Ballet in two parts by John Neumeier based on the play by Tennessee Williams. Music by Sergej Prokofjew and Alfred Schnittke. World Premiere at the Stuttgart Ballet on December 3, 1983.

Picture: At Stuttgart Ballet

Hessische Bergstrasse

DAY 10: Saturday, June 20

11:00 am Visit, tasting, and wine pairing lunch at winery Simon-Bürkle in Zwingenberg, Hessische Bergstrasse.

This is a very young winery by German standards. It was founded in 1991 by two friends who shared a common devotion to and philosophy of winemaking. The late Kurt Simon and the late Wilfried Bürkle met during their studies at the Weinsberg Viticultural School, and upon completion of their studies they decided to start a winery. Their obsession with quality brought the winery to the top of what the Bergstrasse has to offer. After the untimely death of Kurt Simon in 2003, his wife Dagmar continued his work together with Wilfried Bürkle. In 2013 Wilfried Bürkle passed away and many asked what will become of this winery without the two founding shakers and movers. Wilfried’s son Johannes studied winemaking and together with Dagmar Simon they continue the legacy. In the just released Gault & Millau 2015: "This year again no other winery at the Hessische Bergstrasse produced wines showing the pronounced characteristics of the different grape varieties and vineyards in this way."

Pictures: At Weingut Simon-Bürkle with Johannes Bürkle and Dagmar Simon

01:00 pm Lunch at restaurant Altes Brauhaus in Zwingenberg.

03:15 pm Arrival at Frankfurt International Airport.

Picture: Frankfurt Airport

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