Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Germany’s Best Wines and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (December 2015)

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

A few weeks ago, New York-base, German wine journalist Stuart Pigott published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung his favorite German wines and favorite German wine makers of the year – in German (Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 29. November 2015, Nr.48). Below please find his list of favorites. I am also adding his comments (in German) and my translations of parts of his comments.

For last years' lists, see:

Best German Wines and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (December 2014)
Best German Wines and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (December 2013)
Best German Wines and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (2012)
Best German Wine and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (2011)

Stuart Pigott

Stuart Pigott was born in the UK and Berlin-based for the past 20 years or so. During this period, he emerged as the leading German wine writer, mostly writing in German, and focusing on German wine. Notably, he now regularly writes for the specialist magazines Feinschmecker and Weingourmet as well as the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He also produced a TV series on German wine.

Picture: Stuart Pigott and Christian G.E. Schiller in Washington DC

A few years ago, Stuart Pigott started to spend a lot of time in New York City, turning his attention to the global world of Riesling. His first major output of the move to New York City is a major book about Riesling in the world, which was published in June 2014: The Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story.

See also:
Late Night German Riesling Tasting with Riesling Gurus Paul Grieco and Stuart Pigott in Washington DC on the 2013 Riesling Road Trip, USA

Stuart Pigott’s Favorites of 2015

Winzer des Jahres – Winemaker of the Year: Hansjörg Rebholz, Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz

The estate of Rebholz family is one of the modern legends of the Pfalz. Since the end of World War II, Weingut Ökonomierat Rebholz, which is now following the biodynamic winemaking approach, is on an upward trend, with a strong innovative push. Its most recent innovative phase was the development of the ultra-premium Grosses Gewächs wines of the grape varieties Riesling, Pinot Blanc (white wines) and Pinot Noir (for red wines), beginning in the end of the 1990s. Today, the Rebholz Grosses Gewächs wines belong to the best the Pfalz and Germany has to offer in this category.

Das Weingut der Familie Rebholz gehört zu den modernen Legenden der Pfalz. Seit Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs strebt das Gut, das seine Weinberge seit jüngstem nach biodynamischen Richtlinien bewirtschaftet, ununterbrochen nach oben und zeigt einen starken Innovationsdrang. Dessen jüngste Phase war die Entwicklung der trockenen „Großen Gewächse“ aus den Traubensorten Riesling, Weißburgunder (für Weißweine) und Spätburgunder (für Rotweine) ab Ende der neunziger Jahre. Inzwischen gehören diese Weine Jahr für Jahr zu den besten dieser Kategorie in der Pfalz und Deutschland.

Es handelt sich dabei aber nicht nur um sehr edle und komplexe Weine, sondern auch extrem eigenständige. Der Duft des 2014er Kastanienbusch Riesling „GG“ (etwa 44 Euro im Handel) ist ein wahrer Strauß von Wildkräutern; zugleich strömen Zitronen- und Maracuja-Noten aus dem Glas. Im Geschmack wirkt die Kraft des Weins trotzdem gezügelt; er zeigt keinen Hauch von Schwere oder lauten Tönen, sondern wirkt sehr vielschichtig und nuanciert bis ins strahlende Finale. Deutlich cremiger schmeckt der 2014er Im Sonnenschein Weißburgunder „GG“ (etwa 37 Euro im Handel). Aber auch er wirkt im Duft sehr fein, erinnert vor allem an frische Nüsse und getrocknete Birnen. Die sanfte Fülle des Weins wird wunderbar von seiner herben Art komplimentiert, und die überraschende Eleganz im Nachgeschmack setzt dem Ganzen dann bei aller Kraft die schwerelose Krone auf. Aber auch die ganz normalen Rebholz-Weine sind 2014 ausgesprochen gut gelungen.

Pictures; Tasting with Hansjörg Rebholz, see: Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Aufsteiger-Winzer des Jahres – Rising Star of the Year: Eva Fricke, Weingut Eva Fricke

In 2006, the Bremen-born Eva Fricke produced her first own Riesling wine in the Rheingau. Most of the vineyards of this start-up winery are located in the north of the Rheingau, in Lorch and Lorchhausen. This is literally on the wrong side of the tracks for the Rheingau as it behind the railway barrier in Rudesheim. The forms for many day-trippers and tourists the practical end of the Rheingau, because they shy away from any waiting periods, to further drive towards Lorch.

2006 erzeugte die gebürtige Bremerin Eva Fricke im Rheingau ihre ersten eigenen Riesling-Weine. Der Schwerpunkt der Weinberge des Start-ups liegt im Norden des Gebiets in Lorch und Lorchhausen. Das ist für den Rheingau ganz wortwörtlich the wrong side of the tracks, liegt es doch hinter der Bahnschranke in Rüdesheim. Die bildet für viele Tagesausflügler und Touristen den praktischen Endpunkt des Gebiets, weil sie eventuelle Wartezeiten scheuen, um weiter in Richtung Lorch zu fahren.

Aus den Steillagen direkt am rechten Rheinufer zaubert Fricke beeindruckende Weine wie den 2014 Lorcher Riesling trocken (14 Euro ab Hof), der im Mund schlank und rank wirkt, aber auch viel Drive und Power besitzt - ein kompromisslos herber Riesling. Ihre Spitzenweine, wie der 2014 Seligmacher Riesling (25 Euro ab Hof), stellen eine wichtige Neuerung für den Rheingau dar. Dieser extrem würzige Wein, der erstaunlich viel Kraft und Fülle für 12 Prozent Alkoholgehalt besitzt, bietet ein großartiges Spiel von Frucht und Säure, gefolgt von einem würzigen Nachgeschmack.

Seit kurzem hat das Gut einen neuen Sitz in Eltville und kann besucht werden: 11.12. & 12.12., 18.12. & 19.12., jeweils 14 bis 18 Uhr.

Picture: With Eva Fricke at Weingut Leitz, a few Years ago, see: Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

Picture: With Eva Fricke in New York, see: A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2015, USA and: The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

Winzer-Entdeckung des Jahres – Discovery of the Year: Andrzej Greszta, Weingut Andrzej Greszta (Mosel)

For many years, Andrzej Greszta was a grape picker at the Mosel. About 10 years ago, he took the plunge and became winemaker. He is certainly the first Polish vintner on the Mosel, perhaps the first in the whole of Germany, but that is not why he receives this award. It is a small miracle, how a self-taught winemaker, in such a traditional area as the Mosel and within a few years only, is not only able to cope with the particular viticultural situation (steep slopes, slate floors and quite a lot of rainfall), but also develops its own wine style, which comes across as the style of a native Mosel winemaker.

Viele Jahre lang war Andrzej Greszta Lesehelfer an der Mosel. Dann wagte er vor etwa zehn Jahren den Sprung ins kalte Wasser und wurde selbst Winzer. Er ist sicherlich der erste polnische Winzer an der Mosel, vielleicht auch der erste in ganz Deutschland, aber dafür erhält er nicht diese Auszeichnung. Es ist ein kleines Wunder, wie ein Autodidakt in einem solchen traditionsreichen Gebiet wie der Mosel innerhalb weniger Jahre nicht nur die besondere weinbauliche Situation (Steillagen, Schieferböden und recht viel Niederschlag) meistert, sondern auch eine eigene Weinstilistik entwickelt, die wie die eines Einheimischen wirkt.

Sein 2013er Kröver Steffensberg Riesling Spätlese trocken (10 Euro ab Hof) bringt schwungvolle Frische und zarte Pfirsichnoten ins Glas. Der 2012er Kröver Paradies Riesling Spätlese feinherb (8 Euro ab Hof) schmeckt inzwischen dank eleganter Säure, schöner Saftigkeit und zarter Flaschenreife nahezu trocken.

Hier kann man blind einkaufen, so stimmig sind alle Weine im Sortiment von Andrzej Greszta.

Rotwein des Jahres – Red Wine of the Year: 2013 Pfarrwingert Spätburgunder Grosses Gewächs, Weingut Meyer-Näkel, Ahr

2013er Pfarrwingert Spätburgunder „Großes Gewächs“, Weingut Meyer- Näkel, 48 Euro ab Hof, limitiert
It is little known that Germany has the world's third largest vineyard are with Spätburgunder/ Pinot Noir. There are now quite a number of producers in Germany that produce Pinot Noir red wine at the highest quality level. As a result, there were a lot of contenders for the award. Weingut Bernhard Huber in Malterdingen/ Baden deserves a special mention for the sensational 2013er Schlossberg Pinot Noir "GG" - a bold wine that still needs a lot of time to reach his best form.

Es ist wenig bekannt, dass Deutschland über die weltweit drittgrößte Rebfläche mit Spätburgunder/Pinot Noir verfügt. Inzwischen gibt es eine ganze Reihe von Erzeugern in Deutschland, die Spätburgunder-Rotwein herstellen und dieser Traube das Äußerste an Qualität entlocken. Daher war diese Auszeichnung sehr hart umkämpft, und das Weingut Bernhard Huber in Malterdingen/Baden verdient eine besondere Erwähnung für den sensationellen 2013er Schlossberg Spätburgunder „GG“ - ein gewagter Wein, der noch viel Zeit braucht, um seine beste Form zu erreichen.

Der 2013er Pfarrwingert „GG“ vom Weingut Meyer-Näkel wirkt hingegen schon nahezu perfekt mit seinem Duft nach schwarzen Kirschen, fast wie ein feines Parfum. Trotz der großzügigen Gerbstoffe schmeckt der Wein sehr seidig und sinnlich, genau wie man sich einen hochwertigen Spätburgunder/Pinot Noir vorstellt. Der Wein gleitet ganz sanft über die Zunge, das großartig subtile Finale will nicht aufhören.

So gut der Wein jetzt schmeckt, besitzt er aber doch eine große Lagerfähigkeit - falls man die überhaupt überprüfen möchte. Meike und Dörte Näkel haben ein deutsches Rotwein-Meisterwerk geschaffen.

Pictures: With Dörte Näkel at Weingut Meyer-Näkel, see: Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany

Weisswein des Jahres – White Wine of the Year: 2014er „Unter der Mauer“, Weingut Luckert (Zehnthof), 30 Euro ab Hof, limitiert

In 2014, overall, the dry white wines were significantly better than in 2013, because the grapes were riper and the acid refreshing and not dominating. However, the wet autumn in 2014 gave winemakers extra work (the laborious sorting out of rotten grapes), which made the production of truly great dry white wines more difficult.

The "„Unter der Mauer“ of Ulrich and Wolfgang Luckert is one of the most significant exceptions and, on tiop of it, is a unique wine for Franken and Germany. He does not fit into the category of "Grosses Gewächs”, the ultra-premium dry wines from prime locations of the members of the VDP, the association of German elite winemakers, because it is a blend of Riesling and Sylvaner and "GGs" are defined as pure varietal wines. But in terms of quality, he can effortlessly keep up with the very best "GGs".

2014 gab es insgesamt deutlich bessere trockene Weißweine als im Vorjahrgang, weil die Trauben tendenziell reifer waren und die Säure animierend statt dominant wirkt. Allerdings hat der feuchte Herbst 2014 den Winzern sehr viel zusätzliche Arbeit beschert (die mühsame Aussortierung der faulen Trauben) und die Erzeugung wirklich großartiger trockener Weißweine sehr erschwert.

Der „Unter der Mauer“ von Ulrich und Wolfgang Luckert zählt zu den bedeutendsten Ausnahmen und ist dazu ein einmaliger Wein für Franken und Deutschland. Er passt nicht in die Kategorie „Großes Gewächs“, die hochwertigen trockenen Weinen aus Spitzenlagen der Mitglieder des Verbands deutscher Prädikatsweine vorbehalten ist, weil er eine Cuvée aus Silvaner und Riesling ist und „GGs“ als rebsortenreine Weine definiert sind. Aber in puncto Qualität kann er mühelos mit den allerbesten „GG“s der letzten Jahrgänge mithalten.

Oft werden Weine als „mineralisch“ angepriesen, und man fragt sich, was das eigentlich bedeuten soll. Dieses Gewächs zeigt eine ausgeprägte salzig-mineralische Note, die sehr deutlich spürbar ist. Dazu ist er trotz aller Kraft ungemein vielschichtig und subtil.

Picture: Wolfgang and Ulrich Lickert, Weingut Luckert, Franken, see: Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2016 Awards: The Awards Ceremony in Mainz, Germany

Beste Preis-Leistung des Jahres – Best Price Quality Ratio of the Year: 2014 Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett feinherb, Weingut Witwe Dr. H. Tharnisch (Tharnisch Erben) 10,50 Euro ab Hof

When I saw the price list of this estate, which can look back on a 375-year tradition and which has been led for four generations by women, I first thought of a misprint. But the head of the estate, Sofia Thanisch, confirmed to me, no, the prices are correct. Just right for this award!

The wine is a prototype of a light Mosel Riesling, very traditional in the feinherb style.

Als ich den Preis dieses Weins in der Preisliste des Hauses las, das auf eine 375-jährige Tradition zurückblickt und dessen Geschicke seit vier Generationen von Frauen bestimmt werden, dachte ich zunächst an einen Druckfehler. Doch die Chefin des Weinguts, Sofia Thanisch, bestätigte mir, nein, es habe damit alles seine Richtigkeit. Genau richtig für diese Auszeichnung!

Es handelt sich um einen prototypisch heiteren leichten Mosel-Riesling, ganz in der traditionell herben Art des Gebiets. Der Duft nach weißem Pfirsich, reifer Birne und vielerlei frischen Kräutern ist enorm animierend, der Geschmack filigran und delikat. Dank der zitronigen Säurefrische ist die kleine natürliche Süße des Weins kaum direkt spürbar; die gelungene Harmonie aller Geschmackskomponenten zieht die Hand immer wieder unwiderstehlich zum Glas.

Picture: Christian Schiller at the DoctorKeller of Weingut Witwe Dr. Thanisch (Thanisch Erben), see also: The Wines of the Berncasteler Doctor, Bernkastel-Kues in the Mosel Valley, Germany

Schaumwein des Jahres – Sparkling Wine of the Year: 2011 Riesling Sekt Extra Brut, Weingut Immich-Betterieberg 25 Euro ab Hof, limitiert

Riesling Sekt is often a welcome refreshment, but rarely reaches the heights as Sekt the Burgundy varieties (Spät-, Weiß- und Grauburgunder), the best Italian Spumante, Spanish Cava or even Champagne. Since Gernot Kollmann has taken over Weingut Immich- Batterieberg in 2009, the reputation of the estate is premium dry Riesling wines has been rising, but hardly a sommelier or wine connoisseur thinks of Sekt when you mention the Weingut Immich- Batterieberg. Therefore, this Sekt is a surprise, even for the experts.

Riesling-Sekt ist oft eine erfreuliche Erfrischung, erreicht aber nur in seltenen Fällen ähnliche Höhen wie deutsche Schaumweine aus den Burgundersorten (Spät-, Weiß- und Grauburgunder), die besten italienischen Spumante, spanische Cava oder gar Champagner. Seit Gernot Kollmann im Jahr 2009 die Führung des Weinguts Immich- Batterieberg übernommen hat, steigt der Ruf des Guts für hochwertige trockene Riesling-Weine, aber kaum ein Sommelier oder Weinkenner denkt bei der Erwähnung von Immich-Batterieberg an Sekt. Damit ist dieser Sekt eine überraschende Neuigkeit, auch für die Fachwelt.

Mit reichhaltigen Aromen nach gedörrten Äpfeln und Birnen sowie vielschichtiger Würze ist bereits der Duft erstaunlich für einen Riesling-Sekt. Im Geschmack folgt dem zuerst ein geradezu betörender Eindruck von Schmelz und Cremigkeit, dann wendet sich das Ganze in Richtung lebendige Frische und endet schließlich im würzigen Finale ganz trocken.

Es handelt sich um ein exzellentes schäumendes Pendant zu den beeindruckenden Stillweinen des Hauses und bereichert die Welt des deutschen Sekts um eine bedeutende neue Facette.

Picture: Annette Schiller and Christian Schiller with Gernot Kollmann, Weingut Immich-Batterieberg, Mosel, in New York City, see also:  A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2015, USA     and: The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

schiller-wine - Related Postings

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Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Late Night German Riesling Tasting with Riesling Gurus Paul Grieco and Stuart Pigott in Washington DC on the 2013 Riesling Road Trip, USA

Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

A German Riesling Feast in New York City: Rieslingfeier 2015, USA

The 11 Winemakers: Rieslingfeier 2015 in New York City, USA

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

Germany’s Best Winemakers and Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2016 Awards: The Awards Ceremony in Mainz, Germany





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Picture: Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

The Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) covered 3 German wine areas (Baden, Pfalz and Rheinhessen) and Alsace. While our first stop in the Baden area was in the northern part of Baden, near the town of Baden-Baden (Weingut Schloss Neuweier), the other 4 producers we visited in Baden (Salwey, Franz Keller, Dr. Heger and Bernhard Breuer) were in the southern part of Baden, near the town of Freiburg. Colmar in France is at the same latitude and in fact, you could see the vineyards of Alsace.

I already provided an overview about the tour here: Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

This posting focuses on our visit of Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl.

Markus Mleinek was our host.

Pictures: Arriving at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

Weingut Dr. Heger is a young winery by German standards. It was founded in 1935 by Dr. Max Heger, a country doctor. Today the winery is in the hands of the third generation.

Joachim Heger and his wife Silvia are in charge of 21 hectares planted primarily with Pinot Noir and the white Burgundy grapes. The winery lies in the Kaiserstuhl, a small volcanic group of hills in the Upper Rhine Valley in southwest Germany. The town of Ihringen enjoys the highest average temperature in Germany. While some fine Riesling and Silvaner gets made here, it is really Pinot country. The wines are rich, very well-structured, compact, but nevertheless elegant and subtle.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Joachim Heger

Weingut Dr. Heger

The visit of Weingut Dr. Heger comprised a cellar tour and a tasting of the outstanding Weingut Dr. Heger wines, led by Markus Mleinek

The Dr. Heger estate lies in the Kaiserstuhl (literally: emperor’s chair), a small volcanic group of hills in the Upper Rhine Valley in southwest Germany, northwest of Freiburg. Joachim Heger’s hometown of Ihringen enjoys the highest average temperature in Germany. So, while some fine Riesling and Silvaner gets made here, it is really Pinot country.

The Dr. Heger estate is a member of the Association of German Predicate Wine Estates (Verband deutscher Prädikatsweingüter or VDP). Joachim Heger of Weingut Dr. Heger is the winemaker of the year - Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2013.

Pictures: At Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

History

Weingut Dr. Heger was established in 1935 by the grandfather of Joachim Heger, the rural doctor, Dr. Max Heger. His passion for wine and everything to do with wine was kindled by his patients, who were primarily wine growers, as well as his knowledge that the best conditions for wine growing were on the Kaiserstuhl in the south-western tip of Germany. Because of this, he bought prime areas of the well known sites Ihringer Winklerberg and Achkarrer Schlossberg.

From 1949 to the end of the 1980s, Dr. Heger‘s son Wolfgang Heger ran the estate. Joachim Heger took over responsibility for winemaking in 1981, and, together with his wife Silvia, for the winery in 1992.

Vineyards

The main vineyards are: Freiburger Schlossberg (lively, nervy penetrating wines), Achkarrer Schlossberg (more forward, showy with lots of body and soil character), and Ihringer Winklerberg (finer, more elegant requiring more time).

The 21 hectares of vineyards are predominantly planted with Pinots Gris, Blanc and Noir, along with some Riesling and Silvaner, as well as the aromatic varieties Muscat, Scheurebe and Gewürztraminer, which all thrive wonderfully here. In a move toward organic winemaking, Weingut Dr. Heger has retained Claude Bourguignon, the famed French agronomist, as a consultant.

Cellar

In the cellar, Joachim Heger maintains the old tradition of using big wooden barrels to vinify the wines of the Pinot family, whilst using stainless steel for Riesling. 95% of wines are fermented dry.

Pictures: Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

Grape Varieties

Riesling (20%) - Joachim Heger: Our single vineyard sites Ihringer Winklerberg and Achkarrer Schlossberg provide optimum conditions for the king of white wines. The weathered volcanic bedrock gives Riesling the mineral compounds it needs to be able to produce its fruity and richly aromatic bouquet and on the palate this Riesling shows typical varietal flavors. In this southerly wine producing region of Baden acidity is generally less pronounced than in the more northerly Riesling regions and this makes the wines fuller in body and more opulent.

Grauburgunder (10%) – Jochaim Heger: The Pinot Gris wines from Ihringer Winklerberg and Achkarrer Schlossberg are characterised by a certain minerality, which gives elegance and finesse, despite the wines’ full body. Thanks to the richness of extract, typical of this grape variety, it is also possible to ferment and mature the wines in barriques as well as large oak casks.

Weissburgunder (10%) – Joachim Heger: The Pinot Blanc’s rich array of fine, fruity aromas come wonderfully to the fore when grown on the soils of the Winklerberg and Achkarrer Schlossberg. The bouquet suggests mirabelle plums and green apples and on the palate these continue, together with nuances of yellow pear. If the grapes are harvested at Spätlese oechsle levels, then they are also suitable for fermenting and maturing in barriques or large oak casks.

Pictures: Annette Schiller Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger in Ihringen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden

Silvaner (15%) – Joachim Heger: Ihringen is famous for its long tradition of producing Silvaner and, as a single location, it still has the largest vineyard area planted to Silvaner in Germany. In 1900 the proportion of this ancient variety here was around 70%. The elegantly fruity notes, delicate aromas of pear and gentle acidity are a perfect representation of the terroir of the Ihringen volcanic soils.

Spätburgunder (20%) – Joachim Heger: The pale-fleshed variety Pinot Noir ripens to optimum maturity in the very warm sites of Ihringer Winklerberg and Achkarrer Schlossberg, thereby giving this typical ruby red color. The color must be obtained from the grape skins and this occurs during the classic fermentation on the skins, a method which not only takes a lot of time, but which is also a lot of work. The red wines are rich with concentrated extract, intensified by maturation in barriques. These wines are also characterized by their long ageing potential.

Weinhaus Heger and Weingut Fischer

In 1986, Joachim Heger started Weinhaus Heger. The vines are in the Thuniberg area and are under long-term lease contracts to Joachim Heger and are maintained by Weinhaus Heger. The wines are vinified in the cellar of Weingut Dr. Heger. The wines always offer great value.

In addition to the original Dr. Heger wine estate and Weinhaus Heger, Joachim and Silvia Heger’s sphere of influence also includes Weingut Fischer in Nimburg-Bottingen since 1997. Here, Joachim Heger produces fine wines with typical Baden opulence.

The Wines we Tasted


2014 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Silvaner VDP:Erste Lage

2014 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Weissburgunder VDP.Erste Lage – fermented and aged in large barrel, 0.1 gr RS.


2014 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Grauburgunder VDP.Erste Lage

2013 Ihringer Winklerberg Hinter Winkeln Weingut Dr. Heger Grauburgunder GG “Gras im Ofen” VDP.Grosse Lage - – Gras im Ofen is a Gewann, a new concept being introduced in Germany right now, Gewann is like a lieu-dit in Bourgogne, i.e. a small geographical area bearing a traditional name.


2014 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Chradonnay VDP.Erste Lage

2012 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Mimus Spätburgunder VDP.Erste Lage - 15 months in new barrique, Wolfgang Heger, Joachim Heger’s father, was called Mimus as a child, when Jochim Heger took over the estate, he dedicated this wine to his father, so that his memory lives on. The 2011 Mimus was a very dense wine, with aromas of red fruit and spices. Its finish was long and very pleasant with some peppermint notes.


2012 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Novis Rotwein Cuvee

2014 Ihringer Winklerberg Weingut Dr. Heger Muskateller VDP.Erste Lage


New US Importer: Schatzi Wines

In the US, Weingut Dr. Heger is available through Schatzi-Wines, a new wine importer, led by the former Terry Theise/Michael Skurnik National Sales Director Kevin Pike and German star winemaker Johannes Leitz.

The German wine market in the US was shaken a bit when Kevin Pike, who had been managing the Terry Theise selection at Skurnik Wines for more than 10 years, left Skurnik to create his own import company, Schatzi Wines. With him left Johannes Leitz, who had one of the largest, if not the larget account in the Terry Theise German wine portfolio.

Picture: Christian Schiller and Kevin Pike in Mainz, Germany

Kevin Pike: After 13 years of running a large national wine sales division, I was inspired to work with a more direct and focused import model. In partnership with my closest friend, Johannes Leitz, I started Schatzi Wines in 2014—a company that reflects our collective business ideals. Schatzi is dedicated to working alongside growers to bring great wines to the market.

Postings on the Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015) (Posted and Forthcoming)

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

Fall Tours by ombiasy WineTours 2015 - A Very Special Treat: Experience Harvest Time !

Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tour, Tasting (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)

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)

Cellar Tour and Tasting at Weingut Salwey in Oberrotweil, Kaiserstuhl, Baden, with Benno Salwey – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

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

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Franz Keller in Oberbergen, Baden – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Wine Paring Lunch at Restaurant Schwarzer Adler (1 Star Michelin) in Oberbergen, Kaiserstuhl, Baden – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tasting at Weingut Bernhard Huber in Baden, with Yquem Viehauser and Julian Huber – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)

Tour and Tasting at Weingut Dr. Heger (VDP) in Baden.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Dinner at Seven Swans (Chef: Jan Hoffmann, 1 Star Michelin) in Frankfurt, Germany

 Picture: Chef Jan Hoffmann, Seven Swans, Serving

The relatively new Restaurant Seven Swans in Frankfurt, Germany, is a very special place in many regards.

It is small, with 20 seats or so only, located on the five floors of a small house, the architecture itself is a highlight - a building created in the space between 2 others, each floor only 40 m2.

Pictures: Seven Swans

Cooking is at the highest level. Seven Swans just was awarded a Michelin star, under Chef Jan Hoffmann. Additionally, the food is prepared with an ecological mindset – natural, regional and organic.

Seven Swans was opened by Chef Kimberley Unser 4 years or so ago. In 2013, she was the Gault Millau Deutschland Discovery of the Year. A year later, because of the wish to take time out for her child, she handed over to her Deputy Jan Hoffmann. He was awarded a star in 2015 by the Michelin Guide. Interestingly, in the Gault and Millau, Seven Swans is still at 15 toques only. SchauMahl, one of my favorite restaurants in the Frankfurt area, is in the 16 toques group, without, however, a Michelin star.

When you enter the restaurant, you are immediately in the middle of the Tiny Cup, a tiny (17 m2 only), intimate bar, which at this year’s “Mixologie Bar Awards” was named “New Bar of the Year”.

 Picture: Seven Swans Entrance

The two dining rooms are in the third and fourth floor. If you take the small elevator (2 people maximum) you arrive in the middle of the kitchen in the fifth floor. From there, you walk down the small stairs to the fourth floor (with 4 tables with 12 seats) or one floor further to the third floor. We were eight and our table was basically taking up the whole room of the third floor, although there was another table with 2 seats. The fourth floor is kept in dark brown colors, while the third floor is all in white.

Pictures: Third Floor

Pictures: Fourth Floor

The food is a set five-course meal (89 Euros) that changes each month. The food is exquisite. The December menu was creative and delicious.

The team in the kitchen is guided by “regional, biologisch, natürlich" – from the region, with an ecological mindset, natural. The vegetables come from their own little vegetable garden in the Taunus. The meat and the fish is provided by producers with the same philosophy.

In terms of wine, each course comes with a glass of wine. Alternatively, you can choose from the small wine list, which we did.

I understand that in the future, you will have choice of orderiing less than 5 courses.

Pictures: Best Seats - at the Window

Chef Jan Hoffmann with his team of 2 creates the delicious food in what is little more than a closet in the fifth floor. He also comes to the dining room for serving the main courses.

The service was attentive, friendly and knowledgeable. Each course was well explained.

Seven Swans also has a Cigar Bar down in the cellar where one can finish off the evening with a fine cigar and a Cognac.

 Picture: The Seven Swans Team

The December 2015 Menu

Seven Swans: Ein Blick in den Himmel verrät: es ist Winterzeit! Jupiter & Mars scheinen hell in den längsten Nächten des Jahres und bereiten uns und unsere Gäste auf einen feierlichen Jahresausklang vor. Den liebevollen Liebstöckel kombiniert Jan Hoffmann mit einem Meer aus Rettich und einer würzigen Wurzelessenz. Die Milchstraße inspiriert uns im dritten Akt, es duftet nach saftiger Birne und deftiger Schwarzwurzel. Im Hauptgang dagegen raspeln wir ausschließlich Süßholz – schmeckt allerdings ganz gut in Begleitung der zarten Gänsebrust. Dass dieses Jahr ganz besonders für das schmalste Haus in Frankfurt zu Ende geht, erkennt man vermutlich auch ohne Teleskop. Ein kleiner Dank darf daher nicht fehlen.

Greetings from the Chef


Greetings from the Chef


Wurzelessenz mit Meerrettich
Ölweide & Liebstöckel


Makrele mit Brie
Grüne Tomate & Seefenchel


Schwarzwurzel mit Feldsalat
Birne & Abendmilch


Gänsebrust mit Bratapfel
Rosenkohl & Süßholz


Schokolade mit Orange
Rumtopf & Tonkabohne


Cool Cities

Cool Cities: With the swans living just across the way on a small, environmentally protected island in the Main River, you can easily watch them from your table as you eagerly anticipate Kimberly Unser's appetizers. The young chef was lauded by Gault Millau as the "Discovery of the Year" in 2012 and she demonstrates just how accurate this praise is on three of the seven floors of the smallest building in Frankfurt. The atmosphere is unique, the gourmet cuisine delightful. Simply a jewel.

Citymoments by hotel.de

Citymoments: The door of one of the narrowest houses in the city, „Seven Swans“ opens after a gentle pressure on the bell. It is not only the kitchen staff or the very refined way in which the food is cooked with regional products, it is also the location. Here you have the opportunity to sit on one of the most incredible terraces of the city and look at the starry sky of an idyllic, beautiful summer‘s night. Before you is a bubbly glass of champagne, behind you, separated by a glass door, the kitchen staff prepare your meal. And nowhere is dinner more special then here, overlooking the city skyline, and because you and your three guests have the terrace exclusively to yourselves! The seats in the main restaurant are no less spectacular, but these four chairs are amongst the most sought after in the city. Enjoy it.

Pictures: On the Way out through the Tiny Cup Bar

Michelin

Michelin: Sie suchen das Besondere? Dies ist das schmalste (aber immerhin sieben Etagen hohe) Gebäude der Stadt! Private Esszimmer-Atmosphäre, schickes Design, Blick zum Main. Und die Küche? Spannend, aromaintensiv, mit eigener Note - als Monatsmenü.

Most of the photos are my own and were taken during a dinner in December 2015. Some are from facebook.

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