After a long absence, the German Wine Society (GWS - Washington DC Chapter) returned to Old Europe Restaurant in Georgetown.
Annette Schiller, President of ombiasy WineTours and long-standing member of the GWS, conducted a tasting entitled: “The New Germany – Red, Dry, Sparkling.”
Annette presented 3 red wines, 1 Sekt (sparkling wine) and 6 dry and 1 “halbtrocken” white wines from 10 out of the 13 wine regions in Germany. The tasting also included 2 Grosse Lage/ Grand Cru GG wines.
Germany is increasingly becoming known as a serious red wine producer; Germany is the #3 producer world-wide of Pinot-Noir (= Spätburguder).
Germans have always been obsessed with sparkling wines: 1 out of 4 sparklers produced in the world is consumed in Germany; and Germany is home to the second largest sparkling wine producer world-wide.
Germany is known for its Rieslings. Yes, it is the #1 Riesling producer world-wide, but it is also the #1 Pinot-Blanc (Weissburgunder) and #2 Pinot-Gris (Grauburgunder) producer. And, today, most of the white wines produced in Germany are dry.
All presented winemakers, Annette knows personally. She has visited all of them on one of the wine tours to Germany (Germany-East, Germany-South and Germany-Nord). Annette shared memories from these visits.
In terms of food, Cindy O. Herold, Chef and Owner of Old Europe Restaurant, spoiled us with a sumptuous Wine Tasting Buffet, composed of a variety of typical German dishes:
* German bread basket presented with “Kräuterbutter”-garlic herb butter and “Schmalz”,
* assorted cheese platter with house made “Obazda”-Bavarian style beer cheese,
* fresh fruits and crackers,
* “Bunte Schnittchen”-assorted cold cut canapes presented with deviled eggs,
* “Fleischpflanzl”-Bavarian style bite size meatballs garnished with cornichons,
* “Kartoffelpuffer”-potato pancakes served with apple sauce and sour cream,
* Germany’s most loved sausages: Bratwurst, Bauernwurst, Weißwurst, Knockwurst and Debreziner Wurst presented with sauerkraut, apple red cabbage, mustard trio and Berlin style curry ketchup,
* petite chicken Schnitzel “Wiener Art”-Vienna style served with warm German potato salad,
* “Apfelstrudel mit Vanillesoße”-apple strudel served with vanilla sauce. There will be coffee serviced with the dessert course.
Old Europe is located in Georgetown at 2434 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC.
2014 Riesling trocken, Weingut Schauss, Nahe
30 or 40 years ago, German red wine accounted for only about 15 percent of German wine output. Today, we are well over 35 percent. And not only the vineyard area planted with red grapes has expanded dramatically, but also the quality has improved considerably. Today, German red wine can compete with any red wine in the world, I believe. As a result, German red wines are increasingly appearing in the international wine market. Of course, given its location, they tend to be not like the fruity red wines we know from warmer countries, but lean and more elegant, with a lot of finesse.
2014 Spätburgunder, Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss, Ahr
The Ahr valley north of the 50 °latitude is unquestionable the northernmost region for producing top Pinot-Noirs. The secret lies in an ideal micro-climate found in the narrow canyons along the river with their very special geological conditions, and south-facing slopes. Wine making along the tiny Ahr river goes back to Roman times. There is no other wine region in the world with such a high concentration of Spätburgunder/ Pinot Noir (86%).
See also: Visit and Tasting at Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss in Mayschoss, Ahr – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016
2012 Spätburgunder, Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, Schloss Proschwitz, Grosse Lage, GG, Sachsen
Annette Schiller: 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.
What it is not so well-known for is its wine. Bordering Poland and the Czech Republic, Sachsen is one of Germany’s small wine regions (360 hectares) and disappeared from the wine map during the communist period.
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. After the iron curtain came down, family wineries were founded, and the winemakers pursued quality with a vengeance.
The three main grape varieties are Müller-Thurgau, Riesling and Weissburgunder but many others are grown in smaller quantities, including Grauer Burgunder, Spätburgunder, Roter Traminer, Kerner, Dornfelder, Goldriesling, Scheurebe and a rarity, Dunkelfelder. The wines are mostly dry (trocken). Most of the wine produced in Sachsen is consumed in the region.
See: Dining with Prinz zur Lippe, Owner of Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, at the Lippe’sches Gutshaus - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
2012 Lemberger, Weingut Schnaitmann, Gutswein, Württemberg
More wine is consumed in Württemberg (per capita) than anywhere else in Germany - actually twice as much as in the rest of Germany. The German poet Friedrich von Schiller wrote already several centuries ago: “A Württemberger without wine--is that a real Württemberger?” Yet, the wines of Württemberg are very difficult to find outside of Germany. This is changing slowly, as the world is discovering the outstanding German red wines.
See: Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
Not well known, Germany is one of the largest sparkling wine markets in the world. One of four bottles of sparkling wine produced in the world is consumed in Germany. Sparkling wine produced in Germany is called Sekt. Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method.
Sekt is made in all German wine regions, both in the méthode traditionnelle and charmat method. There are three groups of Sekt makers: (i) large and (ii) smaller Sekt houses, who only make Sekt and (iii) winemakers, who make predominantly wine, but complement their wine selection by a few Sekts. The Sekts produced by large Sekt estates tend to be in the demy-sweet and sweet range, while the Sekts of smaller estates and the wine makers are mostly in the brut and extra brut range. In addition to Sekt, Germany produces semi-sparkling wine, which is called Perlwein. But the production of Perlwein is small.
2012 Riesling Sekt, Extra Brut, Sekt- und Weingut F.B.Schönleber, Rheingau
See: Cellar Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Wein- und Sektgut F.B. Schönleber in Östrich-Winkel, Rheingau, with Ralph and Bernd Schönleber - Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
WHITE and DRY
When you travel outside of Germany and check the wine lists of restaurants and retail stores in terms of German wines, you easily get the impression that Germans are hooked on sweet wine. It is the fruity-sweet Riesling style that is so popular in the world and that many equate with German wine and the German’s preference for wine. But this is faulty. Germany drinks dry. Like the rest of the world.
I estimate that 95% of the wine consumed in Germany is dry and sweet-style wines are niche wines in Germany. This is pretty much in line with the consumption patterns in the rest of the world. But the delicious low alcohol, fruity-sweet Rieslings that German winemakers are able to produce, are unique in the world and popular everywhere.
2014 Riesling, Weingut Robert Schätzle Schloss Neuweier, Gutswein, trocken, Baden
Weingut Schloss Neuweier, although not well known in the US, is a very special, premium wine producer in Baden, with a long history. The export share of Weingut Schloss Neuweier is negligible, which is typical for the Baden region. But this may change for Weingut Schloss Neuweier in the future and was not like this in the past. Its Mauerwein (Wall wine – from a terraced vineyard on the hill behind the castle) was one of Queen Victoria’s favorites. It had won an award at the International Exhibition of Philadelphia in 1876 and was on the airship Graf Zeppelin’s maiden flight.
See: Tour, Tasting (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)
2013 Riesling, Alte Reben, trocken, Weingut Von Oetinger, Gutswein, trocken, Rheingau
Achim von Oetinger is an old buddy of Annette and me. Based in Erbach in the Rheingau, which is 45 minutes away from Frankfurt by car, we see him regularly at events when we are in Germany. I have asked him several times: When will your wines be available in the USA. His answer was always the same: I am too small. I do not have enough wine for getting involved in exports to the USA. Against this background, I was thrilled when Arrowine, a leading wine store in the Washington DC area, started to bring Achim von Oetinger's wines to the US.
Achim von Oetinger is one of the new stars of the Rheingau. It is not without reason that he was Stuart Pigott’s Discovery of the Year 2015. See: Best German Wines and Winemakers – Stuart Pigott’s Favorites (December 2014)
See: Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Oetinger, Rheingau, with Achim von Oetinger – Germany-North 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
2013 Riesling, Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten, Weingut Von Winning, Erste Lage, trocken, Pfalz
Terry Theise: The fact that this estate is crafting some of the very best dry wines in Germany is no fluke, rather a result of nearly obsessive winemaker Stefan Attman’s commitment to both dedicated cultivation of Deidesheim and Forst’s best sites and meticulous work in the cellar. Under the same ownership and winemaking team, the Dr. Deinhard label is designated for fruity styles vinified in stainless steel while the Von Winning label is reserved for the Grosses Gewächs sites vinified dry and in wood.
Von Winning maintains some of the oldest parcels in Grosses Gewächs vineyards smattered across Forst, Deidesheim, and Ruppertsberg. Attman’s every decision is informed by great enthusiasm and experiences at estates in the Cote d’Or and abroad. For example, Attman’s newer vines are planted at a very high vine density- 9500 vines per hectare, as opposed to the more typical less than 5000. This creates competition amongst the vines, forcing the roots to grow deep, naturally reducing yields. Attman has adopted the single cane trellising system, prevalent in Burgundy, and Grosses Gewächs wines ferment in 500mL French barrels. Von Winning practices organic and sustainable viticulture.
See: Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Winning in Deidesheim, Pfalz – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
2013 Weissburgunder, Karsdorfer Hohe Gräte, Weingut Lützkendorf, Grosse Lage, GG. Saale-Unstrut
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.
Weingut Lützkendorf was founded at the dawn of the 19th century and existed until 1959 when the GDR authorities nationalized the property and 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, revamped the vineyards, and built new production facilities in Bad Kösen.
To listen to Uwe Lützkendorf , and also to his fellow winemakers in this former GDR area, recounting their stories of reviving an economic and agriculture waste land after German reunification, is living history and worthy of a spy thriller.
See: Tasting at Weingut Uwe Lützkendorf, with Uwe Lützkendorf, in Bad Kösen, Saale-Unstrut – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
2011 Scheurebe, Randersacker Sonnenstuhl, Weingut Schmitt's Kinder, Spätlese trocken, Franken
Franken, located in the northern part of Bavaria, is boasting a long tradition and some fine terroirs (mostly shell limestone and Keuper, a kind of marl). Its two leading grape varieties are Riesling and Silvaner. Typically, Franken wine comes in the distinctive, dumpily-rounded Franken “Bocksbeutel” wine bottle. The bottle’s unusual shape dates back to at least the 16th century. The Bocksbeutel may only be used for Franken wines. In Germany, it is a sign of excellence, while in the US, many consumers link this kind of bottle shape to lower quality wine.
See: Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History
2012 Riesling, Enkircher Steffensberg, Weingut Immich-Batterieberg, Mosel
The Big Glue: Immich-Batterieberg is one of the oldest wineries in the Mosel traced back to the year 911. In 1495, the Immich family purchased the property, producing traditional dry and off-dry wines under their name for almost 500 years. After filing for bankruptcy in 2007, the estate was reacquired in 2009 by Gernot Kollmann and two Hamburg based investors. Since taking over, the wines are once again produced in a dry or off-dry style, with sugar levels depending on each site, each vintage. All of the Cru wines are once again being vinified separately in old oak barrels; spontaneous fermentations are the norm and chaptalization, re/de-acidification or any other intervention during vinification is forbidden. Sulfur is added in low doses and only before bottling. 80% of the vines are un-grafted and over 60 years old, and everything is worked organically (though not certified).
See: Post-Rieslingfeier and Pre-Big Glou Dinner with 3 Top Winemakers from Germany at BToo in Washington DC: Clemens Busch, Immich-Batterieberg and Koehler-Ruprecht, USA
schiller-wine - Related Postings
Heads up for the 2017 Tours - to Germany and France - by ombiasy WineTours
Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Wine, Art, Culture and History
Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: Quintessential German Riesling and the Northernmost Pinot Noir
Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Burgundy (and Champagne) 2016 by ombiasy WineTours: From Lyon to Reims - Wine, Food, Culture and History
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Visit and Tasting at Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss in Mayschoss, Ahr – Germany-North Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016
Dining with Prinz zur Lippe, Owner of Weingut Schloss Proschwitz, at the Lippe’sches Gutshaus - Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015)
Vineyard Tour, Cellar Tour and Tasting with Rainer Schnaitmann at Weingut Rainer Schnaitmann in Fellbach, Württemberg – Germany-East Wine and Art Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
Cellar Tour, Tasting and Dinner at Wein- und Sektgut F.B. Schönleber in Östrich-Winkel, Rheingau, with Ralph and Bernd Schönleber - Germany-North Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Tour, Tasting (and Lunch) with Robert Schätzle, Owner and Winemaker, Weingut Schloss Neuweier in Baden – Germany-South Wine Tour by ombiasy (2015)
Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Oetinger, Rheingau, with Achim von Oetinger – Germany-North 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Tour and Tasting at Weingut von Winning in Deidesheim, Pfalz – Germany-South Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), Germany
Tasting at Weingut Uwe Lützkendorf, with Uwe Lützkendorf, in Bad Kösen, Saale-Unstrut – Germany-East Tour 2016 by ombiasy WineTours
Post-Rieslingfeier and Pre-Big Glou Dinner with 3 Top Winemakers from Germany at BToo in Washington DC: Clemens Busch, Immich-Batterieberg and Koehler-Ruprecht, USA