Monday, November 20, 2017

Riesling Gala 2017 at Eberbach Monastery in the Rheingau: A Riesling Feast in a Breathtaking Historic Setting, Germany

Picture: Christian Schiller with a 2009 Weingut Robert Weil Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken Erstes Gewächs Salmanazar at the 2017 Riesling Gala at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau

Arguably, the Riesling Gala at the Eberbach Abbey in the Rheingau is the greatest Riesling Party on earth.

The Rheingau Riesling Gala is a culinary and social event in which wine enthusiasts meet in the historic setting of the lay dormitory of Kloster Eberbach (the largest room of the Romanesque period north of the Alps) in order to celebrate the noblest of all grapes, the Riesling.

This year, more than 600 Riesling lovers came from all over the world (but mainly from Germany) to participate in the 28th Rheingau Riesling Gala.

The Riesling Gala is the grand finale and the highlight of the Glorious Rheingau Days, an annual celebration of the Rheingau Riesling, this year for the 31th times. Over 10 days or so, VDP members of the Rheingau present their wines at winemaker dinners and similar events at the Rheingau’s top restaurants or other interesting places.

All of the pictures in this posting are mine, with the exclusions of a few pictures, which I took from facebook pages.

Pictures: A Riesling Feast in an Historic Setting: Riesling Gala 2017 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany

28th Rheingau Riesling Gala

On Sunday, November 12, from 11 am to 6 pm, VDP producers of the Rheingau, their guest winemakers from other regions and their more than 600 guests enjoyed a 6 course dinner, each course prepared by a different top chef.

The wines served differed, depending on who was hosting you and who his or her guest winemaker was.

This year, my wife Annette and I were the guests of Wilhelm Weil, whose guest winemaker was Ernst Loosen from the Mosel. So, we enjoyed the superb wines of Weingut Robert Weil and Weingut Dr. Loosen. Please note that Robert Weil wines are part of the portfolio of Loosen Bros. USA, the US wine import company of Ernst and Thomas Loosen.

Pictures: A Riesling Feast in an Historic Setting: Riesling Gala 2017 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany

Remembering Restaurant Schweizer Stuben

This year, the selection of the chefs - Egbert Engelhardt, Johannn Lafer, Jörg Müller, Dieter Müller, Burkhard Schork, Hans Stefan Steinheuer - was very special as they were all in the kitchen crew of the Schweizer Stuben in the 1970s, when the Schweizer Stuben, along with the Tantris in Munich, the Ente vom Lehel in Wiesbaden, Schwarzer Adler in Oberbergen and the Schwarzwaldstuben in Baiersbronn, put German cooking on the map with the German Nouvelle Cuisine "Küchenwunder" and the "Trockenwelle".

Pictures: The Riesling Gala/ Schweizer Stuben Crew - Egbert Engelhardt, Johannn Lafer, Jörg Müller, Dieter Müller, Burkhard Schork, Hans Stefan Steinheuer

Jörg Müller was the Schweizer Stuben Executive Chef from 1973-1981. Later, at Restaurant Jörg Müller/ Sylt, he cooked at the 1 star Michelin level.

His brother Dieter Müller was the Schweizer Stuben Executive Chef from 1981-1990. Later, he headed the Gourmet-Restaurant Dieter Müller (3 stars Michelin) and the Schlosshotel Lerbach Restaurant (3 stars Michelin).

Johannn Lafer was the Patisserie Chef in the early days of the Schweizer Stuben. Since then he has been cooking at his own restaurant, the Le Val d'Or, at 1 star and 2 stars Michelin level.

Hans Stefan Steinheuer was Sous-Chef from 1981-1983. He currently owns and runs Zur Alten Post in Bad Neuenahr (2 stars Michelin).

Burkhard Schork was a line cook in the early days of the Schweizer Stuben. Today, he owns and runs with his wife Regine the charming Restaurant Friedrich von Schiller in Bietingheim-Bissingen.

Egbert Engelhardt was a line cook in the early days of the Schweizer Stuben. He later run the Graues Haus (1 star Michelin) in the Rheingau.

Kloster Eberbach

It was in the year 1136, when thirteen monks first set foot into this remote Rheingau valley.

The monks were from France, coming from Clairveaux in Pinot to found a new monastery in the Rheingau valley through which the Kisselbach runs – and they brought grapevines with them.

Pictures: Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau

The Monastery of Eberbach soon grew to be one of the biggest and most important cloisters in Germany, also thanks to its wine. The grape variety of Pinot Noir, imported from Pinot, became the first successful wine export from the Rheingau: the monks, being freed from toll charges along the Rhine, dominated the wine trade all the way down the river to Cologne, a very profitable business. In 1162, the Monastery even owned a magazine in Cologne which was privileged by Pope Alexander III.

Towards the end of the 15th century, rooms of the monastery like the Fraternei and the refectory for the lay priests were also turned into wine cellars – at this time, up to 150 priest monks and 600 lay priests lived in the monastery. The wars of the following centuries, however, damaged the monastery to a large extent, viticulture however continued to flourish. In 1730, the monks built a treasury for their most valuable growths – we know the date from a bill written by a carpenter from Eltville concerning the "Kabinett cellar." Until today, priceless wine treasures of centuries long since gone are stocked here.

With Secularisation, in 1803, monastery life ended in Eberbach, not so, however, viticulture: The tradition of wine growing was continued by the new owners of worldly origin, first by the Duke of Nassau, then from 1866 on by the Prussians and finally, since 1945, by the State of Hessen. Today, the Estate Monastery of Eberbach administers six Domains belonging to the State of Hessen, five of them situated in the Rheingau and one on the Hessische Bergstraße. With 200 hectares of vineyards, the Eberbach estate is the biggest wine growing company in Germany. The red wines from Eberbach, however, remain a trade mark in itself – the Pinot Noir is still grown here on 32 hectares.

In summer 2008, only several hundred of meters below the old monastery, the Steinbergkeller was opened, a state-of-the-art wine production site as only few in Europe exist. Each day, up to 7000 liters of grape juice can be processed, while the cellars stretch out on 5000 square kilometers and on several levels below the earth. They reach all the way below the Steinberg, the oldest vineyard site in Eberbach and its very first. The Steinberg vineyard is enclosed by a medieval wall of quarry stones, counting 3000 meters in length, which provides a special climate for the Riesling grapes growing on the slope – they say, the Steinberg was the favorite wine of the monks. The results of today's vinification can be tasted in the monastery's wine shop – or at one of the frequent wine tastings.

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

The Rheingau

It is remarkable: For its entire length of nearly 560 miles, the Rhine flows north with one exception – a 28-mile stretch where the river changes its course. Here, it flows to the west, thereby enabling both the river and the vineyards facing it to bask in the warmth of the sun all day long. This is the Rheingau, one of the medium-size German wine regions. It is a quietly beautiful region, rich in tradition. 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: The Rheingau

The third President of the USA - and notable bon viveur - Thomas Jefferson visited the Rheingau in 1788 and wrote that the wine of the "Abbaye of Johnsberg is the best made on the Rhine without comparison … That of the year 1775 is the best." He also referred to the Rheingau’s Riesling as the "small and delicate Rhysslin which grows only from Hochheim to Rudesheim". Impressed by the quality of the Rheingau Riesling wines, he bought 100 grapevines to take back to his estate in Virginia.

The Rheingau enjoys a distinctly continental climate with cold winters and warm, but not hot, summers. The Rheingau is dominated by Riesling, accounting for 4/5 of the vineyard area. Wilhelm Weil, our host, produces only Riesling wines.

See also:
VDP.Rheingau Rhine River Boat Trip with Pre-release Presentation of the 2015 Grosses Gewächs (GG) Wines
The Rheingau and its Terroirs: Tasting with Rheingau’s Elite Winemakers, Germany
Extraordinary Views of the Rheingau Vineyards - A Spectecular Helicopter Flight over the Rheingau with Rheingau Winemakers, Germany

Reception

The event started with a reception, where Rheingau Charta Rieslings and finger food were served. This year, because of the weather, the reception took place inside, in the historic places of Kloster Eberbach, including the famous Cabinet Wine Cellar, which normally is not open to the public, the Eberbach Cloister and the Refectory, the dining room of the monks.

Reception: Cabinet Cellar

Pictures: Reception in the Cabinet Cellar

Pictures: Josi Leitz and Friends

Reception: Cloister

Picture: Weingut Ress Visitors from the USA, led by Fred Elleman

Picture: Annette Schiller with Tim Lilienström, Technical Director, and Peter Winter, Owner, both Weingut Georg Müller Stiftung, and Kathrin Starker, Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein

Picture: Annette Schiller with Carolin and Sylvain Diel

Reception: Refectory (Dining Room of the Monks)

Pictures: Reception in the Refectory

Picture: Annette Schiller and Achim von Oetinger, Weingut Oetinger

Picture: Andreas and Bernd Spreitzer, Weingut Spreitzer

Reception: Lay Dormitory

Picture: Reception

Pictures: Annette Schiller with H.O. Spanier, Weingut Kühling-Gillot & Battenfeld Spanier, Dieter Greiner, Managing Director, Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach, Steffen and Andreas Rings, Weingut Rings

Reception: Charta Rieslings and Finger Food

For the reception, we enjoyed delicious finger food and Charta Riesling.

Picture: Charta Riesling

Pictures: Finger Food

Entry of the Winemakers in the Lay Dormitory

The lunch started with the entry of the winemakers (and the Rheingau Wine Queens).

Pictures: Entry of the Winemakers

Welcome Greetings by Wilhelm Weil, Weingut Robert Weil, President of the VDP Rheingau

Wilhelm Weil, Weingut Robert Weil and President of the VDP Rheingau, welcomed the guests, with the participating winemakers and the Rheingau Wine Queens.

Pictures: Rheingau Riesling Gala 2017 - Welcome

The Tables

More than 600 Riesling lovers came from all over the world to participate in the 28th Riesling Gala at the historic Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau in Germany. They sat at the tables of the following winemakers:

Weingut Allendorf/ Weingut Horst Sauer
Weingut Balthasar Ress/ Weingut Kühling-Gillot & Battenfeld Spanier
Weingut Robert Weil/ Weingut Dr. Loosen
Weingut Spreitzer/ Weingut Jung/ Weingut Diel
Weingut Urban Kaufmann/ Weingut Lubentiushof
Weingut Schloss Johannisberg/ Weingut G.H. von Mumm/ Weingut Bürklin-Wolf
Weingut Schloss Vollrads/ Weingut Weegmüller
Weingut Georg Müller Stiftung/ Weingut Heymann-Löwenstein
Weingut Diefenhardt/ Weingut Bürgerspital
Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn/ Weingut Am Stein
Hessische Staatsweingüter Kloster Eberbach/ Weingut Rings
Weingut Leitz/ Weingut Dönnhoff
Weingut Barth/ Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken
Weingut Johannishof/ Weingut Wöhrwag

Gala Luncheon

The Gala Luncheon was a 6-course luncheon over a period of 6 hours, i.e. every hour one course with 2 wines, from the winemakers of your table. After each course, you had a bit of time to walk around, talk with other guests and try the wines of other winemakers.

Annette and I sat at the table of Weingut Robert Weil/ Weingut Dr. Loosen, i.e. with Wilhelm Weil and Ernst Loosen.

Table Weingut Robert Weil/ Weingut Dr. Loosen

Pictures: Table Weingut Robert Weil/ Weingut Dr. Loosen

Starter

Pictures: Starter

First Course

Getrüffeltes Geflügel-Gänseleberparfait im Baumkuchenmantel mit Apfelsalat und Rieslinggelee

Pictures: Getrüffeltes Geflügel-Gänseleberparfait im Baumkuchenmantel mit Apfelsalat und Rieslinggelee

Chef: Jörg Müller

Schweizer Stuben (2 stars Michelin, Nösse (2 stars Michelin), Restaurant Jörg Müller/ Sylt (1 star Michelin)

Pictures: Chef Jörg Müller

Pictures: Annette and Christian Schiller with Chef Jörg Müller

2004 Weingut Robert Weil Gräfenberg Riesling Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage
1990 Weingut Dr. Loosen Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Sekt Brut

Pictures: The Wines

Table Weingut Leitz/ Weingut Dönnhoff

Josi Leitz and Cornelius Dönnhoff had 10 prominent winemakers from Germany and Austria as special guests had their table, who also showed their wines: Markus Schneider from Weingut Markus Schneider (Pfalz), Kilian Franzen from Weingut Franzen (Mosel), Philipp Wittmann from Weingut Wittmann (Rheinhessen), Jochen Dreissigacker from Weingut Dreissigacker (Rheinhessen), Friedrich Becker Jr. from Weingut Becker (Pfalz), Urban Stagard from Weingut Stagard (Austria). In addition, Kevin Pike, Owner of Schatzi Wines, leading US Importer of German wines, including Weingut Leitz, was at the table.

Pictures: Table Weingut Leitz/ Weingut Dönnhoff

Second Course

Curry-Zintronengrassuppe mit Jakobsmuschelspiess

Picture: Curry-Zintronengrassuppe mit Jakobsmuschelspiess

Chef: Dieter Müller

Schweizer Stuben (2 stars Michelin), Gourmet-Restaurant Dieter Müller (3 stars Michelin), Schlosshotel Lerbach (3 stars Michelin)

Pictures: Chef Dieter Müller

2002 Weingut Robert Weil Riesling Spätlese VDP.Gutswein
1997 Weingut Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Spätlese VDP.Grosse Lage

Pictures: The Wines

Table Weingut Urban Kaufmann/ Weingut Lubentiushof

Pictures: Eva Raps, Urban Kaufmann, Andreas Barth, Susanne Barth, Weingut Lubentiushof, Annette Schiller

Table Weingut Balthasar Ress/ Weingut Kühling-Gillot & Battenfeld Spanier

Pictures: Dirk Würtz, Sascha Speicher (Meininger Verlag), Annette Schiller

Picture: Dirk Würtz, Wilhelm Weil, Philipp Erik Breitenfeld (Direttore)

Pictures: The Fred Elleman Group from the USA

Third Course

Gegrillter Hummer mit Lavendel, Pomelo und Fichten.Öl

Pictures: Gegrillter Hummer mit Lavendel, Pomelo und Fichtenöl

Chef: Egbert Engelhardt

Graues Haus (1 star Michelin)

Pictures : Chef Egbert Engelhardt

2014 Weingut Robert Weil Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken GG
2013 Weingut Dr. Loosen Lay Riesling Trocken GG

Picture: The Wines

Table Weingut Allendorf/ Weingut Horst Sauer

Pictures: Horst Sauer, Ulrich Allendorf, Annette Schiller

Table Weingut Schloss Johannisberg/ Weingut G.H. von Mumm/ Weingut Bürklin-Wolf

Picture: Stefan Doktor

Fourth Course

Perlhuhnbrust auf einer gerührten Polenta mit eingelegten Rosinen und Tomaten-Gemüsesugo

Picture: Perlhuhnbrust auf einer gerührten Polenta mit eingelegten Rosinen und Tomaten-Gemüsesugo

Chef: Burkhard Schork

Restaurant Friedrich von Schiller in Bietingheim-Bissingen

Pictures: Chef Burkhard Schork

2012 Weingut Robert Weil Kiedricher Turmberg Trocken Magnum
2011 Weingut Dr. Loosen Himmelreich Graach Riesling Kabinett

Pictures: The Wines

Table Weingut Peter Jakob Kühn/ Weingut Am Stein

Pictures: Sandra Knoll (Weingut Am Stein), Angela Kühn, Annette Schiller, Peter Jakob Kühn, Jasmin Assis, Giuseppe Lauria (Editor in Chief of Weinwisser), Ludwig Knoll (Weingut am Stein), Peter Bernhard Kühn

Table Weingut Barth/ Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken

Pictures: Dorothee Zilliken and Mark Barth

Fifth Course

Spessart-Reh mit Nusskruste, Topfenknödel und Hagebutten-Preiselbeerconfit

Picture: Spessart-Reh mit Nusskruste, Topfenknödel und Hagebutten-Preiselbeerconfit

Chef: Hans Stefan Steinheuer

Zur Alten Post in Bad Neuenahr (2 stars Michelin)

Pictures: Chef Hans Stefan Steinheuer

2009 Weingut Robert Weil Gräfenberg Riesling Trocken Erstes Gewächs Salmanazar
2012 Weingut Dr. Loosen Ürzig Riesling Trocken GG Reserve Doppelmagnum

Pictures: The Wines

Sixth Course

Mousse von der Rheingauer Quitte mit cremigem Maroneneis

Picture: Mousse von der Rheingauer Quitte mit cremigem Maroneneis

Chef: Johann Lafer

Le Val d'Or (1 star Michelin, previously 2 stars)

Pictures: Chef Johann Lafer

2007 Weingut Robert Weil Gräfenberg Kiedrich Riesling Auslese
1998 Weingut Dr. Loosen Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese

Pictures: The Wines

Table Weingut Spreitzer/ Weingut Jung/ Weingut Diel

Pictures: Weingut Spreitzer/ Weingut Jung/ Weingut Diel

Pictures: Caroline Diel, Weingut Diel, Sharing her Wine at our Table, with Ludwig Fienhold (BISS - Kulinarische Zeitung) and Annette Schiller

Table Weingut Schloss Vollrads/ Weingut Weegmüller

Pictures: Christine Müller, Deputy Managing Director of Weingut Schloss Vollrads, and Annette Schiller

Closing Ceremony

At the end of the luncheon, the chefs came to the stage again with their teams.

Pictures: Closing Ceremony

After-Party

The event ended with an after party, where one could taste all the wines that were poured during the luncheon … but also could go for a draft beer. I finsihed the 2017 Riesling Gala with a Curry Wurst.

Pictures: After-Party

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Chef Burkhard Schork, Steffen Brahner, MD, Weingut Bürklin-Wolf, Paul Truszkowski, Wine in Black, Matthias Knebel, Weingut Knebel, Christian Schiller

Picture: Curry Wurst

Last Years' Riesling Galas

For last years' Riesling Gala, see here:

A Riesling Feast in an Historic Setting: Riesling Gala 2016 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany
Riesling Gala 2015 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany
Riesling Gala 2014 at Kloster Eberbach in the Rheingau, Germany
Rheingau Riesling Gala 2013 at Kloster Eberbach, Germany

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