The Winebarn
German Wine Specialist
16th January 2006

I suppose the headline for this tasting is that German wines aren't all rieslings, and they're certainly not all underpriced.  Prices shown are from the Winebarn, who laid on this tasting.  For up-to-date prices and more details see the Winebarn website.

Sekthaus Solter

Helmut Solter trained in Champagne and Australia, in addition to obtaining a winemaking and oenology degree from the Fachhochschule Geisenheim.  He follows the procedures he learnt in Champagne in producing his wines in Rüdesheim.  The grapes are hand picked and the bottles and hand riddled.  The grapes come from vineyards in Lorch (which add subtle, delicate notes), from Rüdesheim (whence the grapes add elegant, minerally tones), from Geisenheim, Johannisberg and Winkel (light fruity aromas) and from Hochheim (whence the grapes lend a powerful earthy character to the Solter Sekts).


Weingut Dr v. Bassermann-Jordan

The Jordan family established the estate, still in the family’s hands, in 1718, though the family’s museum library apparently has vintages going back to 1706 and 1811.  There are around 42 hectares under vines, largely riesling, divided into twenty separate sites.


Weingut Bercher

First established in 1457, the family-run Weingut Bercher has 42 hectares of vines including the second largest private vineyard in the Kaiserstuhl.  They farm organically.


Weingut Göttelmann

Goetz Blessing and his wife have run this estate in Münster-Sarmsheim since 1993.


Weingut Dr Heger

Previously Dr Max Heger had been a country doctor but in the early to mid 1930s he bought some of the best sites in the Kaiserstuhl area and the Weingut was founded in 1930.


Weingut Schwarzer Adler/Franz Keller

Another of the Winebarn’s producers in Kaiserstuhl.  The 100 acre estate is run by Franz Keller and his son.


Weingut August Kesseler

August Kesseler took over the vineyards from his father in the late 1970s and became one of the pioneers of pinot noir and the use of barriques in Germany: his pinot noirs have almost cult status in Germany.  He uses barriques much more rarely now, and instead places much greater emphasis on terroir, as he does too with his rieslings.


Weingut Meyer-Näkel

Werner Näkel’s estate covers more than twelve hectares, of which he owns more than half and of which more than 80% is planted with pinot noir.  He was one of the first German red producers to introduce French barriques and in 1989 he became a member of the Deutsches Barrique-Forum.  The pinots are all macerated on the skins for a prolonged period and also fermented on their skins; they are then allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation.  He also has interests in South Africa.  I thought all his pinot noirs were impressive, though the QmP wines are all eye-wateringly expensive (not that the QbAs are particularly cheap).


Weingut St. Urbans-Hof

Weingut St. Urbans-Hof is one of the largest privately owned wineries in the Mosel.  It was founded in 1947 by Nicolaus Weis, and is now run by his grandson, Nik Weis.  They own parcels in many of the best Mosel and Saar vineyards.  While not organic, they stress they work with nature.  Yields are kept low and indigenous yeasts are used, which they claim provide some of the sulphur notes that were obvious to me on the nose of most of their dry wines.


Weingut Hans Wirsching

The Wirsching estate has been in family hands for 15 generations since 1630.  They are one of the largest vineyard owners in Franken with around seventy-five hectares in the Iphöfer vineyards: the Julius-Echter-Berg, Kronsberg, Kalb and Mönchshütte.  The vineyards are planted with sylvaner (at 38% the dominant variety), riesling (19%) along with Müller Thurgau, Scheurebe, Weissburgunder, Grauburgunder, Bacchus, Kerner, Traminer, Spätburgunder, Portugieser and Dornfelder.


Weingut Wittmann

Günter and Elisabeth Wittman run this 25 hectare estate, which dates back to 1663: they have been certified organic for fifteen years and began implementing biodynamic practices in 2003.  The estate is based in Westhofen in the Wonnegau, in the south of the Rheinhessen, between Mainz and Worms.  Their 25 ha are planted with riesling (47%), silvaner (10%), Weiss-, Grau- and Spätburgunder (pinots blanc, gris and noir) (30%) and 13% other varieties.  Their best vineyards are in Westhofen’s Morstein, Kirchspiel and Aulerde, which now have the Grosses Gewächs (Grand Cru) classification.


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Last updated: 23 January 2006