As Managing Director of The WineBarn, an award-winning specialist German wine merchant, I embark on a wine tour of Germany each year to catch up with the talented winemakers we work with and taste the fruits of their labour. I also seek out new and exciting wines for our portfolio. This year, my mother joined me for the trip as she has the most atuned nose and palette in our family, so her expert opinion is always welcome.
We set off on Friday for our first appointment at Kloster Eberbach in Eltville, in the Rheingau region. Jasmin Baehr, the Export Sales & Marketing Manager of Kloster Eberbach explained the fascinating history of the winery which is situated in the grounds of the beautifully preserved Eberbach Monastery.
The wine estate of the Eberbach Monastery was founded in 1136 by St. Bernhard of Clairvaux of Burgundy. After the monastery‘s secularisation in 1803, the estate still tirelessly pursued the goal of producing the finest quality wines - through the Dukes of Nassau, then beginning in 1866 as Royal Domain by the state of Prussia and since 1945 by the Federal State of Hesse as proprietor of the wine estate.
Jasmin went on to show us the winery’s state-of-the art tank and fermentation cellar, as well as the stunning glass cube tasting room.
Kloster Eberbach’s stunning wine tasting space
Kloster Eberbach’s MD Dieter Greiner gave us a fascinating tour of the winery and it’s atmospheric candle-lit cellars, which with their traditional presses and barrels, transport you back in time. It was truly the highlight of the day.
The atmospheric centuries old cellars of Kloster Eberbach
Dieter also treated us to a glass of 1971 Rauenthaler Gehrn Riesling Auslese, which after having had time to breathe, was an absolutely delightful vintage to drink.
Kloster Eberbach’s 1971 Rauenthaler Gehrn Riesling Auslese
The visit left us in awe of the winery’s history, as well as the monks’ commitment to exceptional wine, which was exported to various countries around the world.
Iris’s Kloster Eberbach Wine Recommendations;
- 2020 Rauentaler Baiken Riesling dry - Premier Cru
- 2020 Steinberger Riesling dry - Premier Cru
- Kloster Eberbach Crescentia : 2019 Neroberg Riesling dry
- 2018 Assmansnaeuser Hoellenberg Spätburgunder Premier Cru
- 2018 Ruedesheimer Berg Schlossberg Spätburgunder Grand Cru
Kloster Eberbach’s Wiesbadener Neroberg 2019 Riesling Dry and 2020er Steinberger Riesling Dry
In the evening we met our friend Stefan Lergenmueller, owner of Schloss Reinhartshausen, who invited us to a BBQ on the Mariannenaue. The Mariannenaue is an islet in the middle of the river Rhine. It was named Mariannenaue in 1902 after Princess Marianne von Oranien-Nassau, who acquired Reinhartshausen Castle in 1855 and lived there until her death in 1883. Now, the islet is home to a nature reserve and its extraordinary micro-climate makes it perfect for growing grapes. Stefan picked us up in his motor boat, which was adventurous for Blu my dog, as well as my mum, and ferried to the islet.
Stefan Lergenmueller - owner of Schloss Reinhartshausen, and Blu - Head of Morale at The WineBarn
We tasted orange wine and a new wine, called Alter Satz which is a Cuvee made from very old vine varietals that are almost extinct. We enjoyed a Frizzante, which is delightful for cocktails, and also an unusual Mueller-Thurgau. The highlight was the Insel Chardonnay Extra Brut, which we enjoyed very quickly as the mosquitos had decided that were perfect for their dinner.
To discover Schloss Reinhartshausen wines, click here.
Schloss Reinhartshausen’s Insel Chardonnay Extra Brut
The next day saw us driving to Oestrich Winkel in Rheingau where one of the most popular winemakers in our portfolio, Allendorf, is based. Whilst there, we tasted a number of 2020 vintages which were excellent. The 2020 Winkler Riesling was superb as was the Rafinesse Rose Brut. The most exceptional wine we tasted was the 2014 Winkeler Hasensprung Riesling Sekt extra brut, which has been on the lees for six years.
The Allendorf and Schoenleber families acquired a historic building near their winery called the Brentano Haus, which they have restored over the years and have now opened as a museum and beautiful restaurant with a stunning courtyard.
Iris Ellmann (right) and her mum Renate (left).
At the restaurant we enjoyed pan fried St Jacques on fennel & mango salad, as well as a mouth-watering burrata with tomatoes, which were all delicious.
To discover Allendorf wines, click here.
Allendorf’s Rafinesse Rosé Brut