Like every summer Iris Ellmann, Managing Director of The WineBarn visits the winemakers we work throughout Germany. Meeting the estate owners, sharing their mutual passion for wine and developing long-standing partnerships with them has been key to our continued success. It also gives Iris the opportunity to sample the fruits of their labour and add exciting new wines to our portfolio.
Last week Iris visited Stefan Lergenmueller, owner of the Schloss Reinhartshausen estate. Schloss Reinhartshausen has always been a pillar of Rheingau wine culture, producing world-class Rieslings since 1337. Iris and Stefan took the vineyard ferry to Mariannenaue island on the Rhine river. A European nature reserve since 2015, the island is a paradise for wildlife and fosters optimal conditions for grape growing. They did, of course, enjoy a glass of Schloss Reinhartshausen’s 2016 Chateau Riesling "Old Vines" dry wine.
From Rheingau, Iris drove to Rheinhessen to pay a visit to the ‘Bischel Boys’ - brothers Christian and Mathias - who run the Bischel wine estate in Appenheim. The estate was originally founded by their grandfather, Karl-Heinz Bischel, in 1968.
Their focus on traditional techniques, low yields and environmentally-friendly viticulture has resulted in some of the finest Rieslings and Pinots that Germany has to offer. Our favourite drop is their 2017 Binger Riesling "Quarzit" dry, The grapes for this wine were grown in the Binger Scharlachberg, one of Germany’s finest vineyards, where the soil is rich in quartz and slate - hence the wine’s name.
Bischel's impressive wines were given the recognition they truly deserve earlier this year, as Weingut Bischel became a member of the prestigious VDP.
The next stop was Aldinger estate in Fellback, Württemberg. Aldinger’s flagship vineyard is "Untertürkheimer Gips", which lies at the foot of the Stuttgart basin. For thousands of years, wine produced here has famously exhibited a distinct minerality. Around 200 years ago, growers working the vines struck upon deep layers of gypsum and decided to mine it. In 1974 the Aldinger family decided to revert the terroir back to its roots: wine. The former gypsum mining earned it the name "Untertürkheimer Gips", and the site produces some wonderful Pinot Noirs such as Untertürkheimer Gips Spätburgunder Premier Cru dry.
Iris then visited the Becker estate in southern Pflaz. Friedrich Senior was the first of his family to stop selling grapes to the co-op and produce his own wines. Friedrich Junior took over in 2005 and has proven himself to be one of the best Pinot producers in Germany. Iris, who is particularly fond of their 2015 Kammerberg Spätburgunder Grand Cru dry, says, “Becker produce stunning Pinots that would beat any Burgundy in a blind tasting hands down. Such good value. Get your hands on it before the masses discover it!”.
Last, but by no means least on her trip, was a visit to the Bassermann-Jordan estate in Northern Pflaz Their pioneering cultivation and vinification work, combined with their with a passion for quality is truly evident in Bassermann-Jordan’s range of organic Riesling. They're Mundus Vini award-winning 2017 Deidesheimer Kieselberg Riesling Premier Cru dry wine is one of our favourites.
Completing the 630-mile round trip, Iris returned to our German office in Cologne on Monday, feeling inspired by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the winemakers we work with. She was equally touched by their warm hospitality and looks forward to meeting with them again on the 20th January at our Annual Portfolio Tasting in London.
To learn more about the wine tasting event, click here.