Refreshing German Wines, Riesling & Friends, Nosh and Chow, Stockholm (24-06-2018 by Robert Jonasson and Nenad Jelisic)
As a first taste of spring, Wines of Germany invited to a tasting of German wines. Just as the title of the tasting suggests, the focus was on wines made of the Riesling-grape as well as other, in Germany, popular grapes. The tasting showed that high quality wines are also made of other grapes than Riesling. The different producers were located so that producers from the same wine region stood next to each other. It was a smart way to facilitate comparing wines from the same wine region. Only a few of the producers are represented at the Systembolaget (a government owned chain of all liquor stores in Sweden). In total, 129 wines were tasted, of which 30 wines got more than 2,5 NJP, i.e. 23%. It may be considered to be an approved result. Unfortunately, only a few wines got more than 3,0 NJP (of possible 5,0 NJP) and not one wine got more than 3,5 NJP. The wine regions that had the most consistent and high quality of the wines were mainly Pfalz and Rheinhessen. In principle, all producers had young wines, mainly from the vintage of 2015 and 2016. One exception was the wine importer Hoff Vinhandel, who offered wines from the vintage 2001 and forwards from the producer Querbach. Hoff Vinhandel should have a gold star for that.
The following wines got more than 3,0 NJP (in alphabetical order): 1. Querbach, Milestone Oestrich Doorsberg, 2002, white dry wine, Rheingau, 3,5 NJP, 2. Van Volxem, Alte Reben Riesling, 2015, white dry wine, Mosel, 3,5 NJP, 3. Walldorf, Probstey Riesling, 2015, white dry wine, Rheinhessen, 3,5 NJP, 4. Weingut Andres, Riesling Trocken Deidesheimer Leinhöhle, 2016, white dry wine, Pfalz, 3,5 NJP, 5. Weingut Corvers Kauter, Riesling Spätlese Trocken Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck, 2016, white dry wine, Rheingau, 3,5 NJP, 6. Weingut Henrich Spindler, Rielsing Auslese Forster Ungeheuer, 2015, white sweet wine, Pfalz, 3,5 NJP, 7. Weingut Henrich Spindler, Riesling Grosse Lage Forster Ungeheuer, 2013, white dry wine, Pfalz, 3,5 NJP and 8. Weingut Mathern, Riesling Langenwein Norheimer Kirschheck, 2015, white dry wine, Nahe, 3,5 NJP.
The best wine producer at the tasting: Weingut Henrich Spindler. Weingut Henrich Spindler is located in the well-known village of Forst in Pfalz. Today it is the 11th generation Spindler, Hans and Markus, who runs the company. Spindler owns about 20 hectares of vineyards. The vineyards are planted to about 85% with Riesling. The grapes are hand harvested. The vineyards have been handled according to the guidelines for organic wine growing for more than 20 years. Among other things, self-made compost and strict biological plant protection are used, and different green plants are allowed between the vine rows. The grapes are pressed gently, at low pressure. The use of pumps is kept to a minimum by using gravity. Weingut Henrich Spindler produces wines of all quality classes; VDP.Gutswein, VDP.Ortswein, VDP.Erste Lage and VDP.Grosse Lage. The mild climate and the wind protection that the Pfalz forest offers around Forst give excellent conditions for the production of good wines. Weingut Heinrich Spindler is fortunate to own parts of all the high-class vineyards (VDP.Grosse Lage) around Forst; Forster Pechstein, Forster Jesuitengarten, Forster Ungeheuer, Forster Kirchenstück and Forster Freundstück.
Weingut Henrich Spindler
The best wine in all categories at the tasting: Van Volxem, Alte Reben Riesling, 2015, white dry wine, Mosel, 3,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP. What a lovely Riesling! Very fresh wine with fruity aroma. In the aroma, green apples, some tropical fruits and citrus are found. The wine is well balanced and well structured. Long delicious mineral rich flavour with notes of apple, citrus and a little grapefruit. The wine has a high acidity that makes it very refreshing. The long aftertaste contributes to the depth of the wine. The wine comes from more than 120 years old vines. The vines grow in some of the steepest vineyards in Mosel. The grapes to Van Volxem Alte Reben Riesling are allowed to mature completely. They are selected and harvested by hand. The wine is fermented using indigenous yeast in steel tanks. It is aged for 6 to 7 months in steel tanks. The bottling is done without that it has been fined. Van Volxem Alte Reben Riesling comes from the quality class VDP.Gutswein. Although there was a wine (Goldberg Alte Reben 2015, 3,0 NJP) from the highest quality class (VDP.Grosse Lage) to taste it was this wine a better wine at the time of tasting. However, it should be said that the Goldberg Alte Reben 2015 has longer aging potential and that it will probably develop into a wine of at least as high class as this wine. An explanation for that this wine has such a high class is that its grapes come from vineyards classified as VDP.Grosse Lage. Since the grapes do not come from one vineyard, the wine is classified down to the quality class VDP.Gutswein. Van Volxem Alte Reben 2015 is a wine to enjoy now or to age for up to 5 years.
The best wine region at the tasting: Pfalz. Pfalz was known as Rheinland-Pfalz until 1992. Pfalz is a continuous and approximately 80 km long area, which is located west of the Rhine, where the Rhine plain meets the mountain ranges Haardt and Wasgau. The area is located along what is called "Deutsche Weinstrasse". Geographically, the region can be seen as a continuation to the north of Alsace. Over 23,000 hectares are planted with vines. Pfalz is, after the Rheinhessen, Germany's second largest wine region. Pfalz is often divided into two wine districts; the vineyards north of Neustadt are called Mittelhaardt and south of Neustadt are called the Südliche Weinstrasse. The most famous vineyards and villages are found in Mittelhaardt.
Pfalz best vintages, 1971, 1976, 1990, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2015.
Pfalz grapes, about 65% of the vineyards were planted with white wine grapes in 2017. Riesling is most common (24,8%) followed by Dornfelder (12,5%), Müller-Thurgau (8,3%) and Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) (7,1%). Other grapes that are common are Grauburgunder (Pinot Gris), Portugieser, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), Kerner and Chardonnay.
Pfalz soils, dominates clayey silty sand, often in a mixture with other soil types such as loess, lime, clay, sandstone and sand.