I was recently lucky enough to be invited on a wine trip to Germany courtesy of “wines of Germany“ an organization set up to promote German wines around the world.
Traveling on a Sunday, first from Manchester to Heathrow then on to Frankfurt I was full of anticipation. I arrived in Frankfurt with a group of 8 independent wine merchants . We were promptly met with German precision and whisked off on a fully air conditioned Mercedes mini bus towards are first destination in the wine region of Rheinhessen just half an hour south of Frankfurt.
The first thing that hits you is the amazing climate by this time the sun has gone down and it is still about 34c, perfect wine growing conditions. The second thing is the lush green landscape and the abundance of healthy looking vineyards. We reach our first hotel just outside the town of Ingelheim. The hotel is amazingly situated with its garden and dining area right in the middle of a vineyard. We sit and sample local food and wine amongst the vines which are showing large bunches of Riesling.
Its early to bed for an early start in the morning as our first appointment at a Winery (Weingut). Our first visit is in Ingelheim at the Bettenheimer Wiengut . It has a great feel to the place and the sun is blazing down, the temperature is about 36c. We are given a warm welcome and a tour of the family owned Weingut. It looks small production but high quality, just the kind of thing we look for at Barrels & Bottles. We start the tasting and straight away we are all blown away by the quality of one of the single vineyard Rieslings on offer. The tasting is very relaxed and we are invited to try anything we want off the wine list . The wine list consists of many different levels of Riesling and Pinot Noir (Spatburgunder) with a few Pinot Gris (Grauer Burgunder) and Pinot Blanc (Weisser Burgunder) thrown in along with a few lesser known wines such as Huxelrebe . despite the diverse range one thing was clear, that the emphasis is on quality mainly dry wines.
On to out next appointment where we meet member of “generation Riesling” an organization made of young wine makers in the Rheingau , Rheinhessen & Pfalz regions. They are mainly concerned with making modern dry style white wines and top quality reds. Their young outlook and fresh ideas are designed to combat the old perceptions of German wine and show the world what they can really achieve in terms of high quality wines.
During the trip I visited 12 different wineries and tasted over 325 wines. Many things surprised me which I guess was the objective of wines of Germany. The climate was surprising 36c in the day and nothing below 30c at night , the movement towards young wine makers producing dry modern wines and the forward thinking attitude . All in all a can see a very bright future for German wine all we have to do is get the word out . Times have changed and its about time the public perception of the sweet low budget German wines disappeared as this couldn’t be further from the truth.
To round up I don’t think you can get better Riesling any where in the world, the Pinot Noirs are second only to top Burgundy estates and the Grauer Burgunder is better than any cheep Italian Pinot Grigio you can buy!
Matt Thompson is General Sales Manager at Barrels & Bottles and is pictured second left in the above photo.Share and Enjoy:
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