Exploring the Diversity of the Rheinhessen Wine Region [Part 2 of 3]

I recently traveled with fourteen wine journalists and industry professionals to Rheinhessen Germany, one of my favorite wine regions in Germany!

We soaked up Weingut Wagner-Stempel (wine festival in Siefersheim), attended a master workshop on the “Top Terroirs of Rheinhessen”, indulged in pinot noir tasting with local producers, along with other pleasant vinous, gastronomic and cultural surprises. The five-day program also took us to wineries in and around the heart of the region.  We were in the accompaniment of Ulrike Lenhardt and Ernst Buscher of The German Wine Institute, and Romana Echensperger, MW.

The following day we attended Winzerkeller Ingelheim to attend a Pinot Noir tasting with local producers.

This historic building epitomized Ingelheim’s history as the “red wine town”. Winzerkeller Ingelheim has just finished a three-year renovation project and we were lucky to visit it, upon its completion! Winzerkeller Ingelheim is not only home to a local vinotheque of 24 Ingelheim winegrowers, it’s also a distillery, restaurant, and a tourist information center.

We participated in a Pinot Noir tasting with the following wineries:

Winzerkeller Ingelheim website: www.ingelheimer-winzerkeller.de

Next on our visit was the wine festival in Siefersheim “Tage der offenen Weinkeller”.  Here we visited local wine cellars, tasted regional culinary specialties, and sipped some wonderful Rieslings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is Siefersheim?

Siefersheim is a village southwest of Bad Kreuznach, in Rheinhessen This quaint village has a population of 1,300 and it lends its name to a number of vineyards, two of which, Heerkretz and Höllberg, are highly regarded sites with VDP classifications. Of the district’s 628 hectares, 172 ha are under vine, with Riesling occupying the bulk of the vineyards.

On our next stop we visited Weingut Thörle, which is in the village of Saulheim. Saulheim is located in the north-eastern fringes of Rheinhessen. Thörle is a family-run estate since the 16th century and is regarded as one of the best producers in the region.

Now leading the winery are two brothers Christoph and Johannes. They tell us that their focus is mainly on Riesling, Silvaner, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc. The vineyards are managed organically, and the estate has taken a biodynamic direction. The Soils are also varied with light clay, limestone, red sandy loam with some flint and schist. In our conversation, we learn that they obtain their distinctive, sappy Riesling characteristics and delicate Pinot Noir from the calcareous limestone-soils of Saulheim’s single vineyards Hölle, Schlossberg and Probstey.

 

Their wines are full of character, possess a depth of flavor and boast a high potential for maturing. Thörle’s wines have received international acclaim by leading wine guides and critics, as well as been selected by first-class airline wine programs.

Weingut Thörle website: http://www.thoerle-wein.de

 

At the end of the day, we attended a grand tasting at Weingut Hoffmann and Weingut Willems-Willems Estate.

Weingut Hofmann is jointly led and owned by the winemaker couple Jürgen Hofmann and Carolin Hofmann. This couple have taken over their families’ wine estates, Jürgen in 1999, and Carolin in 2001. Since 2006, both wineries have come under one roof, hence the two names: Weingut Hofmann in Weingut Willems-Willems.

Weingut Hofmann was founded in 1971 in Appenheim, when Jürgen’s parents converted their mixed agricultural operation into a winery  Jürgen pushed winemaking at Weingut Hofmann to new levels, by investing into new wine cellar equipment, focusing on the best vineyards, and planting new grape varieties, as well as built an ultra-modern winery including a tasting room.mHofmann’s 14 hectares. vineyards are limestone based.

Jurgen produces Riesling as well as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Silvaner. His Rieslings and Sauvignons that really wowed me. The limestone dominated soils surrounding Appenheim in his Riesling burst with stony spice and minerality. Aromas of dried apricots and exotic spice dance hand in hand in a racy yet breathtakingly elegant tango.

Jurgen’s Sauvignon Blanc grapes are harvested sequentially from multiple sites (as each vineyard reaches its own optimal ripeness). Tasting notes include notes of gooseberry, elderberry, and green asparagus blend with a tropical breeze reminiscent of the variety’s origins.

Weingut Hoffmann and Weingut Willems-Willems Estate website: www.schiefer-trifft-muschelkalk.de

The European Commission publishes harmonized oenological practices authorized in the EU

The European Commission published December 5 2019, in all EU languages, the detailed files of the International Organisation of the Vine and Wine code of oenological practices.

The oenological practices are defined, their objectives highlighted, as well as their conditions of use and the types of wines to which they apply. They include various types of fermentation and ways to acidify or de-acidify wine.

The European Commission stated that the object was to make the regulations “easier to read and to understand”, allowing winemakers to quickly comprehend the practices that are authorized in the EU.

The guidelines were the “last step” in the process of aligning EU wine legislation to the Lisbon Treaty. They simplify the requirements necessary to make wine for sale in the EU while increasing the consistency between both the EU permitted oenological practices and the international code of approved procedures published by the OIV.

The June update amended the regulations surrounding the presentation and labeling of wine, authorizations for vine planting, checks to avoid fraud in the wine industry, vineyard registers, and documents needed to accompany imports and exports.

The European Commission’s new 63-page document lists common winemaking procedures, giving their definition, objectives and permitted EU prescriptions.

The document covers topics including carbonic maceration, use of sulfites, controlled oxygenation, tirage, acidification and de-acidification, fining and filtering procedures, and stabilization and pasteurization techniques.

 

 

The English version of the document can be viewed here:

 https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:C:2019:409:FULL&from=EN

Volume 62 English Edition Information and Notices
5 December 2019

Corby Spirit & Wine teams up with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for New Year’s

For the seventh consecutive year, the TTC is partnering with Corby Spirit and Wine to help New Years’ partygoers stay safe, by providing a night of complementary TTC rides. Starting December 31st after 7 p.m., all TTC streetcars, buses and subways will be free of charge until 7 a.m. on January 1st.

Corby Spirit & Wine also promotes responsible drinking through this partnership by various activations and messages through its website and social media. For more information about Corby Safe Rides and for a chance to win one of 10 prizes of a year of free TTC transportation, visit CorbySafeRides.ca and engage on social media using the hashtag #CorbySafeRides.

“New Years’ Eve is one of the most celebrated nights of the year and we want to do our part in helping people get home safe,” said Corby CEO Patrick O’Driscoll. “For the last seven years, we’ve provided over 1.2m rides to Torontonians, keeping our streets safe on one of the biggest party nights on the calendar.

“We could not be more proud of this partnership and its results keeping people from driving when they have been drinking.”

Corby:  https://corby.ca/en/

Toronto Transit Commission: http://www.ttc.ca

 

 

 

 

 

British Columbia’s Okanagan Fall Wine Festival – Virginia Hutton

 I attended the Okanagan Fall Festival this year, along with five other notable Canadian journalists to experience Canada’s premier Fall Wine Festival. This year’s fall wine Okanagan Fall Wine Festival connected wine lovers to winemakers from the region with events designed to celebrate their unique and award-winning wines.

Located in southern British Columbia, the Okanagan Valley is one of the warmest regions in Canada, with an average winter temperature of -8 C and 28 C in the summer – it’s slightly cooler than eastern France. The Valley and its wine industry have matured tremendously over the last 30 years, boasting 280 wineries and offering visitors the opportunity to experience one of the world’s premier wine and culinary destinations.

This year’s Okanagan Fall Wine Festival included the province’s most prestigious and oldest wine competition, The British Columbia Lieutenant Governor’s Wine Awards (BCLGWA) held at the historic Laurel Heritage Packinghouse in Kelowna. There were more than 700 entries in this year’s competition. The Wine of the Year Award went to Deep Roots Winery’s for their 2017 Syrah, representing consistency in a varietal and a combination of superb grapes and winemaking.

Also part of the Festival was the Fall WestJet Wine Tasting at YLW in the Carson Air Hangar. It is Kelowna’s largest indoor wine-tasting event, with over 40 wineries serving up their most popular varieties. Guests were entertained by a live DJ and sampled cuisine from around the world from food trucks parked outside the hanger.  Joined by Canadian wine experts and journalists Gurvinder Bhatia, Darren Oleksyn and Tim Pawsey, we sipped our way from Lake Country in the north to Osoyoos – Canada’s only desert, in the south. Our tour included meeting the talented winemakers behind O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars, 50th Parallel Estate, Indigenous World Winery, Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Burrowing Owl Estate Winery, Moon Curser Vineyards, Nk’Mip Cellars, Nobel Ridge Vineyard & Winery, Wild Goose Vineyards and Time Winery.

Over 90% of the Okanagan wineries have earned the British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance, or BC VQA designation – similar to the AOC and DOC systems utilized in France and Italy respectively, which guarantees the origin and ensures qualifying wines meet certain minimum quality requirements. BC VQA wines are made from 100% BC grapes, and are free from certain potential faults, and the labels include where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced. And, many Okanagan winemakers have embraced environmentally friendly, lower-energy wine-making methods and built sustainability and philanthropy into their business models, with many using solar energy, gravity flow to move the juice and composting to replenish nutrients in the soil. 

According to Wines of British Columbia, there are over 80 grape varieties being grown in BC, with 51% being red varietals and 49% white varietals. The most notable reds include: merlot, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, syrah / shiraz and gamay noir, with top notable white being: pinot gris, chardonnay, gewürztraminer, riesling, sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc and viognier. Several winemakers are taking advantage of the recent growth in sparkling wines and are now producing white and rose varieties. The Region is also is well-known for producing high-quality, award winning icewines, with Inniskillen, Okanagan Estates and Whistler receiving Gold Medals, and Nk’Mip and Jackson Triggs Okanagan being awarded Silver Medals at the 2019 Wine Align Awards.

 

 

With Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter Wine Festivals, it’s always a great time to visit and enjoy world-class award-winning wine and dining experiences. It’s worth the trip to Okanagan Wine Festivals.

 

 

Wineries visited:

O’Rourke’s Peak Cellars 

50th Parallel Estate

Indigenous World Winery

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery

Moon Curser Vineyards

Nk’Mip Cellars

Nobel Ridge Vineyard & Winery

Wild Goose Vineyards

Time Winery

British Columbia’s Okanagan Wine Festivals
http://www.thewinefestivals.com

2019 Irish Whiskey Awards

The Irish whiskey industry celebrated the 2019 Irish Whiskey Awards a few weeks ago.

Historic producers, emerging producers, and bars were honoured and celebrated October 17th at the Dingle Distillery, County Kerry. The keynote speaker was Colum Egan, Master Distiller for Bushmills Distillery, previous chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association.

According to the Irish Whiskey Association, there are 25 whiskey distilleries in operation in Ireland, the largest number of Irish whiskey distilleries since the late 19th century. Yearly shipments are now over 20 million cases.

The biggest winner, taking the overall prize for Best Irish Whiskey of the Year, was The Irishman 17-year-old. Though The Irishman offers a number of expressions, the 17-year-old ages the longest; a single malt that spends 17 years in a single Sherry cask. This whiskey also claimed the top prize for the Best Irish Single Cask Whiskey.

Other winners include Jameson for the Best Irish Blended Whiskey Under $66 for its Jameson Black Barrel, and the Best Irish Blended Whiskey Over $66 for its Jameson 18-Year-Old Bow Street.

Awards were handed out in 19 categories, which included one winner and two gold medal runners up in each category.  The event also named the best Irish whiskey bars for all four Irish provinces.

The winner for Best Irish Whiskey Bar of the Year (International) is a name any American fan of Irish whiskey is sure to recognize New York City’s The Dead Rabbit.

Here is the complete list of winners on the Irish Whiskey Awards website:
https://www.irishwhiskeyawards.com/news/82-2017-winners-of-the-irish-whiskey-awards.html