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

Drake Launches 2008 Vintage Champagne

Having unveiled his first Mod Sélection Champagne in January this year, Canadian rapper Drake is now ending the year by launching two 2008 vintage expressions.  Priced at US $480 and US $550 a bottle respectively is Mod Sélection Réserve Vintage 2008, and Mod Sélection Rosé Vintage 2008.

Mod Sélection Réserve is a blend of 10% Pinot Noir, 55% Meunier and 35% Chardonnay. According to the producer Maison Pierre Mignon, this wine has aromas of “rich, ripe fruit” with flavours of “orange peel, dried apricot, pineapple, brioche, nutmeg and clove” on the palate.

Mod Sélection Rosé Vintage 2008  is made using the saignée method and is a blend of 10% Pinot Noir, 50% Meunier and 40% Chardonnay. According to the producer it’s described as having a “deep-salmon hue” with “concentrated and complex fresh red fruit on the palate” with honey, ginger and sweet spice.

Commenting on the launch, founder and CEO of Mod Sélection Champagne, Brent Hocking, said: The attention to detail in every aspect of our production process is what sets this Champagne apart from all other 2008 vintages the industry has seen this year.

“We have purposely waited to release these special blends to ensure optimum quality and purity – and we believe they’re worth the wait.”

These releases mark the third and fourth product launches from the brand, following the launch of the Mod Réserve Champagne (US$300) and a Mod Rosé Champagne (US$400) earlier this year.

The new vintage Champagnes will be packaged in the brand’s brown metallic bottles and adorned with bronze detailing, made by craftsman from the Champagne region.

Champagne brand Mod Sélection operates in partnership with Champagne Pierre Mignon, a family-owned Champagne house based in Le Breuil in the Vallée de la Marne. The house has 16 hectares of vines, located in the Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs, and Epernay.

Website: http://www.modselectionchampagne.com

15th Annual Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival breaks fundraising record

The 15th annual Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival, Canada’s premier wine and culinary fundraiser for medical research and innovation, raised a record-breaking $33 million for key programs funded by Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation (TGWHF), University Health Network (UHN) this past week.

Since its inception in 2005, Grand Cru has raised more than $63 million in support of UHN programs including: Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Sprott Department of Surgery, Krembil Brain Institute, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, McEwen Stem Cell Institute, Soham & Shaila Ajmera Family Transplant Centre, the Arthritis Program, and the Diabetes Program.

Founded by Todd Halpern, TGWHF board member and UHN board trustee, the 15th annual Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival, co-chaired by Todd and Ellen Halpern and Cheryl and Rob McEwen, took place from November 1 to 2, 2019. The largest of its kind in the world, the Festival brings together the finest wine, gourmet cuisine, brightest minds in medical research, and UHN donors and sponsors. This year, Grand Cru featured wines from more than 80 vintners from around the world, private gourmet dinners throughout the city prepared by more than 33 world-class chefs, and participation from more than 30 UHN clinicians and scientists who are advancing ground-breaking medical research and innovations.

“Never before have four Michelin-star chefs cooked together for such a worthy cause,” says Todd Halpern. “This event is the largest culinary wine festival in the world. It’s an opportunity for people to unite around food, wine, and great conversation – all while supporting critical medical research. We are proud of how Grand Cru has grown into what it is today: a one-of-a-kind event with big impact.”

“Philanthropy fuels the many advancements we make across care, research and education at UHN. We are so thrilled to have achieved a record-breaking fundraising year that will directly benefit medical research that will help save lives,” says Dr. Kevin Smith, President and CEO, UHN. “A big thank you to all of our participating vintners, chefs, donors, dinner hosts, auction supporters and sponsors, and a special thanks to Todd and Ellen Halpern for their passion and for championing a healthier world.”

November 1 – 5,000 guests attended the bi-annual Halpern Portfolio Wine Tasting and the Grand Cru Live Auction at the Beanfield Centre.

November 2 –  over 800 guests attended the Grand Cru Exclusive Wine & Dine Experience – dinners which took place in 26 private homes and venues across Toronto. Each dinner featured menus prepared by top chefs, paired with extraordinary wines, as well as a UHN clinician or researcher who “served knowledge” on the latest discoveries and life-saving breakthroughs at UHN.

Website:

https://www.tgwhfonline.ca/grandcru/

Artcurial Fine Wine & Spirits Auction October 30th and 31st – Paris

Do you have a passion for both art and wine?

If so, attend Artcurial Fine Wine & Spirits auction October 30th and 31st – Paris, which will feature 800 lots, including Mouton Rothschild.

Did you know that Mouton Rothschild is famous for its labels?  Each year Mouton Rothschild has a label designed by a famous artist (Dalí, Bacon, Picasso, through to contemporary artists such as Rufino Tamayo in 1998, Robert Wilson in 2001 and Gu Gan in 1996.

Château Mouton Rothschild 1998, 1er GC Pauillac

Estimate: 1,160 – 1,200 € / 1,276 – 1,320 $

Château Mouton Rothschild 2001, 1er GC Pauillac

Estimate: 840 – 870 € / 920 – 957 $

Château Mouton Rothschild 1996, 1er GC Pauillac

Estimate: 330 – 340 € / 363 – 374 $

Other wines available: Bordeaux wines: Pétrus, Château Margaux and important references of red Burgundy including wine from the prestigious domains of Montrachet or La Tâche, great wines of the Domaine de la Romanée Conti.

The auction will also showcase various spirits, vintage champagnes, armagnac, cognac, and whisky.

Wednesday 30th October, 2pm (lot 1 à 440)
Thursday 31st October 2pm (lot 441 à 792)

7, Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées
75008 Paris

Catalog:

https://www.artcurial.com/en/sale-3989-fine-wine-spirits

Prosecco harvest down 3-5%

The harvest in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore has just come to an end with yields down between 3% to 5% from last year.

“This month we have just spent on the Rive vineyards has been one of intense work,” said Consorzio president, Innocente Nardi.

Nardi said that this has been an exceptional year for the territory, “starting off with the accolade from UNESCO, but also including the fiftieth anniversary of the denomination and our ban on glyphosate, which has made us the largest wine zone in Europe to forbid the use of this well-known herbicide.”

According to a statement from the Consorzio, harvesting took place in ideal conditions. “We registered an average pH of 3.30 and acidity of 6.55, values that are ideal for the production of elegant sparkling wines,” said the statement.

After a cold winter, spring was cooler and rainier than usual, which caused a delay in bud break. This was followed by a hot summer, and the weather was fine during the harvest. The harvest began in the most easterly zone and one slopes with the most exposure to sunlight, such as the vineyards at San Pietro di Feletto.

The region’s steep slopes are difficult to harvest with machinery, and “600 to 700 hours of manual work are necessary per hectare each year”.

The wines from 2019 will be the first to take advantage of the new production regulations passed in August of this year, which allow for sui lieviti (“on the yeasts”) sparkling wines that have been refermented in the bottle, and extra brut, with residual sugar between 0 and 6g per Litre.

https://www.prosecco.it/en/prosecco-superiore-docg/