Dec 18 2008

Discover Württemberg

Published by at 11:17 pm under Württemberg

Württemberg in one sentence: long established history and sophisticated wine culture well backed up by a supportive community. Yet I must say most of the wines are not every one’s cup of tea and not always easy to appreciate  (e.g. Trollinger) but there is a lot of other rather fascinating wine to discover there even the odd Trollinger is amongst them.

It is a fascinating place for wine and food, the people are amazing, friendly and despite some pro-verbs going on that the people are “savers” they’re generous, wine county Württemberg. Kenner trinken Württemberger says the slogan- people who know their wines drink wines from Württemberg.

aldinger

The chairman of the VDP in Württemberg is Gerhard Aldinger from Fellbach. Long established family business. The vineyard Gips in Untertürkheim is monopole is use to be a kind of an open mine but after filling it up with gypsum keuper (from the Upper Triassic-) it became a vineyard again. He does a lot of red wine, I do wonder sometimes how can Merlot and Pinot Noir be planted so close to each other, despite beeing so different. What ever the belief is I must point out that the winery focuses more and more on international varieties (Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Cabernet’s). I do not prejudge, yet I bring it to peoples attention very clearly on tastings that Riesling is Riesling and this should be focus number one in Germany, at all times. I understand wine makers (and customers too) if they’re desperate to try something else, the allure of something new, and unknown can have a certain attractively.

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The above mentioned monopole Gips has a high calcium and sulphate content (CaSO4·2H2O) combined with chalk. In the Pulvermächer is more pebble stone and the wines tend to be fruitier while the Lämmler has a marl lime rich (with calcium carbonate and clay) character.

They work on 20 ha,with high standards the Aldinger winery belongs to one of the best wineries not only in Württemberg but also in Germany. Very good Grosses Gewächs wines (dry, coming from single Grand Cru sites) and very appealing reds come from the winery. But I also must say I have yet to be  convinced: on the category of international grape varieties (blend of Sauvignon Blanc and the other blend Chardonnay/Pinot Blanc). It’s not that I don’t believe on German soil grown Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon but I’m still waiting for some examples they show me the real deal. In the mean time I will continue promote Riesling and Co (Co being mainly Spätburgunder and native Germans varieties).aldinger2

There is a fabulous restaurant called Zum Ochsen (to the ox) in the town of Stetten town by Kernen. High recommended!

In the same town is also the Beuer Winery.  Jochen Beurer is in charge with the family business. who lives also in Stetten.

I remember that I first tasted his wine in London at my former work place at The Winery. I must also say I had difficulties with his 2003 vintages, however I do admire that fermenting everything on natural yeast is very courageous (some might say insane), but I find it very positive, as it reflects the ‘terroir’. Well Jochen´s wines  of 2003 were very natural, pure yet during the fermentation the wild yeast messed around and created some unwelcome aromas, flavours. However, in the recent vintages a lot of positive change happened, the wild yeast is more under control…

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The Beurer family has a long established history in Stetten, his father Siegfried use to supply the local co operative with the grapes, the first own wine was 1997. But then when Jochen joined the family company he was keen to produces his own wine, 1997 his first vintage and bottling.

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Like many other wine makers in the region he also does some fantastic schnapps (spirits/eaux de vie). Riesling is the most important variety for Jochen and while he has some other grapes like Sauvignon Blanc (the vintage 2007 suppose to be real good-he said, I gave him a hand at the press) and Gewürztraminer, but he knows Riesling is king.

To tackle fermentation with natural-wild yeast is a risky mission (he does it only with the whites at the moment) and it can get messy. He also turned most of his production into organic and the biodynamic philosophy will soon follow. Let’s pay attention for a few lines on the spontaneous fermentation with its wild yeast.
He says that at the beginning of the fermentation the non saccharomyces like Hanseniaspora, Metschnikowia and Canadida yeasts take action, after reaching 5% alcohol the real wine yeasts start to work. During the main fermentation stage saccharomcyes bayanus is dominating while alcohol increases and nutrition decreases Saccharomyces cerevisiae takes over and finishes the fermentation. So what are the golden rules to reassure wild yeast and spontaneous fermentation is a success:

– Everything starts in the vineyard. Organic cultivation helps to develop desired yeast cultures.
– Only ripe grapes will be used for wine production
– Low pH and temperatures under 15°C give good potential development for Saccharomyces cerevisiae
– You have to give the wine time to complete its fermentation (not uncommon to wait into the next year). Spontaneous fermentation takes time, hence those wines need a longer storing time (keep them a bit longer as usual) as well.

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Overall I was very satisfied with his wines showed great character and had no faults. Junges Schwaben is his so called “grand cru” wine, a team of young talented wine makers from the region, very dynamic and with wide view. Something similar like the VDP Württemberg.

I believe in strict organic viticulture is not only good for the environment but also for the customer-says Jochen.  Jochen became 1992 BMX European Champion I’m sure his determination helps him also in the vineyard/winery. Just focus, hard work, disciple attention to the detail and practice (and probably a few more things too) make you a champion.

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