Newcomer of the Year in 2006 and for eight of the last nine years the estate produced Germany’s top Pinot Noir as chosen by Gault-Millau. For many years now, the Becker estate located in Schweigen, very far south of the Pfalz on the border of Alsace, has been one of the top Pinot Noir producers in Germany. The best Becker Pinot Noirs compare favorably with the best Burgundy has to offer. In 2005 Fritz Jr. took over the winemaking at the estate and his father continued to oversee the outside vineyard work. In 2007, the Beckers started to work with lower must weights more in the range from 92-98 Öchsle rather than previously with 100 Öchsle or more. They learned that physiologically ripe fruit needs acid more than additional sugar.
Riesling and the Rheingau region belong together. Eva Fricke mainly grows Riesling, which they consider predisposed to best express the wonderful diversity of the Rheingaus’ terroir. Their philosophy is simple and pure: clear and concentrated wines that reveal the nuances of nature, soil and vintage! The estate wines express a blend of all the soils that the Rheingau has to offer. Their village wines show the amazing differences that the very different soils and microclimates found in the upper and lower Rheingau can produce. Their single vineyard wines make up the top of their portfolio with the highest fruit concentrations, fruit expressions and densities. Viticulture and vinification follow ecological standards since 2011 and vegan aspects since 2015. Their wines are registered by The Vegan Society and in July 2016 the domaine entered the EU-biocertification process.
What applies to Fritz also applies to Jürgen Hofmann. He’s the guy next door – honest, down-to-earth and deeply connected to his homeland in Rheinhessen. It is because of him that the wine world looks attentively toward Appenheim. Innovative products in terms of taste and sustainability are created at his two wineries. Those who are well grounded apparently have their heads free for new ideas. For Guido Walter, the Munich wine merchant and educator, wine is culture – and its message needs to be shared with people! Guido has an intuitively good feel for the market and his audience. When people say, “That won’t be possible”, the fun for him just begins. He not only stirs up Müller-Thurgau, but the whole wine world.
Hans Wirsching is one of the largest family-owned wineries in Germany, with over 200 acres of vineyards, but they are still committed to high-quality wines. The winery focuses primarily on Silvaner, which is the most important variety in Franken, where they are located. This version shows the beautiful texture that great Silvaner is known for. Try it with crudo or sushi. A lively dry wine with a palate expressing notes of pear, lemongrass, gooseberry and ripe lime. Pure and focused, offering sleek mineral accents and a firm acidic backbone that drives this to a mouthwatering finish.
The vineyards of Eitelsbach were first mentioned in writings circa 1223. Over a hundred years later, in 1335, Prince-Elector Balduin of Luxembourg gifted an estate on the land to the monks of the Carthusian order. The monks founded it as an official winegrowing estate and cultivated wine for almost 500 years. By 1803 the estate was passed into the hands of the French government. Eight years later it was sold to the highest bidder: Director General Valentin Leonardy of the French army. Since 1811, the Karthäuserhof has been passed down from generation to generation within a single family. The current owner, Albert Behler, represents the seventh generation of the Leonardy/Rautenstrauch/Tyrell/Behler family to uphold the stellar international reputation of the Karthäuserhof, which it has held for the past 200 years. Few commercial entities can claim such a long and distinguished history. There are only 80 such companies in the world older than Karthäuserhof, and of those only seven winegrowing estates.
The River Ahr, slate, Pinot Noir and a family wine estate that has written red wine history on the northwestern fringe of Germany’s wine-producing region. Today it’s up to two sisters to successfully continue that which has been built up by four generations – including, most importantly, Werner Näkel.
Weingut Pfeffingen, idyllically located amidst its vineyards, is operated by oenologists Jan Eymael, his wife Karin and his mother Doris. All three of us are passionate wine-growers, with the unconditional endeavor to achieve top quality, even on a small scale. This makes our traditional Pfaelzer family operation truly special. We strive to cultivate our 15 hectares (37 acres) of vines to yield unique wines that are rich in minerals and fruit. Weingut Pfeffingen has numbered among the best wine estates of Germany for years.
Prost is a new project by Importer, The German Wine Collection. Prost, the German word for Cheers, is sourced from respected growers highlighting a representation of location, origin character, and with sustainability in mind. Prost features a feinherb style Riesling from the Mosel, Dry Riesling from Rheinhessen, and Pinot Noir from the Pfalz. Wine for every occasion, but mainly to share and “Prost” with friends and family.
The family’s connection to viticulture dates back historically to the 16th century. All the Rebholz family members over the years had something to do with wine which is hardly surprising since the name Rebholz translates to “wood of the vine”. The Rebholz style started its life as an idea. It matured in the mind of Hansjörgs’ grandfather Eduard who took great exception to the then contemporary taste in wine and countered the unnatural, artificially sweetened blends with his idea of “natural” wine. A trained scientist he researched climate, soils in the vineyards and the appropriate varietals, harvesting periods redefined, methods of vinification replaced by its own strict rules. He even included practical experience of winegrowers in other regions in his research. All of this forms the fundament of the timeless Rebholz style.
The Fröhlich family has been cultivating vines in the region of Nahe in the west of Germany since 1800. Their current estate, Weingut Schäfer-Fröhlich, was founded in the 1972 through marriage. In the early 1990s Tim took over the family estate and produced his first vintage in 1995. Until this stage of his life, Tim had harboured ambitions of becoming a professional footballer. When an injury ended his career, he set his sights on taking his family vineyard to the vanguard of quality production in the Nahe region. From his first vintage in 1995, Tim’s wines continued to improve in quality with each harvest and it was no surprise when, in 2005, he was named as young winemaker of the year by the Gault-Millau/German Wine Guide. His reputation continued to rise, culminating in being named the youngest ever German winemaker of the year by the same guide in 2010. Still assisted by his father, Tim presides over an amazingly steep collection of old vine vineyards.
Reichsrat von Buhl has been a family-owned winery for more than 150 years, and has belonged to the circle of the most prestigious wineries in Germany for just as long. Since it was founded in 1849, Reichsrat von Buhl has made its wines in a terroir-dominated, timeless style that has never been oriented to fashion, but always to the grapes’ origins in the best soils of Deidesheimer and Forster. Reichsrat von Buhl is certified organic, and is an active ambassador of both natural, sustainable viticulture and of the best German wines. Since 2013, it has been led by a new team and technical director Mathieu Kauffmann. Long term viticultural manager Werner Sebastian remains responsible for the vineyards.
Five generations of Willems women have managed the family’s business. While today a dedicated wine growing estate, up until 1971 it was still operated as a mixed farm. That was the year Maria Willems married Karl, who shared a distant ancestor and thus the same last name. And so Willems became Willems-Willems, a name still proudly in use today. Maria’s daughter Carolin and her husband Jürgen are now responsible for the wines. Both Jurgen and Carolin frequently commute from their family home in Appenhem in Rheinhessen to the wine growing estate on the Saar. General manager Peter Thelen is local full-time, looking after the grapes and the cellar. Grandparents Karl and Maria Willems regularly lend a helping hand as well, including responsibility for the holiday flats located in the historical section of the estate’s residence.