Wirtz Beverage brand new Trilogy Fine Wine and Spirits division got off to a fast start with the Crème de la crème of the Las Vegas beverage industry. Legendary Rudi Wiest himself of his namesake import company came to Wirtz’s Alchemy room with a palate pleasing line up of German Dry Wines.
No importer that we know of has the knowledge of Rudi Wiest when speaking on the topic of German wines. On this visit he brought a hand selected group of small family owned wine makers from the best wine making regions of Germany.
Marcel von den Benken from Schloss Schonbron in the Rheingau explained that his 2010 Dry Estate Riesling is characterized by high acidity and the 2011 Vintage had a much longer hang time. On the palate both of these amazing Rieslings were nicely balanced, soft and feminine in style.
Kunstler winery featured four Rieslings and a lovely Pinot Noir. Carl Erhard from the winery explained that he concentrates his efforts on making grapes for wine and not wine making.
Growing fruit is the most important aspect in the wine. As any experienced wine lover knows, the best wines are made in the vineyard and not in the winery. Carl Erhard follows that tradition to a “T”. As we tasted his 2010 Dry Riesling “old vine “ Stielweg, Carl explained that vines that average 55 years in age. Carl also added that he felt the 2012 Vintage will have a long ageing potential. The Kunstler Pinot Noir Estate 2009 features sour cherry and surprisingly big tannis. Many people consider German Pinot Noir something that is relatively new. In fact, winemakers have been making Pinot Noir the Rheingau for over 800 years long before they planted Rieslings . 2009 was warm year which should translate to a spectacular vintage for Pinot Noir and this Kunstler will not disappoint.
Weingut Rebholz produces some very fine Rieslings, Pinot Noir and even a Pinot Blanc . Hansjorg Rebholz himself made the trip across the Atlantic to show off these very special wines. As we began tasting through his wines, he explained that his Grand Father started the winery in the 1940s and they specialize in making wines as natural as possible and are Bio-Dynamic .
We were pleased with the Pinot Blanc and the Rieslings. Both were refreshing, featuring big apple and melon notes on the nose and palate. Before moving on to the Pinot Noir we found a real stand out. The 2010 Dry Grosses Gewachs , Ganz Horn. On the nose and palate, this wonderful wine drinks like a Grand Cru. Classic earthy notes, mineral and citrus make this Riesling a stand out. All of the Rieslings from Weingut Rebholz should be at their very best after 5-6 years. German Pinot Noir is always interesting because Pinot Noir is very terroir expressive. Vineyards with micro climates can produce Pinot noir that are very different and only meters apart. The 2009 Pinot Noir Spatlese Dry “Tradition “is a good example of this. This nice pinot has classic signatures of sour cherry, light tannis, all-spice and oak.
Weingut Dr Heger / Weinhaus Heger produce Pinot Gris , Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir that show off the versatility of the region . Markus Mleink took us on a tasteful journey through his wines. Like many of his colleagues, its hands off in the winery and all the work are done in the vineyard.
Tasting his 2011 and 2010 Pinot Gris side by side gave a unique insight into the vintages a year apart. The 2011 had much more fruit and was more developed than the 2010, most likely because it was just bottled and the 2010 has “mellowed” with a little more age. Both are ready to be enjoyed now. The 2009 Dr Heger Pinot Noir Dry Grosses Gewachs , Ihringer Winkerberh was next in line to examine. This very nice Pinot Noir was a pleasure to taste. Classic cherry notes, earth, leather and spice come together with silky tannins on the finish.
Can a pig famer make great wines? Sure they can and Weingut Becker proves it . Fritz Becker Jr specializes in Pinot Noir. The winery was totally destroyed in World War 2 and has come back very strong. Fritz has been the winemaker since 2005. The 2009 Pinot Noir “Dry” Limestone was a stand out in his lineup and should have good age ability but can be enjoyed now. 2008 Pinot Noir Grosses Gewachs St Paul Grand Cru is a German Pinot Noir that we will not forget. Its elegant notes of cherry, earth, spice, leather and oak show what a Pinot Noir from the region should strive to be.
Rudi Weist is an expert in wines from Germany. Spending 10 mins with him or an afternoon is an opportunity to get an education to set the foundation of your wine education for a life time. When looking over your next wine list, take the time to find a few of these very special wines from Germany